Women To Watch: GroupM’s Liesa Newland

Women To Watch: GroupM’s Liesa Newland

At B&T, We are staunch believers that every woman and her achievements should be celebrated, every day and always.

However, unfortunately, the achievements of women often go unnoticed. That’s why we launched our annual B&T Women in Media Awards – to recognise the amazing accomplishments of women across the marketing, communications and advertising industry.

In honour of our WIM Awards, we’re chatting to industry powerhouses; women we should all be keeping an eye on — women to watch.

Today we’re hearing from GroupM head of trading intelligence Liesa Newland.GroupM_LiesaNewland_2018_LoResH

I think B&T’s Women in Media Awards are vital to the industry because whilst women represent 60 per cent of the media industry workforce, only 37 per cent are in management positions according to the latest MFA survey. B&T’s WIM Awards are a reminder of the fabulous contribution women make and an inspiration for everyone to challenge the status quo.

Two inspirational women in my life are my two best friends. They are both incredibly strong, brilliantly successful women who have worked in the industry.  In many ways, we’re very different but our values remain the same.  They know me so well, what drives me and holds me back. They’re raw and brutally honest but always have my best interests at heart.

Reflecting on the biggest impediment to equality in the workforce, I believe it comes down to ensuring there is a balance leadership team. You can’t be what you can’t see.  Once the bias is removed, conversations change, and belief happens across the entire business.  True equality is a system that supports and encourages everyone to be their best. I’m proud that at GroupM across our agencies we sit at 52 per cent women in leadership positions, and that WPP AUNZ recently committed to 50:50 gender balance by 2021.

The most unexpected champion of change for equality I’ve ever come across is Steady (John Steedman). Not unexpected that he champions equality but unexpected regarding the conviction with which he intends to deliver upon it and hold the business to account over it. Fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion encourages differences into the room rather than norms and this leads to better decisions.

When it comes to the struggle for equality, I think something everyone can do each day is be empathetic to people’s stories and what might be going on around them.  What we see at work is often just the tip of the iceberg.  Having an awareness of what may be going on outside of work, understanding what is behind people’s insecurities or is holding them back means we can support and inspire them to overcome.

Quickfire questions 

If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?

I’d set targets to ensure companies reflect the diverse country we are, be it gender, age, sexual preference, ability or culture.  At the very least, companies should ensure that the candidates they draw on for interviews reflects the population. People should not have to squeeze into the gaps, they should be supported and welcomed.  The differences in our stories should be celebrated.  The more diverse people we have sitting next to us, the more we foster a culture of respect and sense of belonging. 

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Dream your bigger game.  Focus on what drives you and brings you joy.


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GroupM leisa newland Women to Watch

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