I attended the Made in the Middle Conference this weekend — a day full of great Midwestern creative work from the talented Tad Carpenter and company — and found myself inspired by a number of the speakers and the work they showed. If you’re in any type of creative field, I highly recommend visiting Kansas City the next time they throw this conference.
But one of the speakers in particular said something that stuck with me. Jennifer Daniel is a designer and journalist who has worked for Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times, and Google. In her experience, she has never had a female boss.
When I look at my professional experience, I realize how fortunate I have been as a woman in the advertising/media/publishing world to have worked with strong, inspiring women.
My first job out of college was working for a female newspaper publisher. I’m not sure I realized how lucky I was at the time to be a 20-something in a small town who had an incredible woman to look up to. To this day, I remember how she handled conflict in our office in such a professional, no-nonsense way and I strive to emulate her in my own career.
My second job was short-lived, but I had two female bosses in my department. One was incredibly kind while the other was no-nonsense and smart as a whip. Together, they led a team of women who respected them immensely. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time working with them and had soaked up their knowledge when I had the chance.
My first agency job came next, though. And my boss was a women who was an inspiration to everyone she met. She had big ideas. Her clients trusted her. She took care of her staff. She was passionate, creative, intelligent, and I grew by leaps and bounds working with her.
Those were the early days in my career. And I know now I am lucky. There is not a day that goes by where I take this fact for granted. I hope a day will come where there are more women in creative leadership roles, that it’s simply the norm — and that some day, young women can take it for granted that they have a lady as a leader.
Are you a woman in a creative field? If so, have you had to combat the lack of female leadership in your life? How can we, as women, make sure our voices are heard? What can we empower a different type of leadership?