How Boutique Media Agencies Can Foster Women Leaders

CEO Lori Golberg, Silverlight Digital writes for iMedia ConnectionSilverlight Digital’s CEO Lori Goldberg writes for iMedia Connection

As the owner of a boutique media agency, I know the reality of leading a lean business often means leaner employee programs or perks. Smaller agencies don’t always have the budget or the bandwidth to create a specific program for women’s mentoring or to hire a recruiter focused on hiring diverse women. However, that doesn’t mean these issues aren’t important.

In fact, this past year the media industry as been flushed with a few statistics that should, at the very least, get the attention of leaders in our space. A few standouts are:

This last statistic struck me as curious. If we have an industry standard (even if it’s an abysmal one), then why do so few women report the standard as not representing their experience?

Some research for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can help shed some light. Even though there is lots of data coverage about some of the bigger players in our space (employee data from Saatchi, GS&P, FCB, etc.), these groups do not actually account for the majority of the agencies out there.

In fact, 68 percent of advertising and PR firms employ no more than five people. This means that the majority of women in advertising are probably working at a boutique agency and having vastly different experiences than professionals at the larger firms.

Without the large budgets or the bandwidth, how do smaller companies address these women whose experience is falling below industry standard? As the leader of a boutique agency, I am more than familiar with getting creative in how we approach women’s mentorship. And here are a few things that boutique agencies can do today, with little or no budget:

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