How does it feel to be honored as a Campaign US Inspiring Woman?
It’s an honor to be named as an honoree in the Leading the Charge: PR Category for the 2023 Campaign US Inspiring Women Awards. In my position, I always hope to lead by example to empower women both within my agency and the PR industry to continue challenging themselves. It’s so inspiring for me that I am here with the female leadership of 5W and all of them brought their daughters (ages 7-12). To see a future generation of women leaders in this room of so many other successful women who have broken boundaries is just incredible and a very special experience!
Who is one mentor or role model in your life that helped you get to where you are?
My mom is an incredible influence on who I am today, and she has played a large part in my success. Growing up, my mom always worked and still found the time to raise and run a family. Through her, I learned the importance of finding the necessary balance between a flourishing career and my personal relationships and family. I have always admired her and set out to emulate who she was, in my own professional career. She is a reliable source of support and encouragement for me, and I hope that I can pass that along to my children.
How do you deal with burnout, stress and other issues that typically impact women more acutely than men in the workplace, especially since the pandemic?
As a CEO and a mother, a lot of individuals rely on me for different reasons, and I always want to make sure I’m giving them everything I can. I ensure that I take an hour each day for myself to unplug and mentally decompress. It helps me ensure that each person I interact with throughout the day — whether it be a colleague, friend or family member — has my full, undivided attention and can see that I’m giving them my all in whatever they’re asking of me at that moment. As an agency, we pride ourselves on the employees we attract because we care about the work and each other. That is what’s important at the end of the day.
What's one thing you wish would change about how women are treated in the advertising industry?
I think women need to ensure that they are getting the right mentorship and guidance that they may need in our industry. Without as many female mentors within the business, young female professionals and creatives may not receive the right skills, advice and tools to help them climb the ladder. Studies have shown that this alone means they’re more likely to leave a position — or the industry altogether — in a shorter time span. Therefore, providing mentors — male (because there are so few females) or female — at especially the junior level, is critical.
What's the biggest benefit the industry could achieve by being more inclusive to women?
Companies that don’t encourage women to join them are missing out on the talents and abilities of half the population! Tapping into these women can make a huge difference to your firm’s productivity and bottom line. Women are inherently more likely to be empathetic and community-oriented, two very important leadership skills, and so many women and mothers are also responsible for managing or co-managing their family and home lives as well. They tend to be quick, efficient decision-makers at home and in the office — all qualities we like to see in our leaders.
What's one piece of advice you would give to a young woman looking to rise to the top in the advertising industry?
If I had the opportunity to share a piece of advice with my younger self, it would be to run your own race. It is of little benefit to compare your journey against someone else’s or set arbitrary goals you feel you must meet before you can accomplish the next one. Focus on yourself and do not compare your success to that of another.
What's one thing you do to unplug from work and unwind?
Balance is incredibly important for my success and it’s a part of my day-to-day life. I believe in the importance of putting in the work behind my desk, but also making sure I can step away when the day is done. I ensure that exercise is a part of my daily schedule because it’s an uninterrupted time for me to relax and unwind while staying both mentally and physically healthy! Putting aside this time for myself — without this balance in my day-to-day structure I would feel overwhelmed.
Dara Busch is Co-CEO of 5WPR.