I often write about the power of social media to create and build relationships. But nothing can replace the type of bonding that takes place when we come together in real life around a common goal.
Desmond Tutu said it best “We are because we belong”.
At the 3% Conference in San Francisco, sitting in a room with 200 other women (and a few male) Creatives and Creative Directors talking about how we can be the change we want to see, I felt the power of Tutu’s words.
I’m not comparing the plight of women CDs in advertising to the plight of the South African people as they struggled against apartheid. But it’s worth noting that most movements start small and this feeling of belonging helps them grow over time.
It’s clear from the onslaught of emails, blog posts, articles, and tweets that those of us who attended this first-ever event for women CDs left the building feeling like we belonged and are now superglued to the Creative Mothership.
Kat Gordon, the founder of 3%, will release the full results of the post-conference survey and multiple videos documenting the day’s events soon so we can all review what we learned and who inspired us; where the day succeeded and what can be improved. In the meantime, Kat shared with me what is perhaps the most telling survey comment – a comment that was echoed again and again:
“The best conference I’ve ever been to.”
It seems we touched a nerve. Was it the subject matter? The speakers? The feeling of being part of something bigger? Maybe it was all three.
Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld said it best in her call to arms keynote about the high cost of living in a 3% world. Every head in the place nodded as she argued that “The new creativity is not about stereotypes. It’s about what’s real”.
What’s real is that women do 80% of the buying but ad agencies still market to us as if we were men. It’s obvious why this still happens: it’s comfortable for men to hire and work with men. But as Gallop reminded us “Greatness comes from discomfort. That’s why men should champion women.”
But it’s not just about better creative or better role models. Championing women is also good business. When agencies don’t deliver marketing that speaks to the largest consumer group on the planet, advertisers miss out on sales and waste their ad dollars.
For these reasons and more, we came together on September 27th to address the reality of the world we live in, to share our experiences, our knowledge, and to commit to take collective action.
All hail Kat Gordon, who conceived The 3% Conference and promises next year’s event will offer even more of everything. 2 days instead of 1. A bigger venue. More speakers. More “How To”. More men. And more of what we all felt on September 27th: that we are all women; we are all Creative; and we all belong.
To get an idea of how 200 women started the day as acquaintances and forged relationships that will last a lifetime, watch a video of Cindy Gallop’s keynote speech in its entirety.