Diversity, Flexibility and Representation: Celebrating Female Leaders in Technology and Communications

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By Cossette, Citizen Relations, Middle Child, Plus Company

The world of work is experiencing a revolution, and Plus Company is ready to help lead the change. On June 21, Plus Company hosted an event celebrating women leaders in technology and communications to highlight the future of work and Plus Company’s plan of action for breaking cycles of inequity, especially for women in the workplace.

Key Takeaway

  1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is a key pillar in Plus Company’s corporate culture and will continue to play a significant role in propelling the business forward in a meaningful way,  which is vital in setting up the next generation of leaders for success.
  2. We’re looking to our leaders to be champions of workplace evolution. Plus Company leaders are focused on nurturing women in the workplace and ensuring representation from diverse backgrounds and experiences so that women don’t fit in, they stand out.
  3. The future of our workplace will be shaped by the actions our leaders take to enact change and help us evolve. Strong leadership is shown through characteristics such as generosity, vulnerability and compassion, while focusing on impact, and not intention, of the actions we take to build the future of our workplace.

The post-pandemic workplace has presented businesses around the world with an opportunity to enact bold change. At Plus Company, we’ve woven learnings from the pandemic into the fabric of our business, placing diversity, flexibility and representation at the forefront of our mission. 

To share these insights with our network, Plus Company brought together industry leaders and client teams for an event in Toronto celebrating women leaders in technology and communications. The event featured important conversations on the future of work and Plus Company’s plans for breaking cycles of inequity, especially for women in the workplace. 

Hosted by Brooke Leland, Managing Director of Jungle Media, the future-focused panel began with opening remarks from President of Plus Company Canada, Mélanie Dunn, and featured an intergenerational discussion, incorporating voices of long-term industry leaders Kristin Wozniak, SVP, Analytics, Insight & Strategy at Cossette Media, Dr. Shilpa Tiwari, Global Executive Vice President, Social Impact & Sustainability at Citizen Relations and Katie Muir, Senior Vice President and Interim Managing Director at Middle Child, and some of the brightest new talent in media, PR, creative and performance marketing - Courtney Strouthos, Strategy Director at Cossette Media, Carolyn Khoo, Senior Strategist at Cossette, Ria Iyengar, Account Director at Cossette and Sabrina Zavarise, Account Director at Camp Jefferson.

The Reality of Workplace Culture

With our value proposition rooted in a collaborative model, we are committed to creating a portfolio of companies that represent a new model for interagency teamwork, made up of  individuals who bring a diverse range of perspectives to our company.

For Ria Iyengar, a new immigrant to Canada, the reality of breaking into the job market was difficult, particularly in the tech space. “Either you are presented with the challenge of your qualifications not transferring over, or not being a ‘cultural fit’”, Iyengar said. “As a young professional, I want to see every shape, size and color in leadership roles. Then this idea of a culture fit doesn’t matter anymore.”

Plus Company strives to create a workplace that welcomes people from every culture and acknowledges the different realities that employees face, so that teams can collaborate, ideate and innovate together organically with support from their leadership teams.


Expectations of Current and Future Leaders

As the workforce evolves, so will the structure - and Plus Company is working towards a system that is built around the needs of its people. “I always flip my work charts upside down so I’m always at the bottom,” Kristin Wozniak explained. “The idea here is that I’m supposed to stretch my arms out and support my team. Even the visual representation of doing that changes the entire thinking around what my role is and how I engage my team because I’m not at the top trying to pull them up or push them down – I’m here trying to help them grow and learn.”

For Carolyn Khoo, generosity is a key characteristic of a good leader. “I feel that it builds a sense of momentum to curiosity, in terms of being generous with your time to really understand where people are coming from.”

Katie Muir touched on imposter syndrome that many people, especially women, tend to feel in the workplace. Leaders must move forward with courage and display vulnerability, showing their team members that they were once in the same position, while actively promoting the growth of women who are coming up in the ranks.

Characteristics like generosity and vulnerability are essential in leaders, but without action and change, companies often find themselves in a stagnant state. Dr. Shilpa Tiwari emphasized the importance of impact vs. intention, where the impact of our words and actions matter more than our initial intention, while moving towards compassion and away from empathy. Impact and compassion are focused on action, and this is what leaders at Plus Company are doing for their people - putting action first to lead the team into a modern and diverse workforce. 

The Next Generation

The last two years have shown us just how much has changed, and how our leaders need to be champions of the workplace evolution. Plus Company leaders are focused on nurturing women in the workplace and ensuring representation in the space so that women don’t just fit in, but more importantly, stand out.

As the organization continues to grow, diversity, equity and inclusion are  a key pillar in the Plus Company’s corporate culture and will continue to play a significant role in propelling the business forward in a meaningful way. Ensuring we as a company create space for a diversity of perspectives, whether that be background, race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation, will create a collaborative space where our agencies and employees are given the opportunity to generate ideas and innovate to their fullest potential.