Amsive’s Women in Leadership (AWIL) program works to ensure that all women at Amsive feel that it’s a great place to work because they have the space to grow their careers, celebrate their successes, and have a voice in key conversations. It’s one part of Amsive’s continual work towards an even more inclusive culture. Learn more about AWIL from Daale Carter, SVP, Media Strategy + Planning, and some steps women can take to advocate for themselves in leadership, and how diversity in leadership creates a space that fosters and encourages diversity of thought.
Q: What’s the mission of Amsive’s Women in Leadership Program?
Daale Carter: The mission of the program really is so that all the women of Amsive feel that it’s a great place to work because they’re universally celebrated, they’re promoted, they’re supported, and they have a voice.
Q: How did this employee resource group come together?
Daale: Years back, Amsive decided to put more of a spotlight on DEI initiatives across the organization. With so many different business units coming together through acquisitions, it was important to create opportunities to forge those bonds and just have a time where it’s not necessarily about just work but shared experiences and opportunities to uplift and communicate.
Of all the options we toyed with at the time, creating some employee resource groups (ERGs) to build a sense of community within groups seemed like the one that we felt would be the most resonant and that could drive the quickest initial impact within the organization. We had the thought at the time that we really wanted something or somewhere we could empower and uplift but also build unity and community with the women within Amsive.
Q: A lot of organizations are interested in cultivating and growing diversity in their leadership. In your opinion, where are some good places to start for that goal?
Daale: I think the first is in dialogue. Speaking to your people, understanding how people view issues of diversity and leadership today, and establishing a baseline in order to take definitive action. It’s not enough just to talk about it. The steps can be baby steps, but I think it’s important to take daily steps in that direction, be it an acknowledgment of special holidays, mining your resources — your best resources are your employees — and understanding from them where those opportunities are, and then just creating events and things where people come together.
I think there’s always a common perception that it needs to be big, grandiose events. It doesn’t. It can be two or three people in the room, four people on Zoom, or five people in a book club, but just taking those steps toward acting upon those insights is really important.
Q: For women who are looking to grow into spaces of leadership, what do you tell them about how they can grow as a leader?
Daale: I love this question. I probably unintentionally don’t realize how many women I silently mentor just by being a safe space to speak to. One of the things I always tell people is that you have to advocate for yourself because a lot of the time, I think, as women, we don’t speak up on things that typically are really easy to address, but we’re taught not to. I think being a strong self-advocate is really critical, making sure that you’re advocating for yourself and your career and your growth. I’m grateful to work in an organization that allows me to advocate freely and feel heard.
I think the second one is really building relationships with other women, but also men as allies. Being able to pair and combine those things is really, really critical because if you don’t have a strong advocate or support network, it’s really difficult to be forward-thinking.
Third I think that, as we talk about mentoring, having the ability to identify people who you can also mentor. Mentors don’t have to be somebody who’s above you in your career, just somebody who works with or for you. I certainly have mentors who work for me, who I look to for inspiration because any time you can mentor, that also shows a strong sign of leadership. If I had to highlight one thing, I would say advocate, advocate, advocate for yourself. Do not lie down. If you’re struggling, or if something’s challenging, or if you want to grow, be your voice.
Q: How would this group navigate conversations with people who might feel an ERG is exclusionary or has nothing to do with them?
Daale: I think by the very nature of ERGs, they’re designed to create inclusion in groups that maybe sometimes feel underrepresented and often have the adverse effect of making other people feel marginalized. Ultimately they are designed to empower employees and create more inclusive spaces for core groups. Without there being inequities in society, that need wouldn’t exist, so it is important to stay true to the reason why we have them.
That being said, what we are trying to create is also a platform for people at Amsive to create ERGs that are relevant and representative to them. I would advocate for anyone that doesn’t see representation in this group to take the reigns and create an ERG that will be meaningful to them. AWIL is for the people who will participate but is also designed to be a springboard. We want to see more ERGs and cross-company engagement — that would be a sign of success and impact.
Q: If someone wants to be more involved in something like this or wants to start something like this in their own organization, where should they start?
Daale: Again, I think this goes back to advocating. I think you just have to be willing to have conversations. Sometimes they’re difficult conversations. Organizations don’t always have a space, or are thinking about these issues, or want to think about these issues like DEI or women in leadership specifically. I think it just starts with a conversation assessing the appetite for it. And I will say, not to be grateful for little, I’m grateful that conversations can be had now. When I started working in the industry 15-20 years ago, there were no conversations being had.
It’s always easier to come in with an idea and a plan to somebody who needs to approve it as opposed to putting it at their door and expecting them to do the work. Do you work, do your research, and have a plan — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much engagement or how receptive organizations are.
Q: You’ve been a key person in making this happen and bringing it all together. What’s your personal goal in being part of Amsive’s Women in Leadership Program?
Daale: I have a very personal goal which is to drive more diversity and leadership as a woman and as a woman of color in leadership. I’ve worked in organizations where I’ve been the only person who represents that, and I would love to see more women, more diversity, and different ethnicities at the leadership level because the more diversity we have in leadership, the more diversity of thought we have, and I think that’s really important. My single-minded mission is to drive an increase in diversity in leadership in the marketing and advertising industry.
Q: What is AWIL looking to achieve as a group in 2023, and what are you excited about?
Daale: I think in 2023, it’s just about coming together, laying the groundwork, laying the foundation for what AWIL is, what we’re here for, and how we’ll support Amsive. Really, we’re just mostly excited about growing and bringing new people into the fold. One of the things we quickly realized is the more voices and input we can have, the more effective we will be. I’m just really looking forward to more voices, more women in Amsive just engaging, building a fellowship, and coming together. That’s really exciting.
Q: Any other lingering thoughts?
Daale: Go women! Since I started in advertising, that’s always been my thing. I have people who worked for me when I was 22 who have come back to me and said, “You were the first person we saw, and because of you, I’ve paved this path in this industry where I don’t feel well-represented.” If I can have one of those people in a lifetime, that’s wonderful. If I have multiple people, I feel like I’ve achieved something beyond pushing out great advertising.
Building space for women and diversity in leadership takes dedication and can lead to the creation and reinforcement of spaces that can help people and businesses grow and thrive. If you’re interested in joining Amsive and helping to build powerful and inclusive spaces in the marketing world, take a look at our careers page!