Five years after our first special report, we check in to find out what it takes to be a leading lady in the world of event marketing…
Women have graced the cover of Event Marketer magazine 16 times over the past five years. This is exactly the same number of times we have featured the leading men of the industry during the same time period. You might think that we take great pains to make sure that there is gender equality when it comes to the covers of our magazine. But in all honesty, we don’t. It just so happens that in the world of live events, if you follow the dotted line from a highly successful program to the brilliant mind that’s running it—about half the time that brilliant mind belongs to a woman.
This unintentional approach to parity between the sexes makes us think we might be on to something. Five years ago, we published our first-ever special report on Women in Event Marketing. And when we polled the women in the industry, 66 percent reported that they knew of men doing the same job for more money, 32 percent thought the glass ceiling still existed and 41 percent said they were not getting paid what they were worth. In most ways, the event industry at the time paralleled the national workplace, gender gaps and all.
Flash forward to 2013 and we’re hearing a slightly different story. Women in events seem to be focused a lot less on wage gaps, inequality and glass ceilings and more focused on the work. There is a growing rejection of stereotypes and a greater embrace of the idea that it’s not about male versus female, but about elevating the craft of event marketing within an organization for the betterment of men and women alike. Women in events today are not only reporting less concern about their gender holding them back, they’re celebrating the inherent skills that make them good at the job, demanding and enjoying more flexibility and reporting greater satisfaction at work while they’re doing it.
Which makes us wonder—is it possible that gender inequality in event marketing is becoming a bit of a non-issue? Is the industry blazing a trail and accomplishing in some ways what the larger American workplace cannot? We don’t know if we’re even-steven in our coverage of the sexes because the event marketing industry is nearly evenly split between men and women (women make up roughly 65 percent of the industry’s workforce). Or, if over the past five years women have taken on more notable positions of leadership in their organizations (women appeared on the cover of Event Marketer 12 times compared to 19 times for men prior to 2008). But we do know this: being a woman in the event industry is a wild ride filled with the highest professional highs and some of the most difficult work-life balance challenges in corporate America. And despite this reality, few are letting their gender define their ability to get the jobs and accolades they deserve.
This month, we offer an in-depth special report—sponsored by leading global event marketing agency Sparks—filled with fresh data, tips and insights from some of the top women in the industry. First up, a state of the union in numbers—a roundup of stats and facts every working woman should know. Then, an in-depth conversation with 12 women leading some of the industry’s most influential brands and programs. Finally, a Women in Events Book Club—all the business and life strategy books you need to read to give your mind and career a jump start. Ladies (and the men who support you)… this one is for you.
Below, we offer even more insights and ideas from a few women we couldn’t fit into the print issue:
Name: Jane Hawley
Title: Senior Vice President
Responsibilities: Business Development and Client Strategy
In Your Carry-on: Roasted Almonds & Apples
Can’t Live Without Travel Item: Travel alarm with a snooze button
Favorite App: Tripcase
Best Business Tech Tool: Documents to Go
Pets, Plants or Kids? Plants–wish they could be pets but not home enough!
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: Best advice was not really advice but a reminder to be true to who you really are. If you set your mind to it you can do anything you chose.
What are the key attributes necessary to get ahead in marketing and is it any different for women? There are a few attributes that any person needs to be successful; being a strong communicator, a good listener, honesty, leadership skills, confidence and the ability to inspire people.
Are these attributes that men have or do women tend to be better at them? Personally I feel that women, compared to men typically have much better communication skills.
How do you handle work-life balance issues? Not well! This is an area where I have struggled throughout my career. It is something that I am VERY aware of and am trying to create more of an ongoing rather than sporadic balance!!
Did you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In? Thoughts? I have only read excerpts but it is on my vacation reading list.
Can you point to one campaign or event that you are particularly proud of that you were responsible for? There are many exciting projects that I am proud to have been a part of but in our business it truly takes a team to win a project and execute successfully against a client’s marketing goals and objectives.
Do you have advice for other women looking to get ahead in event marketing? Be passionate. People succeed at what they like to do and when they are happy.
Name: Kerry Doyle
Title: SVP of Brand Content and Alliance Team
Company: Team Detroit
Responsibilities: Devise new ways to connect with consumers through non-traditional methods, such as events, entertainment and partnerships
What are the key attributes necessary to get ahead in marketing and is it any different for women? Women are incredibly good at event marketing. I think you need to have a lot of enthusiasm, perseverance; you need to be incredibly passionate about what you do. It is about being courageous and getting others around you to be courageous, because a lot of what you work on has never been done before. It’s about spreading that passion.
Are these attributes that men have or do women tend to be better at them? We all have the same types of attributes but they are scaled to different degrees. Women are very strong at the things you need to do from an event marketing standpoint. They are detail oriented, team oriented and you need to get everyone excited about it. But everyone can do it. I have men on my team who are very good at what they do.
How do you handle work-life balance issues? The word balance depends on the person. I personally get great fulfillment through my work and what I get to do everyday. I love what I do, so I think a happy mom equals a happy family. If you are happy and fulfilled everyone around you is happier. I am married 20 years and have two children. I think it is important to set a great example for your family and it is great that my kids are able to see me in a leadership role and have a lot of successes throughout my career. They are definitely learning through what I do and they know they can accomplish and do anything. Obviously it is all about sharing challenges with your family. We share the happiness and joys, but I still take my kids to doctor’s appointments and I go to what I can when I am not traveling. I go to their games. It is just trying to manage everything. It becomes trickier, because children need you more as they get older. But we found something that works well with my family.
Did you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In? Yes. I am very familiar with it. It is really important that she is talking about these issues. A lot of what she talks about is data-driven, and it is not what I see in my current experiences. It’s up to you to make your own destiny and I feel like there are not the barriers that she talks about in management. I don’t have those barriers at my company. It’s about the idea and whoever can make them happen. Everyone is celebrated. But she is in a different corporate world. I’m in more of a creative world. I definitely encourage everyone on my team and it is all about mentoring young women nowadays to make sure they know that they can be and do anything.
Can you point to one campaign or event that you are particularly proud of that you were responsible for? There are a couple. The first is Fiesta Movement, the first social program for automotive. It was very big, the biggest social experiment of its time, and we are doing it again. Harvard did a case study on the first Fiesta Movement. With social, it never stops. People are still viewing it. Our initial views were a couple million, now a couple of years later, it is 30 million. We were able to sell in a second Fiesta Movement, which just launched a couple of weeks ago.
The one other program that I am excited about is the Escape Routes TV program that we won two EX Awards for. It was a real-time reality network show. It was all about human connections. I also work on Warriors in Pink, which is a passionate program for me that touches women everywhere.
Do you have advice for other women looking to get ahead in event marketing? My motto is go big or go home. Think big, be ambitious, believe in yourself and your ideas. Care and have passion. If you can dream it, you can do it. The only thing that stops people is their imagination. Creativity is so important in everything we do and women are incredibly creative individuals.
Name: Elizabeth Seltzer
Title: Executive Vice President, Experiential Marketing
Company: Amplitude Marketing Group
Responsibilities: Lead and mentor a Team of Experiential Masterminds, developing strategic brand campaigns inclusive of creative, conceptual ideation, talent/partner negotiations and foolproof execution.
In Your Carry-on: iPhone, laptop, chargers, back up phone battery, a noise-cancelling headphones, event program binder, water, make-up, Band-Aids, aspirin, sunglasses, comfortable “on-your-feet-all-day” shoes, all-weather jacket, good pair of jeans, the latest issues of Event Marketer, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine and Fine Cooking. I have a big carry on.
Can’t Live Without Travel Item: My carry on!
Favorite App: Just one? So many to choose from, but here are the ones I visit most often Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Mashable, Yelp, Open Table (handy for client dinners), Google Maps, multiple Weather Apps and Chefs Feed.
Best Business Tech Tool: With a daily 1hour commute I have become a podcast junkie. The one podcast that fuels significant creative inspiration is Todd Henry’s “The Accidental Creative”. I often arrive at work and tell my team “I was just listening to this pod cast and I think we should think about….”
Pets, Plants or Kids? All of the above. I’m an Animal lover. Total dog person more than cats, but somehow I have two cats. If it’s green I throw it in a recipe. I have two nieces and I cherish every second with them.
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: “We either make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” -Carlos Castaneda
What are the key attributes necessary to get ahead in marketing and is it any different for women? It’s not necessarily different attributes for men vs. women… it’s about who has the most passion to get ahead. I consistently immerse and self-educate about the constant changing industry trends and shifts in consumer behaviors. We need the ability to apply these learnings to hone our strategic and creative thinking. We need the ability to generate ideas that are new and novel and uncomplicated. Problem solving thinking on your feet, anticipating detours and the foresight to course correct.
Are these attributes that men have or do women tend to be better at them? Based on today’s digital landscape everybody has access to the same resources. It really comes down to who wants it more.
How do you handle work-life balance issues? Work-life balance is a constant struggle in this field. With the demand for new game-changing consumer plans, shorter timelines and brutal travel schedules it is difficult to find balance. You need to commit and set boundaries. A couple of years ago, I realized that my other passion in life, is cooking. It’s a huge stress-relief for me. Often, ideas come to me as I am chopping, sautéing or braising. It’s a work in progress; I make an effort to get home early during the week to cook and am typically back online once dinner is served.
Did you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In? Thoughts? It’s in my office and on my list!
Can you point to one campaign or event that you are particularly proud of that you were responsible for? The 2011 “Dare to Be Spontaneous” program between Katy Perry and Schick Quattro for Women. I invested my heart and soul into the program for nearly 17 months and it paid off. The program was awarded an Ex Award!
Do you have advice for other women looking to get ahead in event marketing? A career in event marketing takes a tremendous amount of passion, creativity, determination, quick thinking and endurance! Success is determined by immersing yourself in not just event marketing but every aspect of marketing! Self-educate on industry trends across Digital/Social/Mobile, Experiential, PR, Retail, Media, etc. The event marketing industry in many ways is a blank canvas, providing the freedoms to creatively experiment- don’t be afraid to push boundaries and try new things!
Name: Jennifer Granozio
Title: President & COO
Company: Grand Central Marketing, Inc.
Responsibilities: Operations, Finance and New Business
In Your Carry-on: Laptop, Blackberry, Filofax, Chargers and “Plane Porn,” i.e. US and People magazines, which I only read on planes and at the salon–honest!
Can’t Live Without Travel Item: Amala Desert Fog Soothing Lip Salve
Favorite App: Twitter (boring, I know!)
Best Business Tech Tool: My FitBit! It’s the only way that I can even attempt to get the daily exercise required with the insane office hours that I keep!
Pets, Plants or Kids? A dog, Jack. He’s a 6 lb. Maltese who guards both home and office. And we have plants, trees and flowers in our small gardens at both.
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: Do something that you love for your career, because you spend most of your time doing it—my father; “This above all: to thine own self be true”—William Shakespeare; and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—The Big Guy.
What are the key attributes necessary to get ahead in marketing and is it any different for women? I think it’s the same as any other discipline, really. Work hard. Be creative. Be professional. Listen carefully. Be thorough. Be a team-player. So no, in my experience, it isn’t any different for women.
Are these attributes that men have or do women tend to be better at them? No, I don’t think that sex plays an issue at all, really. I know both men and woman who are great (and not-so-great) at all of the above.
How do you handle work-life balance issues? LOL–still working on that one! But I did get married finally at the age of 46, so there may be hope for me yet. Baby steps!
Did you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In? Thoughts? No, not yet, but I’d like to at some point… when I have some spare time. Are you starting to see a theme emerging here yet?
Can you point to one campaign or event that you are particularly proud of that you were responsible for? Sure: The Olympus PEN Ready Project, which we won an Event Tech Award for “Best Use of Social Media” and a Pro Award for “Best Cross-Platform Promotion Using Interactive Channels.”
Do you have advice for other women looking to get ahead in event marketing? Just be smart, be strong and have the courage of your convictions!
Name: Cassie Hughes
Title: Co-Founder and Strategy Director
Company: Grow Marketing
Responsibilities: Oversee the business and lead the strategic function at the agency
In Your Carry-on: Love notes from my kids & coconut chips and aloe vera water
Can’t Live Without Travel Item: A great book
Favorite App: Uber–instant gratification, plus no wasted time figuring out the tip or making sure you got the right change.
Best Business Tech Tool: Google Docs–simple and accessible real-time collaboration for our extended teams and clients.
Pets, Plants or Kids? All of the above! Son, daughter, Cattle Dog mutt, quarter horse, and garden.
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: Allow yourself to fail occasionally so you will never forget how to stretch your limits.
What are the key attributes necessary to get ahead in marketing and is it any different for women? Strong marketing gut–ability to tap into that intuition that tells you if something will work or not. People either have it or they don’t, gender aside.
Openness–we have to remain open at all times no matter what. Our industry is constantly changing so we can’t fall too deeply in love with how we’ve always done things.
Stealth listener–we have to listen to our team and our clients to continually do cutting edge work. We need to hear their needs and thoughts to be able to craft the right campaign–what is being said directly and between the lines.
Entrepreneurial Spirit–we are builders and create new experiences for clients everyday. We have to have that entrepreneurial tenacity and can-do attitude to get it done, no matter the size of the company in which you work.
Flexibility–change is the norm in our business–changing goals, budgets and needs, being flexible is a non-negotiable in our business.
Are these attributes that men have or do women tend to be better at them? These attributes have more to do with spirit than gender. I know men who do all well and some women who struggle with all.
How do you handle work-life balance issues? It took me the first 10 years of putting the business first and watching my health suffer to learn that when I take better care of myself I am better too and thus so is the business. By giving myself work/life balance I do better work for my clients and am able to provide more support to the team. Making time for exercise and creativity is key even if it’s between the hours of 5:30-7:00 AM.
Did you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In? Thoughts? I have not, but I’m in support of any book that helps women to find their voice and encourages them to take their desired place at the table.
Can you point to one campaign or event that you are particularly proud of that you were responsible for? We did a campaign for Intuit’s QuickBooks brand called Just Start, which we developed around the insight that over 70 percent of working Americans daydreamed about starting their own business. In key commuter hubs across the country we popped up Just Start Studios that gave budding entrepreneurs access to free advice and tools to help them pursue their dream. Part of the program offered grants up to budding businesses and it was so inspiring to see the passion behind some of the amazing ideas people had. We showed Intuit, and consumers, that financial software truly did have a heartbeat. That year we were recognized with the Warrillow Award for Best Small Business Marketing Campaign, beating out frontrunner Amex, so I have to say that felt pretty good too.
Do you have advice for other women looking to get ahead in event marketing? Place yourself in situations where you will have the most learning opportunities and don’t solely rely on your job for learning. Social media makes it easy to tap into what’s going on around you–with competitors, other business segments and thought leaders. Find your resources for creative inspiration and don’t settle for “wash, rinse, repeat” solutions. Actively cultivate your marketing intuition and gut. Don’t spend time with people who make you doubt yourself or question your talents.