Women Of QMS On Bridging The Gender Gap, Breaking The Glass Ceiling & Being “Selfish With Your Self-Care”

Women Of QMS On Bridging The Gender Gap, Breaking The Glass Ceiling & Being “Selfish With Your Self-Care”

In the lead-up to this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, we’re sitting down with each of our sponsors to find out why they’ve decided to throw their support behind the event, and get their thoughts on the industry’s progress towards gender equality.

Here, we chat to Jess Zavecz, Teegan Gardner, Christina Bova, Kate Solomon, Courtney Johnson and Nicole Pennells from QMS… 

Why did QMS decide to support this year’s Women in Media Awards? And why do you think events like these need to continue?

Jess Zavecz: The growth and development of the future women leaders within QMS is of utmost importance to the business. Events such as the Women in Media Awards need to continue to showcase the exceptional work being done in various sectors of the media environment. It provides an opportunity to share, collaborate and celebrate the women in our industry.

What should the winners of this year’s Women in Media Awards represent?

Teegan Gardner: The winners should represent those who are paving the way and breaking the glass ceiling for future generations for women in media. They should be brave and strong, deserving of their seat at the table while leading with kindness and empathy.

Christina Bova: Winners should not only be women that deliver first-class work in their field and industry, but they should be women that have a shared passion for breaking down barriers and paving the way for other women. Creating a safe space for other women to thrive. They should be setting an example for, educating and empowering young women in the industry. They should be hungry to leave the industry and their current company in a better place than when they arrived.

JZ: The winners should represent dedication and passion within their relevant category as well as being positive influencers of change. They should embody the characteristics of being bold, courageous and pushing the limits.

What are some of the challenges women face in today’s media industry? How can they be overcome?

Kate Solomon: As an executive in an industry which has historically been dominated by males, a major challenge can be a lack of confidence and fear of failure. Women tend to be very critical of themselves and can doubt their ability. To overcome this fear, you need to build a support network that can help you recognise your values and remember that it’s okay to ask for help.

What changes would you like to see in the industry to make it more inclusive for women and other minority groups?

CB: More transparency around diversity policies, hire quotas and the gender pay gap. More importantly, the plans in place to close gaps or deliver on quotas. Unfortunately, without these things in place, some people – no matter how qualified or suited for the role they are – will be overlooked.

I think there needs to be more mentoring and coaching both from women to women, but also from men. You see a lot of men in the industry supporting and guiding other young men. It would be great to see more of the mentor-protégé relationship between men and women.

JZ: It would be wonderful to establish a female/minority-based consortium within the media industry to get together in a social setting to allow for networking opportunities. It would also provide a forum to discuss relevant issues and challenges that are faced and how they can be overcome in a safe and supportive environment.

Do you think there needs to be more of an industry-wide push to get more females into senior roles?

Courtney Johnson: Yes, there needs to be more support and encouragement given to women in the industry so that they’re able to be promoted into senior positions.

JZ: Whilst holistically an industry-wide approach would be beneficial, a significant change needs to be led from a top-down approach in each individual media business to ensure that there is longevity, growth opportunities and adequate development for their female staff.

KS: Yes. Whilst the proportion of women in senior management positions has increased over the years, women are still underrepresented at a senior management level.

What policies and initiatives does QMS have in place to promote diversity and attract and foster female talent?

Nicole Pennells: During the 2020 lockdown period, QMS leadership leant on their external relationships with senior women within the industry to connect our female staff internally with those leaders externally and provide support and mentoring opportunities. This initiative gave females within QMS the opportunity to engage and learn from some of the best in the industry and broaden our network.

In addition to this, QMS is a long-term partner of Business Chicks, which gives females the opportunity to learn from other inspiring females on a regular basis and broadens our network outside of the industry.

KS: QMS is proactive in supporting and developing rising women in the business, recognising their accomplishments, supporting gender equality and supporting events such as the WIM Awards and International Women’s Day.

What advice do you have for young females working their way up in the industry?

JZ: Learning from your mistakes is more important than not making them.

NP: My advice for younger females in the industry is to not be intimidated by gender. As a young professional, I felt the need to lean on fellow females for advice and mentoring, but have since realised some of the best guidance to break through some of the toughest challenges have come from those males that I once felt so removed from.

To bridge the gap and make a change, we need to stop seeing ourselves as different, so don’t be afraid to reach out to both females and males in leadership positions for feedback and advice! In many cases, males admire our passion and strength to overcome adversity just as much as fellow females, and that’s where the real validation can come from.

CJ: Find yourself a like-minded mentor who is interested in supporting and coaching you through the wild ride that is the media industry.

KS: Stop comparing yourself to others, believe in yourself, seize every opportunity with confidence and do not be afraid of sharing your accomplishments.

CB: Find a work-life balance that works for you. This is different for everyone. A wise woman in the industry told me that “you cannot serve from an empty bowl”. It took me a long time to realise the importance of prioritising your own self-care, but if you want to be at your best for the people around you (and yourself), you need to be selfish with your self-care.

Given the current lockdown situation in Sydney, we’ve decided to play it safe and take this year’s WIM Awards, presented by Are Media, into a virtual arena.

The event will still be held on the same date (Friday 27 August at 4pm), and we’ll still be bringing the same glitz and glam you’re all accustomed to. Register HERE now to secure your spot!

And, just in case you missed it, we’ve released the WIM Awards shortlist! Check out which fabulous females made the cut HERE.

If you’d like more information about this year’s WIM Awards, head to the website.

Thank you to QMS and the rest of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible!

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