Attending Cosmopolitan's 'Celebration of Female Talent' last week as part of Advertising Week Europe, I was struck by a pervading sense of 'growing up'.
Advertising Week, already 'grown up' in America, has taken our industry by storm in the UK since it launched here last year and is beginning to mature and build a legacy. Just as the women we were celebrating - businesswomen at the highest levels of their professions - are creating a legacy for the women throughout the organisations they serve.
This year Cosmopolitan celebrated UK Group Chairman at Havas Worldwide, Kate Robertson, Amanda Berry, CEO at Bafta, and Elizabeth Fagan, Marketing Director at Boots. Each of them was remarkably and refreshingly humble about how they got to where they are, and Elizabeth Fagan's honest admission that she took a "wrong turn in the right direction" resonated with many.
The Celebration not only recognised these globally successful female marketers, but also turned towards growing talent - the next generation - with each of last year's winners nominating two female rising stars within their own organisations. What a great concept. As women we suffer from a lack of role models in almost every industry, so it was refreshing to see women within my own industry championing their younger counterparts. To see how they are building a legacy, and creating a path for others to follow.
I believe all women in business have a responsibility to help young talent to grow. Success shouldn't be shrouded in mystery; none of us should pull the ladder up after us. We need to be open about how we got to where we are, and ensure those on earlier rungs of the ladder have the support they deserve. Women are typically less celebratory about their own successes than men. And that is why it's up to all of us to ensure their talents and efforts are fully recognised and rewarded at the same level as their male counterparts.
When each of last year's winners took to the stage, proudly introducing their pair of rising stars, they perfectly demonstrated how we all need to be more supporting of young talent, and more vocal in ensuring every voice is heard. It was thrilling to hear of each of the young women's achievements, but what made it all the more exhilarating was to hear it from the women supporting them from the top. And in the case of one young P&G brand manager, her role in using marketing to deliver significant social as well as commercial impact through the Pampers immunisation programme was duly recognised; really grown up marketing!
So my rallying call is let's celebrate talent. Let's celebrate it in all its forms irrespective of gender. Let's ensure the talents of the young women in our industry are given their time in the spotlight, just as those brilliant young members of our industry stepped boldly onto the stage at Kensington Palace last week.