Women have defied odds over the past year, continually moving the needle one step closer to a more inclusive and unbiased community both in and out of the workplace. From the #MeToo movement and Times Up, to the 27 female CEOs included in the 2017 Fortune 500 list, it is safe to say “girl power” has come a long way since the Spice Girls.
The women of Vested are no exception when it comes to their passions, talent and forward thinking.
Co-founder and CEO Dan Simon frequently mentions the fact that when Vested was created, one of his co-founders, President Binna Kim, was pregnant. We were founded with work-life embedded into our fiber, that much is evident. But we also have impressive women at the top. For the women of Vested, female empowerment isn’t just talk. We have countless examples on whom we can model our own careers.
Like Binna, who was recognized as the public relations agency executive of the year by Business Intelligence Group in 2017. She just gave birth to her third child, frequently has her husband work out of our office, and can dance a mean salsa. She’s impressive and modest. She’s an inspiration for all employees of Vested – not just women.
Like Ishviene, who is as passionate about client service as she is community service. She’s actively involved in fundraising efforts for the school where her eldest son attends, and her younger son will attend. She’s a fierce advocate not just for the women of Vested, but for diversity of all kinds. She’s an inspiration.
Like Vested’s UK CEO Elspeth Rothwell. The former director of financial services at FTI Consulting Strategic Communications, Elspeth heads up a team of two — soon to be three! — equally impressive and wildly intelligent women. She too is a mother, and seamlessly balances growing the UK practice at breakneck speed and spending time with her family. She’s an inspiration.
There are numerous other women of Vested worthy of recognition, award-winning women like Creative Director Ali Wells and SAM Courtney Chennells, who led one of Vested’s first award-winning projects; or like VP Jacqueline Gogel and SAE Maggie Monaghan who’ve garnered their own personal recognition and continue to inspire their peers. Female empowerment is not exclusive to the leadership ranks. It’s not lip service. It’s quality client service, and I’ve seen it first-hand at every level of the organization.
So what’s the secret to supporting women at work?
“Most simply, it’s about inclusion,” Kim said in an interview last year. “Hire women. Consult women when making decisions. Serve women as customers and partners. Look at your leadership team. Look at your customer base. See that they’re diversified and, if they aren’t, make real, structural changes.”
And we’re proud to have done just that. We’re not the only ones who’ve taken Kim’s sound advice to heart. It’s been an impressive year for women in communications more broadly.
Barri Rafferty was promoted to agency partner and president of Ketchum Inc. as of January 1, the first woman to lead a global PR firm; and Amendola Communications CEO Jodi Amendola was named as one of PR News’ top women in PR for 2017.
But we still have a long way to go. According to 2017’s Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey and LeanIn.org, not all companies look like Vested, with women as prominent at senior levels as they are at entry levels. I’m grateful to benefit from my fellow inspirational women of Vested, but am keeping my eyes peeled for ways to affect greater change, as well.
This International Women’s Day, join the men and women of Vested in honoring just how far women at work have come—and recognizing how much more needs to be done to support a female future in the workplace.