Earlier this month, The Stagwell Group and MDC Partners hosted a panel in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The panel consisted of 12 incredible women leaders within the two organizations, including Wyecomm’s very own CEO, Erica Swerdlow.
The discussion did not focus on being a woman in the communications industry, but rather on being a leader. By taking the emphasis off gender and bringing attention to all aspects of the industry, the conversation highlighted that the panelists aren’t just great women leaders, they’re great leaders, period.
The panelists began by describing relationships early in their careers that led them to where they are now. Each relationship involved someone who gave the panelist space to grow and learn. Later in the panel, Erica echoed this sentiment by advising job-seeking college graduates to work for someone who understands and supports them. Erica is such a strong proponent of support that it’s one of Wyecomm’s core cultural beliefs – “We have each other’s backs” – that drives the way we operate as an agency. As a recipient of Erica’s support, as well as the rest of our team’s, I can say firsthand that this encouragement fosters extraordinary growth and unlimited potential.
The conversation later shifted to how agencies are working to bring in more diverse talent. Erica pointed out a benefit that’s emerged from the pandemic is the accessibility of working remotely. By opening an agency’s “office” beyond its four walls, talent can be brought in from anywhere in the world. The flexibility of remote work also makes space for talent with different lifestyles and allows people to be in whatever setting is most productive for them. As a modern agency, the Wyecomm team will continue to offer remote work options beyond the pandemic to cultivate this accessibility.
Erica also spoke about the courage it takes to speak up in difficult situations when you know something is wrong – even if it means submitting a letter of resignation. She recounted a story of a time she pointed out a mistake that the rest of her team didn’t recognize, leading to negative reactions from the team. Erica felt so strongly in her vision that she prepared to resign. Only after the mistake flagged by Erica cost the firm millions of dollars did the team recognize she was correct. Speaking your truth can be scary, but it’s essential.
The panel ended with the fun question of what the panelists would be if they weren’t in their roles today. Answers ranged from veterinarians and lawyers to home designers and flower therapists. Our fearless leader Erica? She would be a back-up dancer for Beyoncé. (We’ll believe it when we see it!)
Needless to say, the conversation between 12 successful women leaders across The Stagwell Group and MDC Partners portfolios was empowering and inspiring. I feel grateful every single day to work with remarkable women who are brilliant, kind and encouraging, fearlessly forging the path for women in communications.
To watch the full recorded panel, click here.