Emily Poon, President of Ogilvy PR & Influence APAC

International Women’s Day is fast approaching. With the campaign theme “#BreakTheBias” this year, the International Women’s Day community believes that whether deliberate or unconscious, bias holds women back. The campaign also calls for action to level the playing field. According to McKinsey’s date, representation of women has increased across the pipeline since 2016. However, women, especially women of color, remain significantly under-represented. represented in leadership positions. For example, around 25% of C-suite positions were held by women in 2021; approximately 28% and 30% of senior vice presidents and presidents were women, respectively.

Additionally, employees with female managers were more likely to say their manager had helped and supported them in the past year. They said female executives were more likely to provide emotional support, check in on general well-being and ensure the workload was manageable.

In light of International Women’s Day, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out to leading female leaders in our industry, inviting them to speak on a number of topics, including their careers, challenges in their respective industry and their ideas about women in leadership positions. . In this article, we feature Emily Poon, President of Ogilvy PR & Influence, Asia-Pacific, who talks about her perspective on these issues.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Can you tell us a bit about your role?

Poon: I manage Ogilvy’s public relations activities in 10 markets in Asia. Since starting my journey at Ogilvy in May 2008, I have been pushed, challenged and loved almost every day. I also made some amazing friendships along the way.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: How did you get into the industry?

Poon: I came across the industry when a friend suggested I attend an interview at an agency. I was a business student and never thought I would work in the communications industry. In fact, I had to Google what PR was before my first interview many years ago. Looking back, it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my career.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: What are some of the barriers that women face in the industry?

Poon: I believe the leadership level lacks female role models, although the industry has more women working at all levels. So the question is, if women are overrepresented at all levels, why aren’t they reaching the top levels of the creative industry?

We are facing an “hourglass talent challenge phenomenon”, especially for women. Many practitioners leave the agency world or even industry at the mid-level. Many young women believe that jobs in the creative and communications industries require long hours and long nights, which can be difficult for those who have just started a new family. Moreover, we can preemptively limit our own potential for growth by doubting that we can juggle increasing professional and personal responsibilities. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and my boss at the time asked me if I wanted to take on the role of office manager, my first response was, “But I’m pregnant!” “.

However, she replied, “So what?”

After that, I decided to take up the post. I did it simply because someone believed in me, even when I doubted myself. In my experience, it’s so important to have female and male role models and mentors, who are not just cheerleaders leading the way, but also giving voice and showing you how it can be made.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: Have you faced any personal biases or industry misconceptions?

Poon: Many years ago I wanted to be involved in more crisis communications tasks for the company. But a senior member told me I wouldn’t be a good candidate for that, I wasn’t a senior or a man. The client was looking for a candidate with such traits in these assignments. Although I should have spoken for myself at the time, I still didn’t get it.

Instead, I worked harder to prove that perception wrong, because I believed the most qualified person would do the job, regardless of age, background, or gender. If I had to do it over again, I might have been brave enough to claim what we needed and wanted for ourselves, instead of waiting for someone to change it for us.

As the saying goes, “If you don’t try, you don’t get.”

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: What area do you want to tackle as a woman in a leadership position?

Poon: I am passionate about equal access to opportunity and at Ogilvy we strive for fairness and inclusiveness – in hiring, representation, wages, benefits and opportunities – and seek to fill gaps. shortcomings which may arise from time to time. Some industry leaders and I also recently established the Singapore chapter for Global Women in PR. The association is expanding its footprint in Asia to create a platform for more dialogue, mentoring opportunities and activities to champion the growth of women in the industry through their career development stages and life stages. life.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: What are your hopes for the advertising community in general in 2022?

Poon: We live in an increasingly divided world today and I believe that storytelling and communication have the power to bridge that divide. I hope for more work from our community that unites, inspires and brings joy to people. And more women leaders to access the highest positions!

Comments are closed.