By: Dan Malmed, Chief Revenue Officer
I recently had the honor to moderate a Women in Marketing Leadership session at a Brand Innovators event. It was humbling to share the stage with Erin Levzow, Chief Marketing Officer, Museum of Ice Cream; Julia Low, Head of Integrated Marketing & Creative Excellence, Tropicana Brands Group; and Lisa Mathison, Head of Brand Activation, Hostess Brands.
These three women face all of the challenges of being a woman leader head-on. Yes, they’re sometimes stifled and disregarded. They’ve had to fight to have the same seat at the table as men while balancing the other roles they play in their lives as mothers, daughters, etc. Yet, women also bring to the table a distinct set of advantages that benefit both them and their organizations - and they’re not afraid to wield them.
Equality is top of mind; this is their opportunity to shine and pave the way for future women in leadership. They use their emotional intelligence, especially their empathetic natures, to lead with more effective communication and create more supportive and productive cultures. Each one of these women proved to me they’re forces to be reckoned with, and they’re making changes every step of the way.
Erin Levzow, Museum of Ice Cream
Erin talked about how the Museum of Ice Cream saw an opportunity to help a Black female-owned ice cream maker make significant progress with her company. Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream started when Ida Nelson was trying to come up with activities for her children at the start of the pandemic. She decided to test more unique flavors to drive her artisan business forward. The Museum of Ice Cream featured her ice cream at an event, which led to some well-deserved recognition for Ida (and some empty freezer shelves when consumers rushed to try her distinct flavors). Not only is the Museum of Ice Cream spreading joy with ice cream–they are building a community that promotes diversity.
Julia Low, Tropicana Brands Group
Julia has been advocating for women throughout her career. One of the more impressive accomplishments she shared during our session was really about courage. She built a case for extending Tropicana Brand Group’s maternity leave policy based on an analysis she did across the Chicago market and the CPG industry, specifically. Because of this analysis and especially because Julia had the courage to have the hard conversations at her company, she was able to add two weeks of maternity leave for the organization. YES. applause necessary.
Lisa Mathison, Hostess Brands
While Lisa is building relationships with women at work, and making sure they have a strong female network to turn to, she’s also focusing on broader initiatives. Working with the ANA, Lisa is involved with the #SeeHer initiative, whose mission is to “increase the representation and accurate portrayal of all women and girls in marketing, media, and entertainment to reflect culture and transform society.” Lisa believes in this mission and how important it is that we’re representing the roles of women and girls in the most empowering ways.
GEN Z - THE EMPOWERED GENERATION
As our conversation continued, we talked about Gen Z and what everyone is learning from the latest generation to enter the workforce. According to Erin, Julia, and Lisa, Gen Z is an empowered generation that not only wants equality–but expects it. Gen Zers already say they have a seat at the table. They don’t know anything else because of the work that’s been done to clear the path for women. One piece of advice offered to Gen Z: RAISE YOUR VOICE AND ADDRESS ISSUES AS YOU SEE THEM.
CONTINUOUS PROGRESS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As we closed our session, I asked them what changes they’d like to see in the next five to 10 years:
Erin wants to see a world where this is no longer a conversation. She should be leading panels about what makes a great leader, not a top female leader.
Julia would like to see the U.S. change policies when it comes to parental leave. The U.S. is one of the few countries that doesn’t currently require employers to have a paid family leave policy.
Lisa wants to see more women in leadership positions. Not because they’re women and we need diversity, but because they have the talent, and it shouldn’t be about what it looks like but the value that every individual brings to the table.
I look forward to seeing all of this progress and more. A diverse set of employees and leaders makes for a stronger culture, builds a more positive environment, and ultimately leads to more success for every organization.
Thank you again, Erin, Julia and Lisa, for sharing your stories and making a difference.
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