Painting the New Leadership Portrait

Profile picture for user Sasha Schmitz

Sasha Schmitz
Managing Director, Data & Digital Media EMEA

S4 Women Leaders

Women’s History Month revolves around commemorating and celebrating women’s vital role in shaping our history, culture and society. It’s also a time and extra push to reflect on how we are currently creating space for future generations of females to thrive. A crucial part of this is to make way for more women in leadership positions. Not only does research show that this helps increase profitability, as Workplace states that “companies in the top 25% for gender diversity on their executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability,” but also that it fosters a more inclusive workplace which attracts diverse talent.

While businesses around the world are making progress on appointing more women to leadership positions, it’s high time we ramp up the pace. So, I was delighted to participate in S4Capital’s Women Leadership Program, a six-month virtual course designed in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s School of Business and led by the acclaimed Dr. Homa Bahrami. Open to female leaders within Media.Monks to help them reach the next level of leadership, the program touches on a range of topics such as Inclusive Leadership, Strategic Thinking and Innovation. Through this experience, I’ve had the opportunity to pick the brains of esteemed business scholars and fellow female leaders in defining what modern leadership looks like. In my view, we live in an ever-evolving, hyperconnected world today where talent, clients and consumers alike no longer wish, but demand to see the diversity of the global population reflected in their leaders. So, which new colours should we add to repaint the leadership picture? 

Strengthening Female Leaders to Drive Gender Equity 

In line with our mission to change who does the work, realizing gender equity is a top priority. However, while only hiring more women is not going to cut it, appointing them to senior leadership positions can. In light of this, S4Capital’s Women Leadership Program focused on how we can change the company and spur innovation. “It was amazing to see the diversity in perspectives when women in different roles come together and discuss the challenges we all face in everyday life,” says Helena Curado, VP of Business Consulting in Latin America. Moreover, the program seeks to build bridges between women in different capabilities and strata of the organization to foster a tight-knit internal network. For many, this has left a very positive mark on both their professional and personal development. 

“Through the program, the insights garnered from our global force of female leaders allowed me to see things differently, impacting my goals in ways that were previously not obvious to me,” says Erika Lang, SVP Group Account Director in New York. “The energy harnessed through our collective gathering has powered me up.” As positive leadership sparks positive change, equipping female leaders with a supportive, inspiring network can go a long way in realizing gender equity - and determining who will succeed them in senior leadership positions.  

Leading The Way With Diversity and Inclusion 

The global pandemic has drastically changed business as usual, forcing companies to completely rethink their organization. The transition to working from home has shown that people can retain their levels of productivity, wherever they are. With geo-distributed teams becoming the new norm, leaders will be challenged by time zones, cultural differences, and difficulties with nurturing relationships through virtual communication. While this certainly presents new challenges around culture-building, quality control, and effective communication, it also creates opportunities for leaders to put more effort into building trust, encouraging collaboration and fostering a safe professional environment. 

Hybrid work offers possibilities to be more inclusive of teams that need less stimuli to focus, revealing the need for new leaders who are willing to accommodate the neurodiversity of their teams and foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. Moreover, strengthening DE&I has evolved into a top priority for companies, clients and consumers, as leaders recognize that establishing a diverse workforce is essential for your success, especially in terms of the talent and clients you attract.

Monk Thoughts Culture fuels results. An environment of inclusivity and enablement is how we must show up for our employees and this not only benefits individual growth, but company growth.
m
Erika Lang headshot
nk

Design That Delivers Scale

With our world always in flux, it’s important to keep pace. To be an effective leader in a changing world means continuously designing yourself out of your current position and handing over the reins to emerging leaders when a new challenge comes knocking. Especially in hyper-growth environments such as the digital media industry, scale is the buzzword that never goes out of style.

Monk Thoughts The digital era has made business much more complex and granular, so to make an impact, leaders have to listen and co-create much more to make sure they are involving all the different angles that are needed to reach success.
m
Helena Curado headshot
nk

As we scale, we need to nurture a culture that enables growth and employ a “coaching” leadership style in building our new generation of leaders. Studies show that women are skilled at strengthening team processes, collaboration and performance because of their ability to listen to different voices and guide by coaching, thereby capitalizing on the team’s combined skills and knowledge while uncovering where and what expertise is needed to scale the business. 

If Not a Victory, Then Always an Important Lesson

Sharing the Women Leadership Program experience with fellow female leaders has re-emphasized to me that it’s no sin to fail, so long as we celebrate our successes and always heed the lessons of failure. Our role as leaders is to provide feedback, training and mentorship to the next generation of leaders. It’s important that we let our teams experiment, and if they fail, try again. On top of that, our job is to encourage initiative, inspire learning moments, and stimulate a broader understanding of the problems, consequences and significance of failures. Above all, I trust our budding leaders will remember the lessons they learn throughout their journey.

Effective leadership is always going to be dynamic. There’s not just one style that works for every leader, team or even situation. In other words, leaders need to be adaptable. “Across sectors and industries, leadership can only be future-proofed by leaders' ability to evolve, adapt and embrace the unknown,” says Malin Hanås, Creative Director in London. “It's truly a necessity to never stand still,” Curado adds. 

At Media.Monks, we’ve developed a brand that is flexible and built with the intent to empower our people to make it their own. Though we as leaders all share the desire to fuel our team’s self-confidence, effectiveness and productivity, our daily fire drills are different. Still, there’s one thing we have in common: we’re not just here to change the work and what it can do, but especially who does the work. Let’s repaint the leadership portrait to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive picture—all together.

Related
Thinking

Make our digital heart beat faster

Get our newsletter with inspiration on the latest trends, projects and much more.

Media.Monks needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, please review our Privacy Policy.

Make our digital heart beat faster

Get our newsletter with inspiration on the latest trends, projects and much more.

Thank you for signing up!

Head over to your email for more.

Media.Monks needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, please review our Privacy Policy.