Hope Nardini, Grey: "The best way to ensure inclusive advertising is to start where the work comes from."

A supportive community at work is essential for working parents

by India Fizer , AdForum

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New York, United States
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Hope Nardini
Global Executive Creative Director Grey

Hope Nardini, Global Executive Creative Director at Grey NY, speaks to us about the importance of a strong support network to help ease ad execs back into work after becoming a parent.


Tell us a bit about your role. How does your experience as a parent inform your work?

I’m a Global Executive Creative Director working on creative advertising for household brands around the world. I’m passionate about what I do, and feel lucky that I get to do it. By day, I’m leading teams as we craft experiential brand activations, commercial productions, and creative solutions to business problems. By night, I’m feeding my kids chicken nuggets, drawing with sidewalk chalk and reading Goodnight Moon. All people are multidimensional, and being a working mom gives me life experience that directly relates to consumers who buy the products we sell – because I’m one of them.


In what ways does your agency support flexible work arrangements to accommodate the diverse needs of working parents?

I was very fortunate to have a supportive community at work during and after both of my pregnancies. Having the flexibility to work from home was especially important in the early stages when I was battling morning sickness. Limiting travel towards the end of pregnancy was helpful as well. Grey has excellent parental leave, and when I came back to work, I felt more than ready to dig in again.

Advertising, especially in a global role, doesn’t always have finite working hours. Everybody is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating this. But for me, it’s critical to dedicate space in my day for unplugged time with my kids. If I’m necessary in a conversation, my team knows it can’t happen during dinner and bedtime hours (which I refer to as being on “mom duty”). Sometimes when we’re particularly busy, that means logging off at 6pm for a few hours, and then finishing up work after the kids go to bed. You find ways to make it work for you.


Advertising plays a vital role in influencing public perception. How are agencies and brands adapting ad comms to inclusivity around parenting?

The best way to ensure inclusive advertising is to start where the work comes from. It’s easy to look at agencies as a whole and think that we’re gender equitable. But the reality is, as copywriters, art directors, and designers start to move up in their careers, there’s a steep dropoff when women become mothers in the creative department. And that informs the work because then we’ve left out their very important perspectives. In many ways, we’ve come so far. But without championing working mothers, and working parents, the industry is missing out on advertising that resonates with consumers who have families of their own.