In a word, wow.
The 3% Conference in San Francisco last week was the first of its kind. Based on a premise that still shocks me no matter how often I write it—though women are responsible for 80-85% of buying decisions, only 3% of creative directors are female—Kat Gordon of Maternal Instinct brought together creative directors from across the globe for a one-day powwow.
I’ve since talked with several of the women who attended, and the reaction is the same: a sort of positive bedazzlement. Filled to the brim with amazing moments, the conference went by far too quickly.
For me, the most magic was in the positive dynamics between the women themselves. Powerhouses from big-name agencies, women from the Fortune 500, and entrepreneurs alike supported each other and the idea behind the event.
My role was in moderating “Pay It Forward: Mentorship,” and panelists Nancy Hannon of The Martin Agency, Kammie McArthur of Swirl, and Cheeraz Gorman of Alchemy 7 Creative were fantastic. The room was filled with an audience who brought thoughtfulness and energy to the conversation.
Because there are so many good stories to share this recap will be done in two parts, one today and one tomorrow. So without further ado here’s a recap of the conference with personal highlights, and don’t forget to also check out a video montage of the 3% Conference.
HIGH COSTS OF LIVING IN A 3% WORLD
A ball of fire led off the day: Cindy Gallop (of TED conference fame) gave the morning keynote. I came away with three key thoughts:
HAVE WE REALLY COME A LONG WAY, BABY?
Joey Cummings of The Joey Company moderated this panel with Susan Hoffman of Wieden+Kennedy, Margaret Johnson of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and Cynthia Maller of PayPal. I was struck by how fearlessly candid each panelist was:
MISS REPRESENTATION: INTERVIEW
Author Jess Weiner, Dove’s Global Ambassador for Self Esteem, interviewed Jennifer Siebel Newsom, director of the 2011 Sundance documentary Miss Representation. What sticks with me is Jennifer’s tale of prepping for an interview with Rosie O’Donnell along with other women who had appeared in the film. Surprised when she arrived in the green room at the appearance of her cohorts, who had been heavily made up by the show’s makeup artists, her request to have her hair pulled back in a simple ponytail was met with dismay. Special approval, it seemed, was required for a hairstyle considered less than sexy—an ironic blind spot on the part of the network, given the interview topic was to be the exploitation of women in marketing and the media.
OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES
In this, one of the sessions I enjoyed most, Carol Williams of CHWA moderated a panel with Stanford’s Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, executive coach Barbara Mack, Christie Cordes of Ad Recruiter, and Lauren Tucker of The Martin Agency.
NEEDED: MORE CANNES IN CANNES
EMMY-winning creative director Hélène Coté and panelists including Ale Lariu of SheSays and Karen Mallia of the University of South Carolina discussed awards given by guys for ad campaigns created by guys.
A gluten-free treat (thank you, organizers!) awaited us in a sunny courtyard: a delicious salmon lunch. At my table were the superb Ana Blaj of senior care startup ageModern and the super fun Kari Niles of Razorfish, along with five other wonderful women and a lot of lively conversation: Kristi Faulkner and Susan Sabean of Womenkind, Emily Honigsfeld and Christine Gault of Colle+McVoy, and Ann Lehman of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women.
I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, and check back tomorrow to hear more about this great conference. It only gets better from here!
Contributed by Tiffany Jonas.
Guest blogger Tiffany Jonas manages the Verbal Branding department at Addison Whitney. She spends her days developing taglines and brand names for companies, products, pharmaceutical drugs, clinical trials, and just about anything else you can think of.