The 4A’s is committed to gender equality and diversity, as a whole, in the advertising industry. As part of our “See It & Be It” series, we invite industry leaders to share their wisdom on how to succeed in advertising despite your gender, age, sexual preference, racial background and more. Here Drew Schwartz, Integrated Account Director at Terri & Sandy shares her point of view.
In 2016, why do you think it’s still necessary to talk about opportunities for women in the industry, and how women are portrayed in advertising?
It’s 2016, yet the World Economic Forum estimates it may take another 170 years for women to be paid the same as men. I don’t think waiting around for 2186 is an option. It’s all of our responsibility to make the change we want to see—in this industry and beyond. And, placing a spotlight on discrepancies in both the pay and the portrayal of women in advertising is certainly a good place to start.
Do you think women, people of color, LGBTQ and people with disabilities face similar issues in the ad industry?
Absolutely. We have issues across multiple industries. Until the workforce more accurately reflects our country’s diverse landscape of people, we can’t ignore that something is fundamentally broken in the way opportunities and education are dispersed.
What advice would you give a 20-year-old woman on how to succeed in the advertising industry?
Remember that an interview works both ways. If the potential manager you are meeting with doesn’t have a genuine interest in mentoring, I’d look for other options.
Have high standards for yourself. Regardless of the size or scale of an assignment, the end product is a reflection of you.
You have a voice. Don’t be afraid to use it.
Would you want your daughter to pursue a career in advertising? If not, why not?
I don’t have a daughter. However, I think the heart of your question is: Would I encourage another young woman to pursue this career path? I believe all girls (and boys, for that matter) should be encouraged to pursue the future they desire. If that happens to be advertising, great. If they want to be a scientist, a teacher, a race car driver or a parent … those are all great, too. Let’s encourage future generations to look at their dreams as limitless—to find something they love and never question what gender that role is “right” for.
What did you do to survive and thrive in advertising?
I’ve had two really powerful tools: The best mentors and the best intentions.
Something as simple as good intentions have been a driving force in my career. I genuinely care—about the creative, the results, the people—and I believe that wanting the best, for everyone, has made my work and my teams that much stronger.
I’ve been working for our founders, Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg, for the last five years. They are two women who define what it means to be smart, passionate and hardworking. They also shatter every stereotype that says women don’t empower other women. The experience and support they have given me are an unrivaled secret weapon.