BBDO has expanded its 'Heels of Steel' diversity project across various Southeast Asian markets.
First launched in 2017 in Malaysia, the series hosts influential female leaders from all walks of life to give talks to employees about their personal paths to success, with the aim to inspire and "accelerate the progress of women in the workplace" and boost the confidence of both female and male employees.
This year BBDO Singapore launched their first event on March 8th, International Women's Day. BBDO Guerrero in the Philippines joined the programme the same month, inviting Mara Lecocq as their first speaker. Formerly a creative director at AKQA, Lecocq went freelance to launch Secret Code, a children's book that can be personlised to feature different girls as 'tech heros'. In an interview with The Next Gag, Lecocq stated that she started Secret Code because she was "tired hearing about the lack of diversity in the workplace, which I was facing first-hand as one of the rare female creative leaders in digital advertising."
BBDO offices in Indonesia and Vietnam followed suit in May, with Vietnam hosting Thai Van Linh, director of operations and strategy for private equity firm VinaCapital, which specialises in early venture projects and startups. Van Linh is also the founder and CEO of her own startup, a tailoring company called Rita Phil.
Van Linh advised her audience on the importance of playing a 'pay it forward' role in helping other women succeed. "My advice to this energetic generation is: You must work hard, focus on the execution, and keep trying until you reach your goals — never settle and never give up!”
Indonesia invited Daphne Kuah, associate brand director and commercial leader for P&G Indonesia, as their first Heels of Steel speaker. Kuah commented that the "informal yet comfortable" setting of the talks encouraged "intimate sharing and conversation".
“As BBDO Indonesia’s first Heels of Steel speaker, we got to know what makes Daphne who she is," said Vaishali Sarkar, CEO of BBDO Indonesia. "We saw that her struggles are just like ours, her journey to the top has been as tough, her vulnerabilities as acute. She truly inspired us with her honesty and encouragement. Daphne not only wore Heels of Steel for the event, she also showed us her true mettle, and left us with this message: To live life fully is the only way to live.”