“Knowledge is power. Education is key”: Diversity Champion & CTR MC Mary Haddock-Staniland

“Knowledge is power. Education is key”: Diversity Champion & CTR MC Mary Haddock-Staniland


CTR is a bold new initiative to continue B&T’s mission of making equality and inclusion the norm in Australia’s communications industry and beyond. Completely Australian born and bred, this event is about bringing the extraordinary creative problem solving capability of this great nation to bear on a problem we should be looking to fix right now.

Mary is a brave and friendly individual, who is often the glue that brings people together. She currently works at Diversity Works New Zealand, and has a large social media presence, which she uses to promote issues of social justice in a positive and affirming way.

We wanted to find out more about Mary and her inspiring work ahead of her MC’ing duties, so we interviewed her about what it means to be a diversity champion, why events like CTR are important, and the challenges surrounding diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry.

“I think events like Changing the Ratio are important because sharing knowledge is vital and it’s important we use the correct language when we talk about diversity and inclusion. I always come back to these two points: knowledge is power and education is key. I’m very excited to take part and MC such a fantastic event. I think the audience are in for a treat!”

Mary is a voice for social change in New Zealand and is also known for her incredible work in the gender diversity and inclusion space, which is an issue close to her heart. Mary is a well-known figure, a Transgender Personality in New Zealand, and has been the face of a number campaigns promoting equal opportunities and trans rights.

She said: “I’m not different to anyone else except I was born in the wrong body”. As CTR’s MC, Mary hopes to empower others by sharing her story and being a voice to those who feel like they don’t have one.

When we asked Mary what it means to be a diversity champion herself, she said: “It’s someone who’s prepared to push the envelope. Someone who goes outside of their own world to help shape the horizons of those who are naïve or misunderstood. A diversity champion gives a voice to those who don’t have one.

I think if you can stand with your hand on your hip and your right foot pointed out showing the world who you are and who you want to be seen as, that is a diversity champion

Before taking on her role at Diversity Works New Zealand, Mary worked in advertising as HR manager at Ogilvy, before moving into the role of business director for the film production department.

As such, Mary has her finger on the pulse when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the advertising and communication sectors, and says there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“Being diverse and inclusive means facing up to the difficult conversations. Organisations have to be vulnerable and receptive to what their people are saying, and what we have to tell them.”

Fortunately, in her role as Head of Membership Services, Mary is able to help NZ agencies embrace a more inclusive culture and become better places to work.

We can’t wait to hear more from Mary on 30th May 2019 at our Changing the Ratio event.

To witness Mary in action and hear from and our other incredible speakers on how to drive diversity and inclusion in your own organisations, get your tickets here. Tickets are still available but selling fast, so get in quick!


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