Two cents blog

You can’t be what you can’t see

by Emily Curtis on 8 March 2018

For International Women’s Day, we asked the ladies of BCM to tell us who they see as an inspiration and influence in our industry. We received some terrific responses, the following are a range of fearless women, their achievements and the pioneering work they’ve been doing.



Jo Stone, Director of Strategy at BCM
Jo is my inspiration, she is constantly evolving within the advertising game, whilst juggling work-life and motherhood. Having worked with Jo for 16 years, I can wholeheartedly say, “She’s a wonder woman.”



Ally Watson, Founder of Code Like a Girl
Ally’s breaking down the barriers people might have about technology, after experiencing first-hand the obstacles women can face in the male-dominated industry of tech. She has set out to inspire a new generation of young girls to acquire coding as a skill and to encourage more females to step into leadership roles within the tech and digital industry.



Madeline Price, Founder and Director of One Woman Project
Madeline founded One Woman Project which is a youth-led, registered not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing education about, and advocacy for gender equality. Education is one of the strongest tools we have in generating change and Madeline has founded a company that is making it their mission to use education to tackle global gender inequality.



Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg was hired by Facebook when it was purely a social networking site, and over a couple of years was able to develop it into an extremely profitable advertising platform. Her commitment to her vision of having more female voices in positions of power is inspiring.



Sally Elms, Creative Director of Brand Reaction
For her ability to switch seamlessly between clients, communication and creative, whilst holding her own in a highly male-dominated agency and client environment, plus being able to maintain an enviable work-life balance with a wide array of hobbies and two young children. On top of being a very capable and efficient woman both in and away from the office, Sally was extremely kind and caring, and her empathy always shone through in both her professional and private life, and is evident in a lot of the creative work that she produced.



Jasmin Bedhir, Group Account Director of Saatchi & Saatchi
Jasmin was my Group Account Director at Saatchi & Saatchi, heading up the Lexus account. She progressed to Managing Director of Spark44 whilst still in her 30’s and is now travelling the globe. Jasmin is an inspirational leader for many reasons, not least because she made navigating a male-dominated industry (automotive) look like a piece of cake.



Elizabeth Arden, Founder of Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics
Miss Elizabeth Arden was so much more than the champion and namesake of a cosmetic brand. She was the first woman to grace the cover of Time magazine and the first woman to be inducted into the US Business Hall of Fame. Given she was born 10 years before women even had the right to vote in America, to me Elizabeth Arden was an original #BossLady.



I personally don’t have just one individual female that I would like to single out as my top influencer/most inspirational female leader in advertising. Rather, I continue to be inspired personally and professionally by the many amazingly talented women that I work with currently, and many smart, skilled and forthright women whom I have been lucky enough to work with in the past. In particular, a number of incredible women I’ve worked alongside who have brought the female perspective to disciplines which were perhaps considered as more traditionally male-dominated roles in the industry in the past.



Dee Madigan, Creative Director of Campaign Edge
She is paving the way for women in the industry, as she has built her way up by herself. She’s made a name for herself not only in the industry but also in the media. Dee is well respected in her speciality and she’s also just a total lady boss!



Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America
Wendy’s a fearlessly positive leader who thrives off people thinking she can’t do it. She makes a conscious effort to listen and engage with her employees but when she sees potential in something, she doesn’t let anyone break her stride. Just last month she got promoted to CEO of DDB Worldwide, so I think she offers some pretty good advice when she says, “Don’t let people underestimating you defeat you. Let it fuel you.”



Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In
Sheryl’s book was written for women to help them achieve their career goals and for men wanting to contribute to a more equitable society. I wholehearted agree with her viewpoint, “An equal world will be one where women run half our countries and companies and men run half our homes.” Sadly, still a long way to go.



Kayla Itsines, Founder of Sweat With Kayla and BBG
Looking more broadly at women in business, Kayla Itsines is incredibly positive and influential. She’s young, she’s resilient, she’s got a great heart and she’s crazy successful! She’s built her own fitness empire at such a young age and has so many women looking up to her every day for advice, inspiration and health tips. It goes to show what a woman can do when she has a cause, a skillset and the drive to make it happen.



Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube
Susan is an inspirational female leader in advertising. Since taking on the role of CEO, YouTube’s percentage of female employees has risen from 24 to nearly 30 percent in three years. While working at Google, it was Wojcicki who suggested the acquisition of YouTube, what was then a small start-up. Wojcicki is responsible for many of the tools I use on a daily basis when setting up campaigns and while she is managing a multi-billion dollar company, she still manages to take time to look after her four young children AND a flock of chickens.


Here’s hoping this list has provided you with a range of inspirational women which might give you the boost of encouragement and motivation you need to keep doing what you’re doing and press forward. Special thanks to all of the BCM ladies for providing us with this boost of positive energy. Learning from other ladies and their experiences will help to inspire a younger generation of women determined to make change.


We would love to know the woman who you look to for inspiration, please comment below.

Happy IWD!

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