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On International Womens Day....

This is the script Jenny Jones gave at a Bloom event in 2019

I think today it is more true than ever before..

We were asked to talk around the subject: There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women'

The first thing to say is that I found this a really hard topic to talk about.

Because a very large % of my career has been driven by other women.  Their support of me, ambition for me, care for me and sheer bloody mindedness for me when I didn’t have any of my own.

As far as I am concerned Hell is empty because all the women I know don’t just support - but jump up and down and make a spectacle of themselves on behalf of other women.

So instead I thought I would tell you the 3 things that women have done for me in the hope that they become things that go forth and infect far and wide: So that 2029 is full of brilliant women doing more of what they love.

Essentially this is a Love letter to some brilliant women who have made me.

Arm Around the Shoulder and a Kick up the Bum

I am a pain in the arse to manage.

Every appraisal I have ever, ever received says the same thing.

I am too emotional

I wear my heart on my sleeve

I am not political enough.

Apparently, I don’t just have resting bitch face – I have ‘what the hell are you talking about and why are you bothering me with your pithle face’

Or if you were to look at it another way...

‘oh my god I am so unbelievably excited and motivated and I will expend every ounce of my energy to make this thing happen and will whip everyone up into a frenzy so that they think their Christmas and birthdays have come at once because they are so excited to be part of it too’

Because it turns out often your biggest strength is also the other side of the coin to your biggest weakness.

So, it means I am a massive ball of conflict, so there is no singular way to manage me. I need a mixture of support and bossy instruction.

There are 2 super important women to me that have done this for me.

Sue Ide Smith & Lindsay Pattison.

Sue Ide Smith was one of my first bosses at Mindshare and was a bloody legend – whilst also being utterly terrifying.

I said I started my career in B2B and then moved into planning, what I didn’t say was that I didn’t so much as move into planning but rather I was forced out of buying by being an utter numpty at excel which resulted in me effectively loosing £1m for a short while.

I thought my career was over before it had even started, and was a snivelling ball of insecurity and self-doubt convinced I was about to be fired.

Sue instead offered out her arm around me and offered me a role in her team which was planning for Kellogg’s, and essentially taught me the Craft of media planning: Back in the day when we would construct our own TV and print plans.

But while Sue was kind, she was also bloody tough, I was allowed exactly 2 weeks of settling in before she threw me into running Kellogg’s Annual planning for the kid’s brands presenting to Kellogg’s board.

I was terrified, but she gave me absolutely no option of getting out of it and I could not let her down after she had been so kind to me.

Lindsay Pattison has had a similar influence on me.

She was CEO of Maxus when she convinced me to leave PHD to join her.

When she approached me about the role, I was full of excuses: I can’t be head of anything, I have 2 small babies, I’m just not sure I am ‘leadership’ material – I’m much happier being number 2.

I had just had a fairly bruising appraisal where I was told I wasn’t getting a promotion or a pay-rise as they didn’t think I had the capability to run a pitch on my own.

Lindsay didn’t put an arm around me, but she did ply me with enough Pinot Grigio to numb a small horse and let me moan to her.

In the course of the conversation she managed to turn all my negatives about the role into positives.  

When I woke up in the morning with a monster hangover I had a contract Fed Exed to me before 9am.

I still don’t know how she managed to pull all that together in such record speed but she literally gave me absolutely no choice but to follow through.

Lindsay taught me to step out in front of the work 

And she also taught me that no one else will care about my career as much as I will so I needed to take control of it and not leave it in the responsibility of someone who is less ambitious than me.

She also gave me the L’Oréal pitch to run within 3 weeks of joining – against my old agency PHD.

And it turns out I was able to run a pitch

Unconditional Love

My second experience is of falling in Love.

And I would encourage you to all fall in the Love with the women in your life.

The Love of my Work-life is Stephanie Marks 

She is happily married to her wonderful husband and has 2 beautiful kids, but she is still the utter Love of my work life.

We have worked together on and off for over 15 years, both at Maxus and PHD.

And we have done everything together.

Work, life, personal, professional.

And, If, you get to your 40s you will realise that no one has a perfect life.

Someone is always going through something:

Work failures and frustrations, mistakes and fuck-ups.

Relationships breaking down, breaking you, Divorce and anger.

Babies: Having them, loosing them, wanting them, not knowing what to do with them.

Family: Sickness, frustration and loss

Steph Marks and I have been through all of those and more.

But we have done it together.

She has always had my back and I have always had hers

My relationship with Steph is one of the most important relationships in my life. Not just in my career.

Don’t just make colleagues – Go and fall in Love

Believing in Chemistry and that the Universe delivers

Finally, I think it’s really important for you to believe in Chemistry and to trust the universe to deliver.

Sally Weavers invited me to join her on the adventure that is Craft just over 18 months ago.

We left big jobs, to do our own thing, but we had never worked together before.  

But we had chemistry.

We had met a number of times before being women in strategy, and had decided we liked each other so did the thing that boys struggle to understand which is we immediately became friends.

We are very different but our core values are utterly identical.

We wanted to build an agency that was the total opposite to what existed.

One where we were paid for thinking not buying

One built on collaboration not competition

One where creativity is imbedded not added on

Where flexibility is mandated not negotiated – no one works 9-5 5 days a week

That’s built to be fair

And is an agency that celebrates the Craft of our industry whether it happens by us or by others (we hate twitter haters)

And so far, it’s working, because we think the Universe will deliver.

We have experienced the generosity of this industry.

All our projects and clients have come from recommendation.  And it’s not a recommendation from your closest friends – it’s the power of loose connections.

The person we did a favour for a while ago, a client we worked with 10 years ago that now sits on an industry board and a media owner we have known since being a grad: It’s all these people who have met a client or business and told them they needed to speak to the Crafty ladies.

It’s the Universe delivering on you not being a Tit.

So that’s my Love Letter & the 3 Ingredients I think which are needed to support other women:

Arm round shoulder and a kick up the bum

Unconditional Love

Chemistry & believing in the Universe

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