Publicis' Dawn Winchester on the Impact of Time's Up Advertising

By Publicis Media Archives

Amid a rising general consciousness over the past few years on the topic of diversity and inclusion, the advertising industry has owned the forefront, with agencies and industry players making bold moves to transform their working environments and cultures across the board, once and for all.  Notably, in the watershed of the past year alone, our collective voice has galvanized to an even more vociferous level as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements made the imperative clearer than it has ever been.  Diversity and inclusion are no longer negotiable, and women are leading the industry charge -- look no further than Time's Up Advertising (TUA) and the open letter signed by 140 women at the upper echelons of agency land and the brand marketing ecosystem.

We spoke with Dawn Winchester (pictured above), Chief Digital Officer of Publicis Worldwide North America, about TUA and the radical notion of turning this pivotal moment in time into positivity and an opportunity for radical, permanent change … and how we can collectively participate not just in the notion of diversity and inclusion but in the forward, steady movement and real change it demands.  Read on.

Katharine Panessidi:  As a signer of Time’s Up Advertising, what do you feel needs to happen to make diversity and inclusion a reality in the industry?

Dawn Winchester:  With Time’s Up and Me Too, we are experiencing an amazing cultural moment and I feel it is our responsibility to turn this disruption into a positive force for everyone.  TUA becomes a platform to capture this moment and for us to push for real tangible changes in policies and leadership decisions at our companies across the industry.  First of all, we must provide a safe and abuse-free environment for our people.  Second, we must create equity and remove bias from our organizations at every level.  This requires real, systemic change.  Our collective signatures commit us to that.

Panessidi:  What is Time’s Up Advertising, and why should we all care?

Winchester:  From my perspective, the value of TUA is two-fold.  One, it shines a light on the problem.  To truly create a diverse and inclusive industry, we need to make sure that everyone is clear that we have a lot of work ahead of us.  And it will take concrete, hands-on work from everyone in the industry.  Second, it creates the moment where we turn the page from the echo of the Mad Men era and step into a new vision that reflects the world we live in today.  For the marketing community this is absolutely essential.  We cannot be successful in building brands and businesses if we are stuck in the past.  In short, we all need to get with it!

Panessidi:  Do you think it is important for women to purposefully develop a professional network?  Why or why not?

Winchester:  Absolutely.  I’m a big believer that people create their own luck.  And one very specific way to do that is to create your own strong relationship network, so you can be visible and present for the next opportunity.  Also, selfishly, I learn so much and I’m often inspired by reaching out beyond my own circle.  This expansion of circles is one way where diversity becomes a benefit, in helping to expand your perspective and see your own biases.

Panessidi:  Who is in your network and why are they part of your network?

Winchester:  Every network is like a fingerprint -- individual to the person.  If you were to graph mine you would find a lot of diversity.  It’s much more interesting to speak with someone who has a different worldview or perspective.  I keep a strong community of people in my network who I have worked with in the past and who I would love to work with again.  I try to see a few of them every month just to keep the connections strong.  I have my current working team, and we stay connected through projects and bond through shared challenges and progress.  Lastly, I have friends and influencers from outside our business.  Many are in the art or fashion industries, so I’m lucky to have glimpses into other worlds or cultural trends through their eyes.

See Dawn Winchester speak with other TUA signers and female industry luminaries in a discussion titled “Coffee, Tea & We, the Women in Media, Marketing & Advertising” at MMS NY: The Connective Power of Content.  This event will bring together the senior brand and agency marketers who are watching these trends and shaping the future of modern marketing.  Together, speakers and audience will be discussing how to make meaningful consumer connections that span the drastically changing marketing landscapes.

MediaVillage subscribers get 20% off with the code "MMS18MV20."

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