Pictured left to right: Who’s Yr Momma Melbourne cofounders Steph Webster, Jane Hutton and Kara Jenkins
On Tuesday 26 February, as I entered the beautiful room of Slade Group with fantastic views of the city, an immense hive of creative buzz was radiating from within. Despite the ridiculous hot humid night, well over a hundred stunning and colourful ladies filled the room. One could have been mistaken in thinking it was a pre-launch for a stylish fashion brand somewhere in NYC. A wonderful way to launch Who’s Yr Momma Melbourne, a global SheSays mentoring program for women working in advertising, marketing and media.
SheSays first caught the eye of Kara Jenkins, creative director at Visual Jazz Isobar when she was attending Cannes Lions in 2011. After getting the approval to start the Melbourne outfit, she then enlisted the help of fellow co-workers, Jane Hutton, communications manager at Aegis Media, and Steph Webster account director, also at Visual Jazz Isobar. The three co-founders have since formed a larger committee and now have three events under their belt. And many more on the horizon.
So while the ladies mellowed with a liquid of choice and nibbled on delicious hors d’oeuves (very much appreciated after a hard day in the office), the excited chatter mounted. It is not everyday that so many inspiring and impressive, creative ladies get a chance to come together under one roof and in such a relaxed, warm and embracing environment.
The lovely Steph gathered all the ladies around to share a beautifully illustrated presentation that began with a delightful background of the three co-founders: Steph with her two beautiful cats, Jane’s new precious little baby Oliver and Kara blossoming with twins. She then delved into the objectives of the mentoring program, which is to surround yourself with like-minded people in a supportive and encouraging environment. The SheSays program provides the opportunity to be both a role model (mentor), and to be inspired and guided by another individual with more experience (mentee). Their aim is to match mentors with mentees based on profession and to open the lines of communication within these industries, to build positive relationships and empowered to challenge yourself.
The first extraordinary guest speaker of the night was Amanda McCabe–Phillips, general manager for merchandise, planning and marketing at Country Road. With a few cheerful antics she captivated the audience. Amanda spoke in great detail of her experiences within the fashion industry, the paths she embraced to be in the position she is in today, her highs, lows, and also of her wonderful mentor that supported and encouraged her along the way. Amanda has a wealth of knowledge within her chosen field and has worked in many of the large fashion retail chains at senior levels. It was fabulous to hear of her illuminating insights into the fashion industry and to take a moment to appreciate her journey.
Anita Ziemer, managing director of Slade Group, was the second fascinating guest speaker who had the whole room including the cameraman in an excited flurry as she moved to the centre of the room to speak. In a career spanning over many years, her roles working in the government, not-for-profit, corporate and SME sectors has given Anita a broad view of the Australian business landscape. Now running her own successful business, she shared with the ladies her insights into the digital media industry and the steps she took to hold senior roles within many large corporations. Anita warmly embraced the ladies and encouraged conversation about what could be achieved out of a mentoring program and the great advantages to be gained for both the mentor and mentee. It was a pleasure to hear Anita share her experience with the ladies.
After hearing from these two wonderful speakers the room became alive with an excited rumble of inspired ladies sharing and connecting with each other in a supportive and warm environment. The global SheSays mentoring program for women in marketing, advertising and media has hit the ground running in Melbourne and will be of amazing benefit to all who embrace it. It’s inspiring to see motivated women make it to the top in these generally male-dominated industries!
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