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 MediaCom MD, Brisbane Katherine Williams.
Outstanding achievements by any individual, regardless of gender, are deserving to be recognised, but it is especially important to recognise the work of amazing women who have changed the game for equality. It’s also important to create a platform of inspiration for the next generation of leaders. That is why I believe B&T Women in Media Awards are so vital to this industry.
Speaking of inspiring women, my mother is certainly the most influential woman in my life. I thank her for my strong spirit, keen sense of justice and unwavering resilience. She is both tough and kind, often reminding me that ‘tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution’. Her wise words have very much shaped my career development and leadership style, teaching me that even in the hardest of circumstances, no situation is ever worth compromising personal integrity. I’ve witnessed her in many difficult circumstances, always responding with grace and dignity – she’s a true lady, but definitely not a pushover. That’s where I get my fiery spirit!
On the most unexpected champion of change for equality I’ve ever come across, I was once in a position where I was unknowingly and significantly underpaid in comparison to my male counterparts. Without me knowing about the situation at all, a senior person in the organisation, who worked in a completely unrelated area and had nothing to personally gain from being involved led the charge to not only have my salary increased, but for the gap to be back-paid. He also started the conversation about pay parity across other roles, leaving a legacy for equality in the organisation. Obviously, I benefited personally from that outcome, but it taught me an important lesson in leadership – if you see something that is unfair or discriminatory, you have a responsibility be part of the solution. Remaining idle on the sidelines is simply not an option when it comes to being a champion for equality.
I also think something everyone can do today to make a massive change in the struggle for equality is make active and conscious business decisions that are based on merit and performance, free of bias and judgement. In busy schedules, too often we go with the simplest and easiest options, not stopping to consider alternative viewpoints or being aware of our own unconscious bias.
Early on in my career, I was offered some advice about assessing job prospects on the criteria of earning and learning. I was told that to have both is optimal, but to be wary of a job that only offers salary benefits with no opportunity to learn, grow and develop. I was offered that advice about twenty years ago and I still assess career opportunities with this in mind, choosing to follow a path of self-improvement, personal challenge and development and in doing so, my father’s words of advice were also sage: money will come… if you invest wisely in yourself (and pay your bills before you buy shoes!).
If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?
My son started school this year and it’s made me think differently about how and when boys and girls form views about gender identity and equality – views that go on to shape their opinions as an adult. If I had the opportunity, I’d want to introduce legislation change that informs the education of our younger generation to make sure we don’t have such an education task later on in the workforce.