In our two-part special today, we interview our Creative Director Casey Evans.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s a day to recognize all the awesome women throughout history and up to the present who have affected positive change for Women in society. It’s an opportunity for Women’s rights, which basically equals equality, to have a global platform from which to shout about all the great things that have happened and shout even louder about the huge amount of change that is so urgently required. Shining an intelligent (and not simple shock tactics) spotlight on subjects that are deemed un-newsworthy such as FGM, slavery or child brides is paramount to their eradication.
As a woman in events what are your thoughts on it as an industry for women?
On many levels I think that communications is a great industry in that there are so many women working in it autonomously and with passion. At Crown I’m so proud of the gender balance we have at all levels and on a personal level I’ve had both male and female mentors throughout my career who have championed and empowered me every step of the way.
On a wider note though I would question how many gender stereotype roles are at play. How many women are at board level? Why do people think girls make better project coordinators over boys? I’d love to see these stereotypes quashed - males running logistics operations, more female creative directors or technical production managers. STEM initiatives such as school coding clubs aimed at young girls is a perfect example of initiatives working to readdress the balance. We need to create a neutral playing field from the off so that the next generation are not limited by their gender. The possibilities of that really excite me!
What are the best bits relating to your role and career to date?
I’ve touched on it before but it’s the sense of empowerment I’ve felt throughout my career. I’ve been able to shape a path that fits with my personality and passions. That of course doesn’t just come for free or mean that I do exactly as I please but some amazingly inspirational and supportive people have understood the nuances of my personality and helped that blossom rather than expecting me to conform.
On the flipside of that the element I find most rewarding is mentoring people myself. Seeing people grow in confidence or helping them resolve challenges as they navigate their career is what it’s all about.
And have you ever experienced any negative gender related issues in our industry?
I think gender stereotypes and unintentional manifestations of that are sadly ingrained in many walks of life. I’ve heard comments that make my skin crawl but without condoning them I don’t think they are necessarily conveyed with malice. It all comes down to role models and education. If we can affect change we need to be conscious at every step of the way. A recent bugbear of mine, and one that the brilliant Cindy Gallop is always highlighting, is the lack of gender neutrality on award teams and judging panels. The fact that so often just 20% (or less) of a judging panel will be made up of women in an industry so rich with female and male talent totally beggars belief!
What advice would you give your younger self as you started to navigate your career?
Oh gosh. I don’t know really. I probably stayed in my first role far too long and ended up being a bit exploited. I’m extremely loyal by nature but staying was to my detriment. But you know, je ne regrette rien - I had to go through that to learn about myself.
If I was offering advice to anyone starting out I’d say soak it all up and hunt even more out, nab yourself an inspirational mentor and keep having them throughout your career, don’t always accept the status quo, make sure you have lots of fun (both in and out of work) and always be honest. I was never comfortable with bullshit and it’s served me well!
What would your hopes be for Women and specifically around the theme of parity in the future?
Like most people in our industry I would hope that we do all want to see gender parity. You’d be a bit odd not too! Hopefully people can take conscious steps to address and manage the issues contributing to gender parity in order that we no longer have to be aware. I hope that makes sense! We can all affect change and whilst globally the issues run much deeper by sorting out our own back yard, and as I say being wholly conscious the positive effects will reverberate globally.
At a direct action level I’d like to see an industry transparency and pledge to equality in pay. Controversial I know as salaries are still very much a hidden fact but I think my being open on such a sensitive subject could have massively positive impact. Oh and I’d like those Awards bodies sort out their male / female judging balance – surely that can’t be too hard?!
Which women past or present, known or unknown, industry related or wider do you most admire?
There are obviously so many women to reference but with a more personal focus it has to be the women in my network who simply ‘make shit happen’! I’m in awe of some of the stuff my friends do, whilst juggling motherhood or demanding full time jobs. Emma Sexton, founder of MYWW, co-creator of A Herd to Run With and creator of Flock is an amazing lady I first met through the global creative network for women She Says. Subsequently she has become a great friend and career counsel. Her positive energy and the way she shapes her career without compromise or limitations to the possibilities is so inspiring. This International Women’s Day I’ll be celebrating with her at Badass Maverick profiling three 'badass' women changing their part of the world bit by bit.