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20 min read

International Women’s Day 2021

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

To celebrate International Women’s Day in 2021, we asked our colleagues at Impression to share their thoughts on what the day means to them, what empowers them and what they would like to see from the industry to achieve better equality.

We join the world in recognising this day and appreciating the achievements which women accomplish every day. We hope you will join us in celebrating the females at Impression.

What made you want to work for a digital marketing agency specifically?

Laura Hampton, Head of Digital PR: The diversity of clients; having worked in house, I believed I would learn more from an agency environment where I’d be able to work across lots of different businesses and sectors. I enjoy the challenge of having something new to work on every day.

Chloe Fair

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist: The variety of work, being surrounded by and learning from loads of digital marketers and opportunities to work across a range of industries. 

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: My optimum performance zone is a fast-paced, energised environment like an agency. Working specifically in a digital marketing agency has allowed me to apply my craft to industries that I have grown to learn so much about too.

Milly Morris, Business Development Manager: Team culture. Working in a sector that was rapidly changing, growing and open to challenging the norms of corporate working.

Saffron Shergill, Digital PR Executive: I wanted to learn directly from the best experts in the industry and have the ability to work across a variety of sectors to build my experience.

Polly Astill, Marketing Manager: I knew that agency life would provide a fast-paced, exciting environment that would challenge me and give me excellent learning opportunities.

Rhianne Moriarty, SEO Executive: The chance to work on a variety of accounts in a fast-paced environment, where you finish the day feeling productive and uplifted by your colleagues.

Amy Stamper, Senior Paid Social Specialist: Being able to work on a variety of clients and projects, but still be part of a team.

Beck Lee, Digital Designer: Getting to work within a great team, who specialise in lots of different areas! Plus a broader range of clients means lots of varied and new projects to work on!

Libby Barnes, Senior Client Success Manager: Culture and opportunities.

Paige Lambert, PPC Specialist: The variety of clients you’re able to work with

Lauren Roitman

Ellie Wright, Digital PR Analyst: I’m excited by the world of digital marketing, and working for an agency will give me both new and varied challenges in a fun and diverse work environment.

Lauren Roitman, Senior SEO Strategist: The fast pace. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time, but getting to work with a wide variety of clients each with their own challenges and goals, keeps each day interesting.

Katie Walton, Paid Media Strategist: I’m a working mum and being at an agency gives me the flexibility to give time to both my family and my career.

Navneet Evans, Senior Client Success Manager: The challenge of working on multiple brands at any one time and supporting them on their journey of exploring the power of digital channels.

Name up to three role models who inspire you?

Beck Lee, Digital Designer: Vic Bell, Meagan Fisher Couldwell, Jaz Batisti

Paige Lambert, PPC Specialist: My mum (of course), my sisters and all the lovely ladies I get to work with every single day.

Laura Hampton

Laura Hampton, Head of Digital PR: Paddy Moogan, Louise Parker, Fearne Cotton

Navneet Evans, Senior Client Success Manager: Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey, Rosalind Franklin

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist: Jacinda Ardern, Elizabeth Day, Areej AbuAli

Milly Morris, Business Development Manager: Kirsty Hulse, Aleyda Solis, Jameela Jamil

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: I couldn’t pick three! My three older sisters, Jasmine, Leila and Marcela, and my mum inspire me everyday and have helped me become the woman that I am today. I’m privileged to also work with so many inspiring women at work who are included in this post. In the digital marketing industry, Lily Ray, Marie Haynes, Areej AbuAli and Kirsty Hulse.

Polly Astill, Marketing Manager: My mum & my aunty, Kirsty Hulse, all of the women I’m lucky enough to work alongside at Impression.

Libby Barnes, Senior Client Success Manager: Kelly Homes, Michelle Obama, and my mum.

Claire Henley

Claire Louisa Henley, PPC Executive: My sister – always has been.  My nan – may be a little odd… She’s been by herself for over 20 years, since my grandad passed away and she has still lived her best life. Nigella Lawson aka Nigey – yes she can be marmite, but I love marmite.

Katie Walton, Paid Media Strategist: Lauren Roitman, SEO Strategist at Impression and amazing friend, for consistently delivering incredible work, and being one of the warmest and most supportive people I know.

Lauren Roitman, Senior SEO Strategist: I’m fortunate to be surrounded by strong characters in my personal and professional life. The women that I find myself lucky enough to be featured alongside in this post are talented, intelligent, and ambitious – that’s so energising to be around on a daily basis. Seeing my friends do their thing; raise children, work, practise prioritising their wellbeing, achieve physical accomplishments. They are who inspire me. 

Rhianne Moriarty

Rhianne Moriarty, SEO Executive: Serena Williams, Münecat (quality, deep dive content into social issues on YouTube) , the band ‘HAIM’ (3 amazing sisters making music).

Ellie Wright, Digital PR Analyst: Jameela Jamil, Rupi Kaur and my sister (Hannah).

Saffron Shergill, Digital PR Executive: Surena Chande, Rejoice Yates and Areej AbuAli.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

Katie Walton, Paid Media Strategist: Honestly? The fact that I’m still here after 11 years, getting to work with incredible people every day even after having two kids is just one big highlight.

Navneet Evans

Navneet Evans, Senior Client Success Manager: Working on the Star Wars movie and merchandise releases when working at The Walt Disney Company. It was unchartered territory for the business and everything was top secret, even to us employees, which made planning and executing a little tricky but it was so exciting! The launch was phenomenal and at the time broke all kinds of records and it was great to experience a huge global enterprise like Disney mobilise together to land such a memorable campaign.

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: Pitching, winning and working on dream brands that I have always admired as a consumer and being able to provide my expertise to get them to outrank their competitors. I don’t think I’m allowed to say their names, haha!

Saffron Shergill, Digital PR Executive: Managing the International Women’s Day social media strategy for the internship I did in Amsterdam was the highlight for me. I had the opportunity to design the graphic on photoshop and plan the entire content plan which was such an empowering experience for me.

Libby Barnes

Libby Barnes, Senior Client Success Manager: Making a big leap to moving to Nottingham to tackle a new industry and being fundamental in the CS team’s growth.

Laura Hampton, Head of Digital PR: Developing the digital PR offering at Impression. This was previously a small part of a larger SEO offering but I saw the potential of the service to deliver even more for our clients, to help us grow our business and also, I wanted the people who work in digital PR to have the opportunity to realise the value of their work and be recognised for what they contribute now, and what they have the potential to contribute into the future.

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist: Specialising in International SEO and making a lot of progress in the offering at Impression over the past 12 months in particular. When I started my SEO career 7 years working as an intern for a travel company in Munich, Germany, I aspired to be like my old boss and own an international SEO strategy and market entry for a large brand and now I am doing that for many brands and building an offering.

Beck Lee, Digital Designer: Watching Impression go from a team of 2 to 55+

Paige Lambert

Paige Lambert, PPC Specialist: How much I’ve learnt and grown in my career over the last few years. Being recognised for the hard work you put in is always a highlight too.

Claire Louisa Henley, PPC Executive: The people I have met along the way and thankfully still being in touch with. The people you meet shape your career and can be friends for life. No better highlight.

Ellie Wright, Digital PR Analyst: Securing my role at Impression!

Rhianne Moriarty, SEO Executive: Achieving my dream job!

What makes you feel empowered?

Olivia-Mae Foong

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: Being the only woman of colour in a room or call used to bring feelings of imposter syndrome. Seeing the women of colour in our industry doing amazing things and being their true authentic selves has empowered me to not hide my authenticity and remember that my experience as a young woman of colour in our industry is incredibly valid and a powerful asset in marketing especially.

Paige Lambert, PPC Specialist: Seeing other women absolutely smash it in their careers

Libby Barnes, Senior Client Success Manager: Equality, being heard and making change.

Saffron Shergill, Digital PR Executive: Meeting other women of colour in the industry gives me a feeling which I can’t quite describe. Seeing others THRIVE in the industry shows me what is possible for me and makes me so excited for what is yet to come. It is a feeling of family, solidarity and hope.

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist: Seeing people make positive change towards equality in general and when I see or am a part of something that has led to a positive change, especially in providing a voice to women. I also feel empowered from empowering others too. One of my beliefs is that a smile and open ear is one of the most underrated things you can give to a woman. I adopt this mentality every day with everyone I work with at Impression, the team I line manage and to my clients. 

Ellie Wright, Digital PR Analyst: Breaking through taboo conversations and speaking openly about typically “uncomfortable” subjects.

Rhianne Moriarty, SEO Executive: Thinking of new ideas and knowing when to say ‘no’ .. backspacing an unnecessary ‘sorry’ out of an email.

Katie Walton

Katie Walton, Paid Media Strategist: Being listened to and my opinions respected. Having male friends sit and listen instead of getting defensive when I say how things look to me as a woman. Any time someone stops and takes note and says “OK, how can I do better?” I think the senior management at Impression are great for taking on board feedback and being open to change and being better.

Polly Astill, Marketing Manager: Knowing that I’ve added value to something or for someone and working around others who are positive and encouraging. 

Navneet Evans, Senior Client Success Manager: Support and acknowledgement of others when seeking to make a positive difference, however big or small.

Milly Morris

Milly Morris, Business Development Manager: Spending time with my amazing colleagues, getting feedback, building trusting relationships with my clients, saying no.

Lauren Roitman, SEO Strategist: When I can motivate or empower someone to do something they didn’t think they could do. That moment when the leap of faith has been taken whether it’s hitting send on a difficult email, making that lift at the gym, or stepping out and doing that thing that terrifies you a little bit, that’s the good stuff. That also goes hand in hand with seeing people lift others around them; celebrating wins of all sizes both personal and professional. 

Beck Lee, Digital Designer: Positive feedback! Working within a team of amazing people who always support one another!

What would you like to see in the industry in terms of better equality?

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist: More women in director and head of positions and for the women that are already in these positions to be seen and heard. 

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: Less performative activism and more action. It’s great to see people in the industry speaking out against the lack of equality of conference speaker line-ups etc, but it would be even better to see even more industry leaders doing the work to increase equality in conferences, speaker panels, “Best of” lists, thought-leadership articles, workspaces and senior management positions too. Areej does a great job at this, and it would be awesome for this to become a norm in our industry.

Saffron Shergill

Saffron Shergill, Digital PR Executive: Generally in the industry, people will have grand discussions around equality for a few weeks, pledge for change and then we will not see any physical action take place. It tends to be a ‘phase’ that happens every few months and it simply isn’t enough. We need to make it the norm in our industry for tangible actions to be set out by agencies, individual employees and directors and then for each action to be carried out. Thus far, we have seen some fantastic championing for equality and I am keen to make sure that this continues.

Rhianne Moriarty, SEO Executive: Everyone in the industry should be listened to, heard and taken seriously.

Laura Hampton, Head of Digital PR commenting: Recognition of progress alongside an understanding of how much further we still need to go. On the road to equality, I don’t believe we’re at the beginning; in particular, at Impression I believe we’ve come on leaps and bounds from where we were and as an industry, I see so many initiatives and celebrations of diversity that make me confident we have made some progress, and that progress should be celebrated. But we also have a long way to go and it’s the tangible initiatives – like the ones Saffron Shergil is leading, and also other initiatives from around our team and wider industry – that will make a difference. It’s great that we talk about equality but it’s only through taking action on those words that we’ll continue to progress.

Amy Stamper

Amy Stamper, Senior Paid Social Specialist: Better gender representation at board level, and more gender-neutral maternity/paternity support.

Paige Lambert, PPC Specialist: I would like to see more women in authoritative positions, it is a heavily male dominated sector and it would be amazing to see more women leading teams and agencies!

Lauren Roitman, Senior SEO Strategist: Equality to me is that your life isn’t made harder because of who you are, your gender, your colour, your religion, your sexuality, your choices, or your circumstances. I’d like to look at lineups for industry events, and not have the lack of diversity be the first thing that’s noticed. For this to happen proactive, intentional, action needs to happen across the industry. There’s no room to opt-out of this conversation. The choices being made affect the financial health and career advancement of so many individuals. Highlighting the accomplishments and achievements of those who are currently underrepresented, starting a conversation, allowing space for family and career… these acts better the industry for everyone. 

Navneet Evans, Senior Client Success Manager: More women in senior leadership positions, championing all things digital and encouraging more women to enter the field.

Beck Lee

Beck Lee, Digital Designer: Making sure everyone has the same opportunities to progress their careers regardless of their gender, race, or age! Plus equal pay!

Libby Barnes, Senior Client Success Manager: At the moment in marketing women are still poorly represented in senior roles and corporate boards and there is still a gender pay gap.  According to the Global gender gap report in 2020 it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality based on the current progression. Marketing week also reported that women in the marketing industry earn less than male marketers in every sector and every role except some junior roles. It is clear businesses within the marketing industry and many more have work to do to embed diversity into its core of their businesses. 

Katie Walton, Paid Media Strategist: More women in charge.

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: Less performative activism and more action. It’s great to see people in the industry speaking out against the lack of equality of conference speaker line-ups etc, but it would be even better to see even more industry leaders doing the work to increase equality in conferences, speaker panels, “Best of” lists, thought-leadership articles, workspaces and senior management positions too. Areej does a great job at this, and it would be awesome for this to become a norm in our industry.

Milly Morris, Business Development Manager: More diversity, it’s important to acknowledge intersectionality. Better representation of women in leadership roles/ on SMTs at agencies. 

Ellie Wright, Digital PR Analyst: More visibility of females in senior roles.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Olivia-Mae Foong, SEO Executive: A celebration of all individuals who identify as women, no matter their race, ethnicity and socioeconomic background.

Ellie Wright

Ellie Wright, Digital PR Analyst: It means celebrating womxn from all walks of life: our history, our struggles, our stories, our progress, our achievements, whilst also looking ahead and fighting for gender parity.

Milly Morris, Business Development Manager: A chance to celebrate my women colleagues – both at Impression and across the industry. A chance to bring to the foreground the issues that still need to be addressed. 

Beck Lee, Digital Designer: It’s a chance to highlight the achievements and contributions women have made to the industry and to society as a whole! 

Saffron Shergill, Digital PR Executive: An opportunity to shine a light on the women across the world. We celebrate those who have broken barriers, fought for gender equality and faced struggles. It is also an opportunity to challenge how far we still have to go.

Amy Stamper, Senior Paid Social Specialist: Reflect on improvements made for women’s rights – and a chance to focus on what we still need to tackle.

Rhianne Moriarty, SEO Executive: A day to celebrate all of the amazing things that women do and all that we have achieved

Navneet Evans, Senior Client Success Manager: It offers a moment to celebrate those who have broken stereotypes and changed perceptions of women across the world, recognising those who seek to create a gender equal world and have fun whilst doing it! This can be anyone stepping forward to champion women.

Katie Walton, Paid Media Strategist: It’s a chance to celebrate the amazing women in my life, and in the world, but honestly it’s also a chance to just tell people to be better. Women are out there doing incredible things and they deserve the chance to run the show, to tell their stories, to get equal pay.

Polly Astill

Polly Astill, Marketing Manager: It’s a celebration of the positive steps taken so far to promote the equality of women. It’s also an important reminder of the fact that there is still a long way to go. 

Libby Barnes, Senior Client Success Manager: For me, it’s a chance to amplify women’s voices. It’s a chance to acknowledge the achievements and hard and incredible work that’s been done so far and, most importantly, raise awareness around what still needs to be done. 

Paige Lambert, PPC Specialist: To me, it means coming together to celebrate amazing us wonderful women (a chance to shout about who empowers us, who we admire and who we love).

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist: To me IWD has two halves, a celebration of all women who are doing incredible things, smashing down barriers and empowering other women. But it is also a chance to share and read up on how there is still a long way to go to break these barriers completely, for women to be treated as equals and to conquer stereotypes. 

What does equality mean to us as an agency?

At Impression, we recognise the advancements which still need to be made in our community to improve equality within the digital marketing industry. We are committed to implementing changes within our workplace and encouraging other businesses to do the same. 

Where we have already implemented changes, we are keen to maintain transparency in this and share with other organisations how they can progress their commitments. We understand that diversity and inclusion is multifaceted and are committed to engaging in necessary conversations but also taking action to tackle the underpinning issues within our industry.

The steps we are taking to improve equality at Impression

Seeking support from experts

We have recently worked with a diversity and inclusion consultant, who has provided actionable recommendations to improve DEI at our agency. We are recruiting an experienced people role to support us on our continued growth.

Acknowledging the gender pay gap in our industry and agency

It’s important to acknowledge that a gender pay gap exists and when making future decisions we always consider how we can actively reduce this gap.

Equal pay for equal roles

We are proud to say that we regularly review pay across the agency to ensure equal pay for equivalent roles. Whilst we are confident we have equal pay for equal roles, we acknowledge that we have less female representation in senior roles and this is an area for improvement.

Transparent salary bandings and progression

We share salary bands and role descriptions across the agency, providing transparency in the requirements for promotion and to help with achieving equal pay.

Better recruitment

We are constantly evolving our recruitment process to improve fairness. Recent improvements include checking job ads for gender bias (ensuring these are at least neutral or have a female bias), using skill-based assessment tasks alongside interviews, having structured and consistent questions for all candidates, scoring against pre-specified standard criteria, advertising on more diverse jobs boards and platforms and trialing anonymous recruitment.

Flexible working

We’ve always had flexible working policies in place, but we understand the growing importance of offering flexible options including part-time and remote working and flexibility in terms of starting earlier or later and taking extended breaks throughout the day.

Tackling unconscious bias

We have undertaken unconscious bias training for several years at Impression, but we are keen to ensure that everyone at the agency receives the training annually.

Training for future leaders

We have identified future leaders within the business and supported continued professional development through the Women in Leadership course.

Sponsorship of events

We are proud to regularly sponsor events that support women in our sector including sponsoring Women in Tech’s SEO workshops, gifting tickets for the WTSFest Virtual and for Kirsty Hulse’s ROAR accelerator programme. 

Grass root investments

We have worked closely with girls’ schools in our local area, helping to educate on the opportunities within our sector and supporting with work experience and mock interviews. 

Improving our benefits

As we’ve continued to grow our agency, we’ve been fortunate to be in a position to improve our team’s employment benefits. When considering future benefit improvements, we will pay attention to those that support families and working parents.

We are on a journey and we have a long way to go. But we understand that by learning from, and sharing with our community, we will be able to strengthen our progress in achieving better equality at Impression. 

On this day, we want to share the achievements of our female colleagues and recognise that we, as an agency, are committed to cultivating meaningful action for our team and across the industry.