Diversity is a creative advantage

Diversity is a creative advantage

As part of series of dispatches from Cannes, Tess Coughlan-Allen, marketing manager at Mind Doodle, one of the winners of the GoDaddy Scholarship for Women in Technology urges the industry to empower and encourage women.

 'You is kind. You is smart. You is important.' - The Help

The line quoted above is something that has really stayed with me.

It's from the novel by Kathryn Stockett, adapted into a film in 2011. Amongst other things, it is a story of empowerment, community and rebellion against racial and gender inequalities.

There’s so much I could say about this story, but for now, I will simply focus on this line. It is an interaction between an African American woman in 1960s Mississippi and the young daughter of the white family she works for. Think about these words and what wonders they can do. Think about the times when you could have benefited from hearing these words.

We, as humans, need reassurance, encouragement, and the opportunity to show what we are made of. But there are many moments in history where women have been given none of these things. 

Women have been disadvantaged. Historically, there has been the assumption that women aren’t as capable as men; even today, this assumption can be stifling.

Many women believe their gender prevents them from working in business, creative, technology or engineering roles. Many feel torn between family and career. Many think that they could never make it to chief exec roles. The industry statistics reflect this. 

As a woman working in the technology industry, I notice the lack of diversity in my area of work daily. At events, sometimes I am the only woman. This is wrong. It’s 2017! I want this to change.

In Bristol, where I live and work, I attend weekly meet-ups, organised by Women’s Tech Hub, which emphasises the importance of equality and recognises that diversity is an advantage.

An effective way to increase equality is to work on inclusivity. That’s why the GoDaddy Pro Scholarship for Women in Technology, in association with Campaign, stood out to me as an outstanding opportunity. The scholarship is giving myself and some other incredible women the opportunity to attend Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity!

I’m delighted to see the discourse about diversity reflected in this year’s programme for Cannes Lions, which includes speakers from all over the world. Different genders, different cultures, different stories, and speakers who will share their experience so everyone can benefit from what they have learned! Fantastic!

Working for a software start-up that is preparing to launch a new product called Mind Doodle, I’m excited to learn from big brands and marketing experts, and hear how other start-ups use creative technology innovatively and intelligently, to rework the system and evolve the industry.

So, GoDaddy and Campaign have given me an opportunity to meet bright minds from around the world, to represent Mind Doodle and to talk about equality and explore ways to improve it. I will bring all I learn back to my city and my team, and the women I meet. This opportunity is such an exciting means of cascading positivity, hope and the need for diversity. 

We need to empower women to realise they are entitled to their place in the world and their position in the creative technology industries. Cannes Lions and the scholarship for Women in Technology will help us to show diversity for what it truly is: a strength. 

The simple and powerful message: 'You is kind. You is smart. You is important' is something that we need to tell ourselves and others, no matter who we are or what our background is. Diversity is an advantage. Let's start to celebrate it!

Diary pieces from all the winners of the GoDaddy Scholarship for women in technology will be running all this week.



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