A call to press for (more) progress

There's a long way to go before leadership at the top represents the many dynamic women hidden in the shadows, says Ogilvy's worldwide chief communications officer.

International Women's Day is both a valuable and challenging idea. Celebrating more than half of the world’s population on one day should cause us to pause and ask, "Why do we still need this day in 2018?"

Every March 8th, I often have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I celebrate the amazing women in my life—the women that I know, work with and aspire to be. But also on this day, I always find myself reflecting on how far we still need to go to achieve equality across the board.

As a senior executive in the marketing and communications industry, I know I am afforded many opportunities. And, because of these opportunities, I also feel the weight of the responsibility to question how things are done and to advocate for change. 

The face of Madison Avenue, Wall Street and the business world has changed for the better over the past 15 years, but there’s a long way to go before leadership at the top represents the many dynamic women hidden in the shadows. To bring them out into the spotlight, it will take an audacious effort by men allies and women leaders to #pressforprogress.

Since assuming my role, I have seen and learned a lot, but the one thing I can say is the experience so far has affirmed my core belief that every woman deserves to be paid fairly, treated equally and have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Each and every day, rockstar women are getting it done but need sponsors to give them the exposure and opportunities to get to the next level.  

From the outside looking in, it may be hard to see how men allies and women leaders are paving the way for a new class—but we are putting in the work. We need to call on everyone to solve these issues, and we must always challenge ourselves to do better. I’ve made it my personal mission to do more—personally and across the company. 

Representation matters, yes. And, so does recognition. This is why International Women’s Day at Ogilvy will be different this year. More than just another global day we dutifully commemorate, we will use this opportunity to grow the company’s efforts into a worldwide celebration of Ogilvy’s women leaders and to inspire the next generation of rising stars across the globe. 

So, today, my call to action is simple: To the men—give an amazing woman an opportunity to take a leadership role on a high-profile project or help a woman get that promotion that she deserves. And to the women—support each other. Set the example and create the community that you want to be a part of. 

Jennifer Risi is Worldwide Chief Communications Officer at Ogilvy and Managing Director at Ogilvy Media Influence.