Slept In? Here’s All The Best Bits & Highlights From Last Week’s Changing The Ratio

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Last week’s Changing The Ratio session tackled the topic ‘Breaking through Adland’s barriers: creating an industry for all’ discussed by a range of industry leaders.

If you missed it you can watch here!

Here at B&T, we find these sessions are always incredibly productive, and we also acknowledge that it is called Changing The Ratio, because the ratio has yet to change. We feel having these conversations are crucial in finding tangible ways to create a better, stronger and more diverse industry.

The session was also a call for action to anyone in the industry who wants to help Western Sydney Ad School become bigger, better and reach more people.

The school’s mission is to offer an advertising course that is affordable and more accessible to creative people who wouldn’t normally consider an advertising career.

It offers marketing departments a new wave of creatives from all walks of life with different perspectives and diverse ideas.

Basically, it’s a school that is actively trying to Change The Ratio and is run by two industry veterans who are advocating for change, so it was particularly exciting to have them on board.

The panel was also put together to shine a light on GradWest an incredible marketing grad program that is giving an advantage to the disadvantaged. You can learn more about it here

If you aren’t a morning person though, don’t worry we can fill you in on all the important and interesting conversations. (Though you should come along next time, we promise we have coffee.)

For our last event of the year, we had a jam-packed panel consisting of:

  • Rachel McEwen, group account director at Cummins&Partners
  • Rocky Ranallo, co-Founder of Western Sydney Ad School
  • Matt Smith, co-founder of Western Sydney Ad School
  • Martin Cowie, chief people office at OMD Australia
  • Loren Bradley, executive producer at FINCH
  • Jane Caro, Author and feminist.
  • Naej Blanchard-Dunn, account executive at OMD

We heard from Ranallo and Smith, who shared their desires to find new ways to reach more and more students for their Ad school and also shared their success stories helping up and coming creatives.

The panel also introduced the GradWest program – an initiative allowing one Western Sydney Ad School alumni a year-long tenure at four different communications businesses.

The program is designed to give a multi-faceted insight into the marketing, media and communications space. The successful applicant will spend three months each at four leading organisations – OMD, the ABC, Finch and Cummins&Partners – and be paid by the participating companies.

“Graduate programs are an incredible foundation for talent entering the industry, and GradWest is especially unique in that it will give participants a well-rounded perspective on so many facets of the communications business. Those who complete the course will have an incredible advantage in their career – and we encourage applications from anyone with enthusiasm – that’s the main criteria” said McEwen.

Bradley discussed how FINCH works hard to ensure diversity is represented throughout their productions which helps influence what is represented on screen. Perhaps this needs to become an industry norm?

Caro told stories about the sexism she encountered throughout her career and also highlighted how different perspectives in the ad industry create better storytelling.

Caro said: ‘People who suffer discrimination internalise the attitudes of society and so lack confidence – for very good reason.

“It’s not enough to declare you do not discriminate, you must actively go out and seek people who might not otherwise ever imagine themselves in your industry.’”

Cowie discussed how OMD is always looking for new ways to reach more diverse employees.

McEwen explained the importance of creating space for more diverse employees, and noted that it’s a business imperative for creative agencies to adopt diverse practices in both employees and outputs – especially given advertising plays such a key role in behavioural change, setting standards and reflecting our society.

Blanchard-Dunn, a proud Quandamooka & Budawang woman shared her journey from a Western Sydney University student to now full-time employee within the media industry at OMD.

She believes it’s imperative for the industry to find new ways to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this means focusing on relationships before business.

Naej expressed “It’s important to establish connections before diving into what your company can offer. Share who you are, where you are from, what you know about the traditional mob of the land in which you live or the land in which your offices are located. This will then initiate that safe space for open dialogue and drive a positive outcome for both parties.”

The panel came together to discuss ideas, ambitions and issues within the industry – it was all about having a thoughtful, honest and productive chat.

Each of the panellists were incredibly insightful on how the media industry – and society more generally – can transform to more accurately represent and celebrate Australia’s diversity.

Ranallo said: “’It was an honour for me to be able to chat about our school and our new grad program with people more intelligent than me, and the support we get from them, their companies and the industry as a whole is very humbling.

“Thank you B&T, C&P, The ABC, OMD and Finch.

“Matt and I would especially like to thank Kirsty Muddle who had the idea for a different sort of grad program and the constant support she gives the school. Legendary stuff.”

Our next Changing the Ratio will be in 2022, and you can find out more about the initiative, and Western Sydney Ad School at

We, of course, want to thank the following sponsors of this session.

We can’t wait to come back next year and have more thoughtful and exciting conversations. In the meantime feel free to watch here.

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