What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self? The UK Media Industry’s Female Leaders Weigh In

Posted by

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, Taboola had the pleasure of hosting a lunch for our female partners in the UK, discussing women’s empowerment and breaking the bias over some good food and drinks. With 24 women in attendance, we were able to envision a world where #BreakTheBias doesn’t have to be a hashtag anymore, because a gender equality is within reach.

From Bicycle, OMD and Lovehoney to The Telegraph and Reach, our lunch was filled with leading women that are making an impact in the media industry. Although these women are making a difference as some of the first in their roles, they are still struggling to command the same respect, representation, and pay as their male counterparts, and are at a disadvantage due to the lack of support from allies.

As we sat to share our ideas and hopes for the future of women at work, each attendee wrote one word or phrase to answer the question: “What can men do to support women’s progression in our industry?” To share their responses, all the attendees took Polaroid photos with their suggestions. You’ll see these featured throughout this article.

Attendees also each wrote down one piece of advice they’d give to their younger selves. These words of wisdom from senior leaders are meant to encourage women looking to do what they do and those who may not even think it’s possible.

After reading their thoughts and advice, you’ll have a better understanding of how to make your career dreams a reality even when it feels like everything and everyone is working against you.

Be True to Yourself

Discovering your true self and sticking to your gut was a recurring theme among attendees. Many wrote about the importance of accepting and embracing yourself for who you are in order to feel confident as a leader.

“Understand who you are, know who you are, appreciate who you are, love yourself. Have an opinion. Take up space. Be who you are unconditionally.” — Parweez Mulbocus, Head of Ecommerce, OMD

“Work hard, enjoy life and be your own best hypewoman”, encouraged Tobi Asare, Business Development Director of OMD. Duri Mehmet, Trading Director of Orion Worldwide, offered this advice: “Concentrate on yourself. Don’t worry about what others think — it doesn’t matter!” Jessica Emberlin, Account Manager at Dentsu, advocates to “be confident in your knowledge and stand tall.”

“Be yourself always and follow your goals rather than letting others influence you.” – Victoria Girowski, Digital Partnerships Manager, Reach PLC

Dunia Silan, SVP of Revenue for EMEA & APAC at Skimlinks, a Taboola company, also offered these words of wisdom, “Don’t try so hard to fit in. It’s tiring. Your differences will become your strengths, and the people you’re trying to impress are not of significance and meaning.” Leila Kojouri, Account Director, Dentsu, gave her younger self a boost with this quote, “Be confident and believe you can do it, because you CAN!”

Embrace Failure

Failure can seem like the absolute worst outcome for women in the workplace, where women feel pressured to outperform their male counterparts, rather than seeing failure as a blessing and an event to learn from. Our experts recommended being okay with failure and taking all the opportunities that come your way — even when you’re scared things won’t turn out the way you’d hoped. Leadership is about taking risks, after all.

“Your youth is for saying YES. Go to every networking event, meet people, volunteer. Say YES!” — Anya Libova, Strategic Partnerships Director, Taboola

Caitlin Rose, Head of Advertising Account Management for EMEA at Taboola, suggests not shying away from failure. She states, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Even further, embrace failure. It will make you grow into a more empathetic, self-aware, and confident leader.”

Cristina Sagarduy, Chief Performance Officer at OMD, recommends listening and learning, as well as not being apologetic about setting goals and going for it (even if you don’t succeed.)

When it comes to failure and rejection, Camilla Pacelli, Senior Partner Manager for APAC at Skimlinks, offered these words: “A rejection is just a redirection towards something better.”

Women Supporting Women is Always in Style

In a man’s world, it’s important for women to lift each other up and celebrate one another’s successes. Our attendees encourage surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and support you to be who you want to be.

Kate Barry, CRO of Mumsnet, encourages finding a mentor and championing (not competing!) with other women.

Seraphina Davey, Head of Publisher Account Management of EMEA at Taboola, warns to “be conscious of your own bias against women”.

“If you are feeling stressed, don’t keep it all inside. Seek help, because you deserve it. You don’t have to carry it all by yourself.” – Holly Hathaway, Head of Affiliate Partnerships, The Telegraph

Our attendees also encouraged their younger selves to break through shyness and speak up. Women’s words hold value. Christina Weaver, Global Affiliate Marketing Manager at Lovehoney, shared this sentiment, “You are worth gold – know your self worth and do things that make you happy.”

Advice for All

Attendees also offered this advice to their younger selves which should not be missed:

  • Life is too short to miss out on good things.
  • Always eat dessert.
  • Keep doing what you’re doing.
  • Dump that guy.

Thanks to the experience of women from roles across the media industry, this International Women’s Day we learned how each of us has a responsibility to break the bias, stereotypes, and discrimination women face in the workforce. As leaders, we can inspire other women to pursue top positions and bridge the gap between men and women in leadership roles.

Thank you to the women who attended and participated in our International Women’s Day lunch. May your advice and thoughts be widely read, shared, and continue to make a difference for women in the workplace and beyond.

Start Your Taboola Career Today!