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Breaking the Bias: PR Needs More Female Leaders

Breaking the Bias: PR Needs More Female Leaders

Despite comprising roughly two-thirds of the global PR industry, women continue to be significantly underrepresented at the executive level. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we gathered key members of the N6A and Studios teams—from our CEO to our marketing intern—to discuss how to #BreaktheBias and inspire change.

What can the PR and marketing industries do to increase gender parity at the executive level? 

Daniela Mancinelli, CEO of N6A: I think that over the past decade, we have made some serious strides in starting to break the glass ceiling, but lasting change can only come if senior leaders in the industry make this their highest priority and show the way. 

We must commit to transparent and objective recruitment and performance evaluations, recognize the value of diverse leadership styles, and actively mentor, coach, and prepare women for leadership roles. We need to create an honest and open culture that can have mature conversations about gender and diversity bias, and we must be willing to lead by example in making parity and diversity in career advancement a key organizational goal. 

I sincerely believe that if all industry CEOs pledge to make this a priority, we can make a difference, one person at a time. In the words of one of my favorite authors, James Clear, “Success is not a goal to reach or a finish line to cross. It is a system to improve, an endless process to refine.”

Nina Velasquez, EVP of Talent Development at N6A: It’s important to continue celebrating more women today in leadership roles. But the fact remains that people who identify as female and gender-neutral continue to face an uphill battle in the workplace. 

The businesses that make the effort to take a good look at their employee diversity will realize there’s still a lot of work to do to embrace gender and BIPOC inclusion. 

We know increasing gender parity is the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint. Why is it also good for business?

Trisha Larocchia, Chief Client Officer at N6A: The most successful businesses take into consideration people’s different lived experiences. I think it’s important to take your whole self to work and that the best business decisions are made when you have different voices and opinions coming to the table with ideas. You don’t get that when you look around a room and everyone looks and sounds exactly like you.

Jacky Agudelo, SVP at N6A: According to USAID, “Achieving gender parity in the workplace could add as much as $12 trillion to the global economy.” When one of us wins, we all win.

Daniela: Gender parity is not only necessary, but also a must in the evolution of any industry and organization. Talent and leadership skills have nothing to do with gender and having the right people in the right roles will always lift productivity, drive innovation, and lead to social and economic advancement.  

Angelea Elenis, Intern at Studios: Female leaders serve as people that those younger than them emulate and become. The phrase “anything is possible” holds a lot more meaning when there are people just like you living your dream.

What about N6A/Studios’ culture has empowered so many women to reach leadership positions?

Trisha: Flexibility, empathy, and never ending trust and support. As a mother of two, any day can go off the rails pretty quickly. Knowing that I never have to feel guilty for not being able to be two places if I’m truly needed at home is a huge relief. Everyone is willing and able to jump in if needed and feeling that level of support on a daily basis makes it a great place to work and lead.

Angelea: Seeing so many women in leadership roles at N6A is inspiring. Representation is important. Watching all the female leaders flawlessly execute their responsibilities and win clients is more than impressive, it raises my confidence that I too can be successful as a young woman in the business world after graduation.

Nina: We’re proud of our DEI commitments but know that we’re just scraping the surface. We have a lot of work ahead and continue to push for true equality in everything that we do as a company.

What message do you have for the next generation of female leaders working to break into PR and marketing?

Jacky: Be your biggest cheerleader. Only you know the time and efforts you’ve given to strengthen your work product—which is essentially what makes you unique! Celebrate your wins and use challenging moments to rise above.  

Trisha: I’m big on finding your “people.” I’m lucky to have some amazingly strong people in my corner—some women I’ve known since childhood and others that I’ve connected with throughout my career. We wear many hats in each other’s lives: cheerleader, counselor, support system, comic relief, and so much more. It runs the gamut, but knowing you always have someone in your corner to support you makes your biggest wins sweeter and your inevitable lows that much more bearable. I would literally be nowhere without them!

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