Rosie Holden, Havas Play UK: "Be seen and be heard in your organization to keep the agenda moving forward."

Consistent allyship and support are keys to enacting positive change

кем India Fizer , AdForum

Havas Play UK
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London, United Kingdom
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Rosie Holden
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Havas Play UK

In recent years, ad land has made massive strides in diversifying the workplace and placing women in more positions of power. Though our work is never done, it’s important to reflect on the progress we’ve made to keep moving forward. We had the opportunity to sit down with Havas Play UK's CEO, Rosie Holden, weighs in on the ways we can continue to make positive change to the industry.


In what ways can women in advertising pave the way for or support younger women hoping to break into advertising?

As women in leadership positions in the industry, we need to consistently communicate loudly that numerous barriers exist and remain for younger women to get into our industry. Every woman’s experience of these will be different, and as leaders we have a collective responsibility to keep talking and raising awareness about all and any of these to ensure we enlist allyship and support to affect positive change. Be seen and be heard in your organization to keep the agenda moving forward. We have a brilliant ‘Women of Havas’ ERG which I am proud to be part of and champion at senior levels at all times. I am lucky to have a Leadership Team of women.


How can we close the gap created by ageism, especially among women, in the industry?

Age-ism is not something I have experienced (yet). We have a high percentage of women in the highest positions at Havas, so I feel I will be able to continue to develop and grow, even retire my career at Havas (one day maybe!) as there are those positions to work towards. All organizations should be mandated to have a % of women in those roles.


How does your experience as a woman in marketing inform your work?

This is a very difficult question to answer without falling back on cliches around qualities that female leaders are meant to have that men don’t. Of course I think I am kind, empathetic, respectful and understanding, however I do see this in all my peers at Havas, regardless of gender!


Gen Z is a generation of digital pioneers and has shifted the framework of many industries. How have this new generation of young women impacted the advertising industry and where do you anticipate they will improve the workplace going forward?

I have a huge admiration for the Gen Z women in my teams. They have brought such positive changes in terms of behaviors in the workplace, what’s acceptable to say or do and what isn’t, to put their hands up and call these out. The energy required by that generation is reflected in the output I see across all teams, from Creative through to Client Services. They balance babies with a career driven mentality and often alongside a side hustle in some cultural passion or another – and have an incredible sense of allyship with other women which is a joy to see. They wouldn’t recognize the workplace I started at in 1996 – and that’s a very good thing. We should be thankful to this much more empowered and confident generation of women. I hope I can continue to support them loudly and proudly!