Eleanor asked me to write this post and to be very honest it sent my ick-factor into over dive, but then that is probably why I needed to do this programme.
For those that don’t know – if you aren’t female and work in PR that’s probably quite a lot of you – the Women in PR Mentoring Programme was set up in 2014 as a joint initiative with our industry magazine, PRWeek, to identify, nurture and inspire the next generation of female leaders.
I managed to fight off a lot of competition and I’m now one of 30 women from a vast array of backgrounds being mentored by PR industry heavyweights from the biggest brands and agencies. I’m over the moon to be starting this year of growth with my mentor, Annabel Lloyd.
You might ask why there is a need for this when our industry is well known to be female-heavy. However, that’s only the case (according to the PRCA) for new entrants. It’s much less likely that that super smart, ambitious, female PR exec will rise to a leadership position.
I don’t think it takes a genius to guess why this might be. Taking on the primary caring role for children doesn’t always gel with the realities of most agency positions lack of flexible working, destructive presenteeism and the “always-on” work culture.
The pandemic, of course, put even greater strain on those of us doing the juggling, but it also changed mindsets around remote and flexible working. The Mantis model that has allowed everyone (not just women or parents) in the business to work in a way that works for them, really does work for other people. We are present in our personal lives (and at the school gates), and happier at work.
As talent lead at Mantis, I acknowledge we might have just lost one of our USPs as an employer, but I really hope that this new flexibility in PR, alongside mentoring opportunities like those from Women in PR, will shake up the make-up of leadership in PR.