Perspectives: Women in Advertising 2018, Simona Maggini

"As a working woman with a family, I feel that more respect and support of a woman's role in her family would help a lot"

 

Perspectives: Women in Advertising 2018

Tell us about who you are and what your job title is?
I'm a 45 year old Italian woman based in Milan, and I am the CEO of Y&R, an integrated communication company.
I am super passionate about my job and my industry; though over time things have gotten increasingly complicated and challenging.
Was there a job you had at one point, outside of advertising, that prepared you most for success later in life?
Yes when I was 17 years old and working part-time in a shop during the christmas period, packing gifts that people had purchased. I also served customers and helped them choose their gifts.
I needed to be fast, kind, a problem solver, and I had to smile through all of it.
What do you see as being the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the “glass ceiling”?
Not all of the changes in the industry are related to women. Unfortunately I don't think that the industry was very adaptive to female leadership. In my opinion I believe that the industry had more of a reactive than a proactive approach to women's leadership.
From Like A Girl to Fearless Girl, a raft of advertising campaigns have set out to empower women. How do you feel about these campaigns? Can they change attitudes within the industry?
Of course I feel very proud about those campaigns, they are great projects. However I don't think that they will change much as the numbers are still limited, but you need to start somewhere.
How have the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements played out in the advertising sector? Are they making a significant impact?
From my perspective these movements are having much more of an impact in the US than anywhere else. I don't feel that there is any significance to the advertising sector.
Initiatives such as Free The Bid are trying to create more opportunities for women in advertising. But what could be done at a more grass roots level to attract women in the first place?
The things that need to be done depend a lot on the country, the background culture and the attitude. As a working woman with a family, I feel that more respect and support of a woman's role in her family would help a lot, together with some concrete actions to simplify and make job management more flexible.
Can you reflect on a mentor that helped guide you in your career and tell us what made them special?
There are two, a woman and a man.
They are very similar in personality, but of course had very different impacts on my career and my development.
The lady gave me the basic learnings of how to survive and how being true to yourself is never a mistake.
The man taught me to bear the toughest of pressures and to believe more in my own capabilities.
How do you as a successful woman plan to inspire the next generation of women? In a few words, what advice do you have for women entering the advertising industry?
Don't give up, especially when it gets tough (and it will happen). If this is what you want, go ahead and get it.