#IWD2016: How I Feel About Being a Female CEO

This Tuesday was International Women’s Day. A day championed by the U.N. to celebrate the social, economic and cultural contributions that women make to the world. The statistics are frightening. Last year, the World Economic Forum predicted last year that the gender gap would not reach parity until 2133.

To celebrate the day in London, Omnicom sponsored the Omniwomen Leadership Summit to provide young women in our agencies the opportunity to hear from and learn from the most senior women in the Omnicom network across the UK. The goal of the programme was simple: to provide women with the support and inspiration that they need to become the leaders of the future by tackling some the big issues around parity, around resilience and about the importance of being yourself as you assume more responsibilities and higher leadership positions.

Three years ago when I became CEO of Ketchum London,  I received several questions from journalists and others about how I felt about “being a female and a CEO.” At first, I was a little startled by the question, thinking to myself: “Has any man in the history of business ever been asked that question?”  No, probably not.

I’m not quite so startled anymore.  Women in board level jobs in any industry are more the exception than the rule. That is a fact, and one that I hope we will continue to change as more and more young women make the decision to assume leadership positions in whatever industry they choose.

Gender parity is not a women’s issue. It is a business issue (click to tweet), and for real change to take root it will require men and women to do whatever they can to ensure that the playing field is even. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was #PledgeForParity.

We can all do our part make the pledge!

117 years is, quite simply, just too long to wait for women to have the same opportunities as men.

Denise is a partner and Director of Client Development in North America. With 30 years of agency experience providing senior strategic counsel in a number of specialty communications areas including: crisis and issues management, corporate social responsibility, consumer health education, environmental awareness and brand building programs.