Jillian Wyatt, BUNTIN: "Say her name when she’s not in the room."

Consistency is key to moving the conversation forward

by India Fizer , AdForum

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Nashville, United States
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Jillian Wyatt
VP/Communications + Community BUNTIN

This Women's History Month, as we take a moment to look back on the progress we've made in equalizing the industry, we chatted with the VP/Communications + Community at BUNTIN, Jillian Wyatt, about maintaining progress through long-term consistent effort, and advocating for each other.


In what ways can women in advertising pave the way for or support younger women hoping to break into advertising? 

One of the most impactful things we can do as women is advocate for each other. Say her name when she’s not in the room. Give her credit where credit is due. Make space for her voice to be heard. When she’s interrupted or talked over in a meeting, give her a platform to speak. Back her up. Validate her experiences.

Some of my proudest professional moments are when I’ve had the opportunity to recommend other women for recognition. A few years ago, I was asked to build a team to pitch a new business prospect, and I recommended a few younger women who hadn’t been given that opportunity before. I’d seen their work with clients and knew they’d do an amazing job; They just hadn’t had the chance to showcase their talents in this way. After some discussion, they were chosen for the pitch team – and they blew everyone’s socks off. To this day, they’re still top performers in their jobs. I’m not taking the credit for their accomplishments – that’s all them. But I am honored to have played a part in getting them a seat at the table.


How can we close the gap created by ageism, especially among women, in the industry? 

The best way to close the ageism gap is first to acknowledge it exists. Then, set measurable goals to close the gap and track them often. If we really want to change, we need to be vocal about our goals within our company, invite everyone to participate in reaching them, and hold each other accountable. As an industry, we’ll only become more diverse – in age, race, gender identity, and all the ways that matter – if we put a consistent, concentrated, and long-term effort into it.


How does your experience as a woman in marketing inform your work?

Being a woman doesn’t just inform my work; it improves my work. It pushes me to seek well-rounded perspectives in everything I do. It’s not enough to make assumptions based on what we think our audiences want. We need to walk in their shoes, consult folks who are living those lives, and take actions based on the experiences of real people. My womanhood empowers me to lead with empathy from a human-centric perspective.

Additionally, I’m a mother. I love the balance of career and motherhood in my life, but it can be challenging to say the least. To run from a board meeting to the elementary school car line to a Teams call at the kitchen counter while I’m making snacks for my kids is quite the juggling act. But the juggling has also taught me patience, empathy, prioritization, and time management. And as a mother of two young boys, I hope I’m setting an example for them of just how strong–sometimes superhuman–women are.


Gen Z is a generation of digital pioneers and has shifted the framework of many industries. How have this new generation of young women impacted the advertising industry and where do you anticipate they will improve the workplace going forward?

Gen Z women are challenging so much about the advertising industry already – and I am cheering them on! They demand equality, openness, and accountability. I can’t wait to see how they improve mental health in the workplace and prioritize greater work-life balance. We’ve only scratched the surface of what these women will do to improve our industry, and I’m here to support them every step of the way.