Women in advertising chair a transformation and upliftment affair
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Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:35
Founder of Molo Sana Films and co-founder of Open Chair, Simone Bosman

Transformation within the creative industry starts with formulating the proper channels, beginning with the mentorship stage, and working towards creating valuable partnerships that will ultimately cultivate you within your leadership roles, allowing you to uplift others as well.

Simone Bosman has gone full circle, from her days of working as a PA for a Cape Town production house, to partnering with film and ad industry female powerhouses – Melina McDonald and Lorraine Smit – to establish Molo Sana Films.

“Through the years I have been fortunate to have direct mentorship and guidance under my then HOD’s who were Jeni Cole, Nicola Martin, Janet Sender, Cindy Gabriel, Debbie Dannheisser and now my business partners Melina McDonald and Lorraine Smit of Darling Films,” shares Bosman.

Recently Bosman decided to take on and initiate another project, when she, together with other influential industry women – TBWA Hunt Lascaris’ executive creative director Jenny Glover and FCB Africa’s creative director Suhana Gordhan – launched their first Open Chair event.

“The inspiration for the event was largely goaded by the fact that our SA advertising and marketing industry lacked a platform wherein women (young and senior) can come together to share their experiences and help each other. All three of us were fortunate enough to have worked with and been mentored by strong industry women in our careers. However there are large amounts of younger women who do not have that access as there are very few women on the top.”

Open Chair was established with the aim of occupying the empty chairs in the industry with more women leaders. Keynote speaker at the first Open Chair was head of Facebook Africa, Nunu Ntsingila-Njeke, who presented the attending ladies with startling and thought-provoking figures which state that only 3 per cent of females are leading the advertising industry despite the fact that 70 to 80 per cent of the purchasing power lies with women. That is not enough, said Ntshingila-Njeke; we need to ensure that women continue to grow.

“We were honoured to have our first event opened by the mother of advertising, Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke who shared valuable insights about the role of women in our industry and urged us as women to start advocating for more women to be groomed into senior positions,” comments Bosman.

While mentor, Fran Luckin was celebrated for making history as the first South African woman to serve as a Jury President at Cannes Lions. Co-founder of Open Chair and ‘Chair Aunty’ of the Loeries, Suhana Gordhan took the time to thank the other mentors for their attendance which included Dani Heyns, Mukondi Ralushayi, Nkagbiseng Motau, Lorraine Smit, Melina McDonald, Kirsten Leeuw, Jana Hamman, Vanessa Maselwa, Neo Segola, Thithi Nteta, Mariana O’Kelly, Masego Motsogi and Gugu Nkabinde.

Speaking on the inclusion of more female figures Bosman expands: “It was imperative to include more senior females from our industry so as to show the scale and magnitude of women doing great things already. The three of us are not the only industry leaders; there are many more women who have paved the way for us to be here today.”

It was also clear that there was a need for such an initiative as the call for young and eager individuals who were either interning or would like to grow into the industry was greatly received. “We received an overwhelming response from the younger women to attend and it was a clear indication that they are yearning for mentorship,” says Bosman.

“Younger women should not back down from their ideas and should never be intimidated by their seniors but rather see their views as a challenge to excel,” she also advised.

The event included a ‘speed dating’ session whereby leaders in the industry sat down as mentors with juniors and aspiring creatives for 9-minutes rotating in an attempt to offer these hopefuls the motivation and encouragement they need to one day reach the hot seat.

“The feedback has been overwhelming and heart-warming. We definitely will host more events in the near future so that we can keep the relationship growing,” says Bosman.

Bosman also shared that she and her co-founders at Open Chair would like to see to it that the initiative becomes an institution for all women across the continent to access and exchange information and opportunities, and that hopefully this drive will cross over to other industries.

“By simply allowing access for younger ladies to engage with senior women gave them the encouraging boost to not be afraid to work towards a bigger goal. That they too, have the power to be the next CEO. We just need to support each other all the way up,” Bosman concludes.

by Gezzy S. Sibisi

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