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 Shirley Claxton, Accenture Interactive’s digital business integration lead.
We don’t often take the time to reflect on our own achievements and appreciate ourselves for who we are and the journey of how we got there. The Women in Media Awards is a great program to help all women stop and smell the roses and recognise their success and contribution to their industry, not to mention the lives that they touch along the way.
The most influential woman in my life is my mum – not just because she is my mum, but because she is a remarkable woman deprived of an education, and yet managed to teach me the values of life. She taught me that wealth, material items and the need to be seen as important, are less valuable in life than caring for those you love, being honest, treating others with respect and most importantly appreciating the simple things.
The most unexpected champion of change for equality that I’ve come across was our late CEO Pierre Nanterme. Pierre was fully committed to creating diversity and equality in the workplace. As an example of change for equality, Accenture’s paternity leave for fathers is now four months! This is an exceptional step forward allowing fathers to spend more time with their newborns and for mothers to return to work earlier, should they wish and without the added financial stress.
The best advice I ever received was when I was 12, and my 16-year-old brother and I were sent to Australia to study, with little money and no assets. Life was not easy. We adapted and became independent and self sufficient very quickly. We did whatever we had to, to make ends meet. I’ll never forget my Mum’s words of encouragement and her consistent reminder, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. Thanks to Mums advice, I found creative ways to get where I needed to go. Those words form the fabric of everything I do, both personally and professionally. Many years down the track, I would now add a little extra… “where there is a will, there is a way, but always maintain your feminine identity and who you are”.
My advice is: too many of us suffer from Imposter Syndrome and don’t accept credit for, or believe that they’ve earned their achievements. Anyone who’s worked hard and had a positive impact on others deserves to be recognised. Don’t sell yourself short.
What’s the biggest impediment to equality in the workforce as you see it?
As a woman, we sometimes allow the gender equality issue to influence the way we behave and think. We need to change our mindset and focus on what we do best and the skills we have to offer. We should be fostering environments that focus on respect, empowerment, capability and growth regardless of gender.
If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?
Society tends to have a deeply engrained unconscious bias influencing how we behave. Any law introduced that forces us to think or behave in a specific manner will simply exacerbate animosity toward the concept of equality. We must continue to educate and lead by example, create awareness on capability and encourage an environment focused less on gender, and more on our unique abilities and value to society.