Three years ago, Facebook launched its Agency Women’s Leadership Day in New York City to bring together and support female executives across its agency partners. This year, the social network expanded the program around the world to include eight additional markets.
More than 850 women from Facebook’s holding company and independent agency partners attended the recent events in New York, Brazil, Dubai, Sydney, Mexico, India, Istanbul, Argentina and London. All agency disciplines were invited to the event—from creative and media to digital and PR.
The idea for Agency Women’s Leadership Day was born out of Facebook’s internal Women's Leadership Day, which started about seven years ago, said Amy Peloquin, director of global agency development at Facebook.
From this, the social media giant decided to turn its focus toward inspiring and empowering women at its agencies, while driving collaboration among the shops. The women’s event allows agency executives to "check work at the door and have critical time to think about themselves from a career and personal perspective," said Peloquin. She added that the industry doesn’t hold events that bring together all agencies aside from festivals and awards shows.
For the last five years, Facebook has had a partnership with Fast Forward on personal and professional growth events, which also takes an active role in the women’s leadership day.
Throughout the day, women—and "male allies"—listen to inspirational keynote speakers and panelists and participate in workshops and networking sessions, said Peloquin.
GroupM Managing Partner LaToya Christian attended her first Agency Women’s Leadership Day in New York this year, which she said was inspirational and helpful in terms of tools and resources.
"What resonated with me the most is that you’re not alone in terms of feeling insecure in your path and career growth," she said, adding that it was wonderful to make connections with other women in the agency world.
WPP Chief Client Officer Lindsay Pattison said the women’s leadership events have already benefited hundreds of mid-level women at GroupM across three regions by "inspiring them to create a ‘whole life vision’ whilst supplying the tools and peer support to make it a reality."
She added that WPP plans on expanding the program with Facebook in 2019 to broaden its impact across the entire holding company network.
Lynn Lewis, U.S. CEO of UM, who attended and inaugural Agency Women’s Leadership Day and has been been a long time Fast Forward advocate, said, "I know firsthand how important these initiatives and programs are for women in our industry. I am inspired by them year over year and appreciate their ongoing commitment and global expansion."