March 8th, 2018 marks this year’s International Women’s Day. So what does this day really mean? We believe it is a day to celebrate women, recognize their achievements, and acknowledge the challenges they face. Feminism, in our minds, is the quest for equality. Equality for women, men, and all gender identities.
For this International Women’s Day, we interviewed our Founder and Director of Accounts, Kelly Darwin, to share with us his perspective on the quest for equality. The world of tech and marketing has expanded greatly in the past decade, and women are increasingly sharing their knowledge and insight in these realms. It is important to encourage the growth of women and roles for women in tech and digital development. By sharing perspectives and listening to others, we will continue to move closer to closing these gaps of understanding and make the small and large changes to improve everyone’s’ lives. Your lens is only as big or small as you choose it to be.
Would you say, from your own experience, that you have seen improvements in equality over the years?
When I first started in this industry it was mostly men, especially when it came to programming and development. If I remember correctly only four of the twenty-five students in my college program were women. Over the years I’ve witnessed more and more women joining the tech and marketing world which has been amazing. Seriously Creative has always gender balanced but not necessarily by design. We’ve always tried to hire the best people who are the best fit for our team. The fact we’ve remained gender balanced is great but it’s really more about the people than their gender. The industry itself still has a way to go to being anywhere near equality both in representation and equal pay.
What is the most significant transformation for women you’ve witnessed in your career?
I think the most significant transformation has been the number of women leading major tech businesses. From Facebook to Yahoo! We’ve seen women leading the way in the boardroom.
What do you think we should be doing more of to encourage women in tech/marketing/digital development?
I think we are finally on the right path, but the best encouragement we can give is leading by example. We live in a Province that had the longest-serving female Premiere in Canadian history. We’ve had women in positions of power in the public, private and education sectors for a long time and now with a Prime Minister that is bringing gender equality to the forefront, I think British Columbia is ready to lead our Country in change.
Did you have any women who influenced your career path/journey? What strengths did they teach you?
Absolutely, my Mom and my Aunt have run a very successful restaurant, The Appletree Family Restaurant, for the past 25 years. In an industry that tends to be very discriminatory towards women they have built a successful business and in my opinion have been trailblazers in a very male-dominated industry. I think the most important thing I learned from them was to work hard, be honest and treat everyone with respect, from the dishwasher to the CEO. If you want respect you have to give respect.
As an employer, what advice would you give to other companies regarding infrastructure in place to develop the best talent, regardless of gender?
In this day in age, a lot of people want the quick fix and are not willing to put in the work to be successful. One of the things we are most proud of at Seriously Creative is finding talented people and building a strong team. Investing time, education and resources into people is by far the best way to hedge your bet for success.
People will always be the best investment. Treat them fairly, be open to their ideas and together you can reach whatever goals you set.
What are the best/worst initiatives you have seen promoting diversity? (i.e. quotas, training in unconscious bias, etc.)
To be successful in promoting diversity it comes down to attitude and corporate culture. Having a program in place that forces the hiring process is counterproductive to achieving the end result. Change doesn’t happen because we say it should and society won’t be magically reinvented by a hashtag.
We need to lead by example, encourage those willing to stand up and be the change.
As leaders, it’s our job to empower individuals to be there best. Gender and race have nothing to do with it.