IMAA strengthens goal to improve industry inclusion with Female Leaders of Tomorrow program

The Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA) has launched its Female Leaders of Tomorrow program, as part of its aim to foster long-term diversity and inclusivity across the industry.

The not-for-profit association’s program will run across Sydney and Melbourne with senior marketing leaders from high profile organisations, alongside executives from major media organisations, who will all provide expertise to help guide and support emerging female media leaders.

Members of the Sydney mentor team

The six-month program will feature a series of online and face-to-face sessions where mentees will have the chance to learn from the experience of their mentors, while gaining valuable industry insights, expanding their professional networks and enhancing their skills.

It will be facilitated by Wendy Gower, the trainer and coach behind WeGrow.

In Sydney, oOh!media’s CEO Cathy O’Connor will mentor, alongside Lauren Joyce – ARN’s chief strategy and connections officer, Nikki Rooke – Nine’s Sydney sales director and Mark Fairhurst – executive GM at QMS, among others.

While in Melbourne, mentees will learn from the likes of Andrea Salmon – national head of audio sales at SCA, Peter Whitehead – ARN’s chief commercial officer, Amanda Connors – global chief marketing officer at Total Beauty Network and Natalie Warren-Smith – Westpac’s head of strategic marketing.

The IMAA’s full list of mentors. [Click to enlarge]

oOh!media’s Cathy O’Connor said: “While the media sector slowly makes headway in diversity and inclusion, there remains much to do. Women in leadership roles drive business outcomes yet remain underrepresented across most organisations.

“I commend the IMAA on this important initiative and look forward to sharing my experiences and accelerating the professional development for these leaders of tomorrow,” she said.

Facilitator Wendy Gower said: “It’s so important to encourage and nurture our female leaders of tomorrow and to provide them with advice and support from leaders at the top of their game, so mentees feel encouraged and confident to grow their careers. It’s an exciting initiative from the IMAA and one I am proud to support.

“As facilitator I will help coach and guide the mentor and mentee sessions to ensure the programme is a success for everyone.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this significant and exciting initiative led by the IMAA. This programme holds immense value as it aims to empower and cultivate the female leaders of tomorrow, granting them a unique opportunity to connect with accomplished and respected leaders across the media and marketing community,” Gower continued.

“In my capacity as a facilitator, I have been intricately involved in shaping the programme to ensure its effectiveness and relevance and have prepared a number of resources and collateral, tailor-made for both mentors and mentees, to facilitate a seamless and enriching mentoring experience,” she said.

IMAA CEO, Sam Buchanan, said: “This is the most significant initiative for the IMAA since we founded our Diversity Council in 2022, with the aim of taking diversity and inclusion among our members from ‘niche to normal’ and to demonstrate the value of embracing a diverse and inclusive workplace. There is nothing like our programme of Female Leaders of Tomorrow in the industry and is a fantastic opportunity for emerging female leaders in our member agencies.

“I would also like to thank our amazing mentors, who will generously give their time and expertise to the lucky mentees for this programme.”

The program will officially launch with networking events at oOh!media’s offices in Sydney on 5 September, and Melbourne on 12 September. IMAA members interested can visit the IMAA website to apply.


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