Last Tuesday night Cosmopolitan magazine held a 'Celebration of Female Talent' at Kensington Palace as part of AdWeek Europe. The evening was exactly the kind of glittering event you might expect from an evening hosted by Cosmopolitan and Kensington Palace, but it was still refreshingly fun, relaxed, and truly inspirational. And beyond the glamour and excitement, it was the sense of supportiveness for each other amongst the women being honoured, and the men and women in the audience, that really made an impact.
At a time when women are very much in the spotlight, the event celebrated three business leaders who have each given a huge amount to their industries: Claudine Collins, MD at MediaCom, Roisin Donnelly, Marketing Director at Procter & Gamble UK & Ireland, and Cilla Snowball, Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive at AMVBBDO.
As Cilla was my very first boss it was especially wonderful to watch her being awarded, and even more touching to see her daughter looking so incredibly proud of her mother. After all, trying to achieve that all-important work/life balance as a parent with a busy career is only achievable with the mutual support of your family.
We've come a long way since the Mad Men era, and it was inspiring to see these successful women being recognised for the part they have each played, and continue to play, in making our industry what it is today. Cilla, Roisin and Claudine each gave special thanks to their families, as well as their employers and colleagues, highlighting the importance of a support network, particularly at work.
The Celebration showed that being supportive of each other in the workplace, particularly as women in a male-dominated industry, is the best way of ensuring that each of us has the opportunity to succeed. Being unafraid to ask for or to offer help is something we should all try to work into our daily lives. After all, no one in this world can survive without the support of others. And we all have the power to help the people around us at work - no matter their level or seniority - to grow as people and professionals.
Supporting and nurturing young talent is a big part of various industry boards and mentor schemes that I work with and it's fantastic to see an influential force such as Cosmopolitan reinforcing this.
More than half of UK graduates are women, but only a small percentage of leadership positions in the top UK businesses are held by women. It is up to all of us to nurture young talent, and help the younger members of our businesses to develop the self-assurance they need to reach for these positions at the top.
Everyone needs a role model they can relate to and by recognising and promoting the women who have been successful in their fields, we are helping to show younger women that their ambitions can become reality. That the paths they are following now are leading to a destination, rather than a road block.
And that's certainly something worth celebrating.