Culture

Meet the Inspiring Women of MBB

international women's day illustration

By , Posted March 7, 2019

Last year for International Women’s Day, we held a roundtable to discuss what ads say about and to women. This year, instead of just talking about women in advertising, I wanted to talk to women in advertising. I really believe that our power is in sharing our voices and our experiences. The women of MBB are daughters, wives, and mothers, but we are also go-getters, passionate speakers, vice presidents, and partners in the business—I wanted these women to describe themselves in their own words.

Christian Weld-Brown Partner

Tell us about some of KC’s Women’s Business orgs and how you’re involved.

Currently I’m involved with the Women’s Foundation and its Appointments Project as well as Central Exchange. Central Exchange has been so motivating for me. I’ve really enjoyed the programming, but the relationships that I have built with such amazing women have been the best part. They are inspirational, real businesswomen who have so much to contribute. Through these relationships I’ve joined a Lean In Circle as well.

The support at Central Exchange inspired me to start Fill Your Cup, a women’s book club at MBB. I feel like contributing to the growth of women is so rewarding and important. We’re reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr, but my larger goal is for the group to be a space to support and encourage each other in reaching our goals—no matter what those might be.

What do you want to see for women at MBB?

We talk a lot about work/life balance, and while feeling fulfilled at work is important, fulfillment in life comes from serving something larger than yourself. I love all the amazing, intelligent, capable women who work at MBB, but I want to make sure that all of the women at MBB are making a lasting contribution not just to MBB, but to the world.

When your cup is full, you can help to fill someone else’s. The women of MBB are an amazing resource. I want them all to feel supported in having big dreams and bigger goals.

Jenn Ashcroft Analyst

Women are underrepresented in STEM and STEM-adjacent fields. Has that been a challenge for you?

I can only think of a couple direct, “in your face” examples when I’ve felt specifically patronized or discounted; but that tends to be the issue. The thing that’s hardest to deal with are the times where I can’t hear or see the specifics of what’s happening and only start to understand after the fact.

Why wasn’t I looped in until the last second? Why is my response the one that needs double-checked? Why is my own field being explained back to me?

When I first started out in college, I was studying neuroscience at a school that set a woman’s place in the home. College, for women, was a vehicle to get married, not an arena meant for serious education. I think back, and that was exactly where I started to shake the things I’d been taught. A woman’s place is only in a home if that’s what they choose. That was the first hurdle to overcome—the mindset I was more or less indoctrinated with since I was a kid. From there, simply put, it’s a constant fight to be taken seriously.

What would you like to see more of in the workplace? How can we support women?

Take the little steps to back up and affirm where women are seeing issues. Call out stuff that might be sexist instead of waiting for the women in the room to say something. Don’t discount the importance of it. If you’re not informed, make the effort to get informed. Don’t make it a woman’s job to educate you.

In terms of women supporting each other (my favorite thing ever): bolster each other. Lift up the efforts and achievements of women around you. Don’t let yourself be pit against other women, and don’t let marginalized women be demonized. Advocate for yourself and advocate for the woman next to you. Listen to women of color and use your voice to amplify theirs. Hear the struggles of queer women and trans women and don’t speak over them. Unify instead of divide, and identify forces that are trying to crumble your energy and power.

Caroline Brown Copywriter

You work with a lot of women—how has that helped you grow?

Women can get a bad rap for being catty or cliquey, but there’s nothing like the way that women support other women. I mean, have you ever been complimented by a drunk girl in a bar bathroom? Whether it’s a lunch date or a client meeting, I know the women of MBB have my back. Simply put, we’re on the same team. Watching the warm, smart, driven women of the office do their jobs makes me want to be the best at mine. They may not always have it all together, but they make sure that I know I can want to “have it all.”

What would you tell young women about entering the workforce?

It’s so cliché, but go with your gut. Do you vibe well with your manager? More importantly, do they seem to respect you? Young women are easily underestimated, and as women, we’re conditioned to want to keep the peace. There’s a line between “making it work” and being walked all over. Trust yourself to know where that is. More importantly, surround yourself with people who validate your emotions. It’s okay to want more, and it’s okay to ask for what you want.

Also, always try to negotiate your salary. The worst they can do is say no, and I guarantee if you don’t, you’ll wonder if the guy doing the same job as you is making more for it.

Jenny Fordyce
Associate Director of Paid Media

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

My goal as a manager is to be a resource and an advocate for those whom I manage. I strive to give them the room they need to grow professionally but at the same time try to make myself as available as they need to achieve their goals. I have had managers who I was not comfortable opening up to, either professionally or personally, so it’s extremely important to me to be as approachable as my team needs me to be.

Do you think you’re different than a man would be in the same position?

I hope not. I do oftentimes find myself putting more emotions into my role as a manager than I might intend to, but that’s not to say a man can’t or doesn’t do the same thing.

How have women helped you get where you are?

My mom was the breadwinner in our family and a very successful executive recruiter throughout her entire career. She ended up buying the company (from her male boss) when I was in middle school, which was a huge deal in her predominantly male-led industry. She has taught me so much about the importance of work ethic, establishing measurable goals and developing confidence as a woman in the workplace.

The best piece of advice she ever gave me was to always prioritize building relationships with the people you work with (colleagues, mentors, vendors, clients) because at the end of the day, “people want to work with people they like.”

Maureen Boesen Marketing Manager

Has being a working mom changed how you see your career?

When I started my career, my biggest priority was moving up the corporate ladder. My conversations with my manager revolved around what I could do to be seen as a leader, to get a promotion, to get a raise, etc. I took training courses like “Assertiveness for Women,” I went to networking events, and I joined women’s groups where we read books like “Lean In.” It was an incredibly valuable time in my career. What it taught me was that there are times when you lean into your career and there are times when you don’t, and that’s okay. You simply cannot “lean in” to work, motherhood, marriage, and all the other commitments that come with being an adult. If you did, you would ultimately fail at them all. When my little ones came along, I learned that in order to be a great mother and a great employee, I needed to find balance. I learned that when I am with my kids, I need to focus on being a mom. And when I am at work, I need to focus on being a marketing manager. Yes, those two will inevitably overlap (especially during cold and flu season). But not “leaning in” doesn’t mean I am any less of a marketing manager. It just means my aspirations aren’t to be a CEO right now. My goals have changed and will continue to change throughout my career. I am thankful to have found a company that supports that.

What “women’s issues” are important to you?

I am passionate about women being an advocate for their own health. It is easy to get intimidated when facing women’s health issues, especially when you are not familiar with the medical field. It is important to trust your doctors but it is also important to trust your intuition. Don’t be intimidated when a doctor tells you that your intuition is wrong. You know your body better than anyone. In addition, I want to encourage women to be vocal about the challenges they face. I believe that when women are open and honest about their personal struggles, they can help each other overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges.

Women make up more than half of our agency, and it’s important to us to celebrate them, today and every day. Want to work with some of these amazing ladies? Check out our careers page.

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