When I stepped off stage at the end of our 2nd annual Female Frontier Awards, I couldn’t help but think of something Michelle Obama once said: "Women and girls can do whatever they want. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish."
The energy in the room on Wednesday - which was filled with men and women from all areas of advertising and marketing - was palpable. I’m still buzzing from it.
It was incredible to see how proud and supportive every agency, colleague, peer and even competitor was for each honoree throughout the day. Any and all negative vibes were checked at the door.
Campaign US’ 2019 Fearless Pioneer winner Tiffany R. Warren, chief diversity officer of Omnicom Group and founder and president of AdColor, kicked off the day with a heartfelt keynote in which she shared her insights on what it means to make positive change and brave work. Warren also thanked one of our 2020 honorees, Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan, for being her mentor and champion early in her career.
"Be the ally that you most want to be and continue to give back," she told the crowd.
While it’s not a complicated concept, it’s often overlooked. Be the ally and champion that you may have needed yourself when you were younger or when you needed support. Open the door for others. Push someone you believe in. This goes for both men and women in the industry.
And be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s what I learned from Jennifer DaSilva, president of Berlin Cameron, who was named this year’s Fearless Pioneer.
DaSilva gave a passionate closing keynote in which she explained why it’s okay to be vulnerable.
"Fearlessness isn’t the lack of fears -- it’s the ability to push beyond them. The ability to redirect your fears and channel them into energy to conquer a challenge," she said. "Fear is actually what got me up on this stage today. I was afraid that things might stay the same—for women leaders, for women founders, and for myself and Berlin Cameron."
Seeing a powerful industry leader, like DaSilva, share a piece of herself with a crowd and be so open really had an impact on me - and I hope with everyone at the event. She made me realize that vulnerability doesn’t equate to weakness. Being a little nervous or afraid is okay because, as she said, you can use those "fears as fuel."
Thank you to both Warren and DaSilva for such earnest, meaningful speeches.
I’m personally and professionally so excited to keep celebrating phenomenal women and pushing for gender equality and diversity and inclusion of all kinds in the industry.
Everyone here at Campaign US is on a mission to not only celebrate adland, but help make it better. And we’ll do that by being an ally - as well as a watchdog - and by letting any of our fears drive necessary action.