Women in the creative industry are historically underrepresented and under-celebrated. But they’re not just a number in your inclusion statistics. They deserve to be seen and their stories deserve to be told. At Grizzly, we are committed to celebrating women; not just for the month but on a daily basis. Transforming our industry starts with all of us, and it requires being intentional about making space for everyone’s voices. To that end, we’d like to highlight a diversity of perspectives from the women on our team—providing a platform for their passions, motivations, and accomplishments.
Laying the foundation
As we grow and find ourselves in life, we acknowledge the people and places that helped us get to that point. These influences help form our sense of purpose and continue to be a guiding force behind who we are and what we do.
From pop culture to personal circles, there are certain women in all of our lives who keep us inspired.
For our Studio Assistant Antwanera Braxton, her greatest influences have been influential Black women in culture: Issa Rae, Michelle Obama, Amanda Gorman, and Marsai Martin. These women are just a few of the pillars in the community who are spreading positivity and creative energy throughout the world.
Although many of our influences tend to be people, one of our Senior Designers Dani Paz Cuevas Ojeda finds that her strongest influences in life lie in the places she’s been. “Cities and countries that [she has] lived in and the people around them” have been an important part of her growth.
Celebrating the win
Recognizing accomplishments is also an important part of Grizzly’s culture. Sharing our successes both in and out of the workplace is essential to building camaraderie and a sense of community.
Antwanera helped start her own organization focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within the realm of academia. It was “founded on the belief that no student or faculty member should be discriminated against based on the intersectionality of their lives.” Her commitment to being an advocate for activism lives on in her post-college career.
Passions outside our walls
When it comes to passions outside of work, our Grizzly team is never short of ideas. Tina, one of our Senior Producers, is an avid snowboarder. Taking to the slopes is a great way to free the mind and refocus on what is coming up. There is always something to learn from getting outside and unplugging.
Amanda Molinaro, a Grizzly Producer, is passionate about animal conservation. She spends her free time volunteering at the San Diego Zoo, learning about how others can contribute to conservation efforts. There is a level of commitment and expertise she has learned from this passion that she brings to Grizzly every day.
For Mackenzie Hodge, another member of our Production team, live music is her passion. She goes to any concert she can find tickets for. In our industry, songs have a tremendous impact on creativity. Having a deep passion for music, especially live music, opens her mind to different artistic outlets and in many ways informs her role in managing teams of creatives.
The personal why
Personal whys are the crux of life. Getting to the core of why we do what we do can be both liberating and exhausting. Each person has a personal why that drives them.
Helena, Grizzly’s Studio Manager shares, “For me, finding my personal why has been a struggle for most of my life. My inherent ambition to succeed and work ethic have led me down many paths, for better or for worse. Women are often mocked for their ambition yet accused of complacency. However, I feel that women have never been complacent, just constrained by the societal standards of what women should do. My personal why is fighting against these preconceived notions and proving to the world, and most importantly to myself, that I can choose my own path.”
Finding that internal drive that influences your decisions is such an important aspect of life. As a woman, our passions tend to be overshadowed by the need to prove ourselves. By actively trying to implement that personal why into everyday life, we immediately set ourselves up for success.
Breaking the glass ceiling
In our industry, elevating women to leadership roles is not only imperative for success—it’s needed for the survival of your business. Women bring new, much-needed perspectives to leadership, from middle management to the C-suite. Still, there are more chief executives named Michael and James than women who lead S&P 500 companies.
Since 2019, women have left the advertising industry at an alarming rate. A study from She Runs It in collaboration with consulting company Diversity Best Practices found that there has been “a troubling decline in the number of women in executive positions in the advertising, media and technology industries.” This is concerning, as these numbers tend to stay level to promote women in leadership roles so “even a small move in the wrong direction is alarming” (AdAge). What is contributing to this? According to the study linked above, it’s a lack of information. Lynn Branigan, President and CEO of She Runs It, said that “There’s a real desire to affect change, but there isn’t a lot of knowledge about how to do that.” As an industry, we need to provide a place for women to grow into those leadership roles by helping to shape their careers and showing them what they can do instead of keeping the blinders on.
At Grizzly, one-third of the Executive Team is female. Kelsey Carter, our Chief Operating Officer, is committed to fostering female growth within our organization and elevating women to be their best. Many of us have gotten many words of wisdom from her about breaking through the struggle that is being a woman in the business world. Through her role as a leader in our industry, Kelsey is committed to helping all women.
When we have more women and people of color in leadership roles, we have the ability and power to advocate for all employees—ensuring that there are seats at the right tables and voices in the right rooms. The goal is to bring others with us to the top and keep them there. It’s proven that women lead more peaceful countries and more successful companies.
When I show up to work each day, I bring my whole self, and I invite our team to do the same. There is no need to check your gender at the door. If you sign your emails with hearts or use too many exclamation points, own it! There is no need to adapt to the patriarchal standards of how women should conduct ourselves at work. All aspects of each individual are key contributions to the Grizzly team. Diversity of experience, of thought, of background, only make Grizzly stronger.
– Kelsey Carter, COO of Grizzly
Yes, this is an ongoing struggle, but it is a struggle that we must face to evolve. As you look to challenge the status quo of our industry, ask yourself: how can your company contribute to the growth and success of women on your team? How can you continue to elevate their voices and provide a platform? These are the hard questions we need to ask if we truly want to make progress as an industry.