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Home / Female Leaders at Movement Strategy Talks About Women in Advertising

Female Leaders at Movement Strategy Talks About Women in Advertising


In celebration of Women's History Month, Adstasher has partnered with Movement Strategy, an independent, social-led creative agency with many of its key departments (Creative, Business Strategy, Production, Communications, and People & Culture) led by women! Meet some of the great, creative leaders below and find out their thoughts on how women can thrive and succeed in the dynamic and complicated world of advertising.

Christy Pregont, Partner and Executive Creative Director: With only 3% of Creative Directors in the industry identifying as women, Partner and Executive Creative Director Christy Pregont has served as Movement Strategy’s lead creative voice since joining in January of 2010. Hailed as one of Business Insider’s Most Creative Women in Advertising, Christy is also a key asset for business growth as she has helped expand Movement Strategy’s client roster across offices, which includes Netflix, Under Armour, Warner Bros., and more.

Kate Black, Partner and VP of Business Strategy: Following her role as Head of Client Services at Carrot, Kate Black joined Movement Strategy as a Partner and VP of Business Strategy with a vision to boost the agency’s bottom line. As the founding member of the Business Strategy department two years ago, Kate has since successfully built out a full team across three offices, all while winning new clients including Mars Wrigley, Just Energy, and Hudson Pacific Properties. With the help of her leadership and business acumen, the agency grew 30% in billings in 2018.

Juliette Richey, Head of Production: Director and Documentary Film Producer Juliette Richey brought her vision to create a top tier Production department at Movement Strategy. With over 10 years of commercial production knowledge, Juliette has worked with some of the largest brands in the industry including Target, General Motors, Diageo, Clinique and Under Armour.



Q&A with the Female Leaders at Movement Strategy


Your agency has an impressive number of women in leadership positions. Is there anything specific you've done to help foster and create opportunities for women to succeed in your company?

Jason Mitchell: This was a conscious choice. Being an agency started by two men, Eric and I knew that the agency would benefit greatly by ensuring there are women in leadership positions. As we continue to grow, we are now asking our People + Culture team (our name for HR) to evaluate how we are doing across diversity, inclusion, and equality. We’re ensuring that pay is the same across genders, and that we are continuing to actively build a more diverse workplace not just in terms of gender, but across a number of categories we feel are important to make us a strong agency and place to work.


What do you think are some of the big challenges that women in advertising today face?

Christy Pregont: While the industry has certainly made great strides from the boys’ club that it once was, like so many industries there remains a lack of diverse leadership--including women. In a lot of ways, it also remains an industry that celebrates certain personality types and certain ways of working. Without women in leadership positions in all sorts of roles within an agency it may be a difficult barrier for advancement to see how you, as a woman, can fill that seat at the table.

I’ve certainly experienced being in meetings with all men and feeling like I needed to speak up louder and ensure I had a very strong presence there. If you are in a more junior role, and have that same experience of sitting around a table and not seeing any other women there, I think that can really impact your short-term and long-term view of your place within the industry.

Whether it is at your own agency or within your larger industry network it’s so important to be able to talk to others that are experiencing the same things that you are--and in the same way that you are. For me, that’s been so crucial to continuing to navigate my role within the industry. I hope that the more women leaders at our agency, and within our industry, the more barriers we will be able to break down.

Kate Black: While I acknowledge that the industry has significantly evolved from the Mad Men era, in my opinion it's still far from where it should be when it comes to equality and diversity - especially in leadership positions. The biggest frustration I've faced is not being taken as seriously as my male counterparts, or feeling that my thoughts were being tolerated vs. listened to. It's forced me to learn how to speak louder and do that extra due diligence in finding new ways to present my thinking in a way that makes everyone sit up and listen.

I've found it helpful to talk to, and learn from, other people who have gone through similar experiences in this industry. Surrounding myself with a network of strong women has helped me tremendously in my career, especially when it comes to navigating gender-biased situations. I think Madeleine Albright said it best, “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It's important that we lead by example in this respect, and women supporting women is a great step in continuing to break down the barriers we still face today and teach others that success comes in every size, shape, color and gender.

Juliette Richey: Women in production are challenged to expand their knowledge set to include the constant shift and spread of technology. It won’t be enough to call upon years of photo and video skill to make a commercial or film for clients. Experienced, professional women in production are also the first to be affected by economic downturn in the industry. As we push the conversation about diversity on production sets for women and people of color, although it signals virtue, it perpetuates the pay gap disparity since, simultaneously, budgets continue to shrink. Creating opportunities for women should and will always be important, but as the pay for their role decreases, the industry should be held accountable and reevaluate these pay structures. As women are given more responsibility, the challenge is making sure that they are paid accordingly.


What advice would you have for women looking to enter the creative and/or advertising industry?

Christy Pregont: Advocate for yourself. Whether that is for the role you want, the work you want to be on, your salary or who you are working with--find the ways to advocate for yourself and keep doing it.

When it comes to the creative work, especially if you have a student book, get as much variety in there as you can. Stretch yourself and show that your range of ideas, and your voice or visual style, include different types of clients and different audiences. You can be passionate about certain verticals, but by showing range you’ll set yourself up as a well-rounded candidate and not be pigeon-holed into one type of work or just working on the brands or campaigns targeting women.

Don’t rule out the industry if you have a bad experience or aren’t set up in a place to succeed. Be open and honest about that, and find a place that is going to let you grow and have a voice, not just a seat, at the table.

Kate Black: Have a respectfully bold point of view. When you're first starting out in this industry, speaking up and vocalizing your opinion may be scary. But what's even scarier is not having one at all. Add value with your thinking every chance you get - don't just talk to hear yourself speak, rather say something that leaves zero doubt where you stand on a certain subject and moves the conversation forward, or spark new thinking with an educated and well-informed thought. Empower yourself to have a voice.


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Meet Duncan Channon – A Small Award-Winning Agency That’s Growing with the Times


Duncan Channon is an independent, integrated advertising and design agency with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Founded in 1990 by Robert Duncan and Parker Channon, the agency has continued to thrive in the fast-changing world of advertising and has done award-winning work for clients such as StubHub, the Golden State Warriors and Kona Brewing Co. The agency recently acquired award-winning experiential, influencer and digital agency A2G, which brings a dynamic, new roster of creative talent to the agency. Learn more about what makes Duncan Channon unique in this fascinating Q&A with their co-founder and CMO, Parker Channon.


What is the name of your creative agency?
Duncan Channon

Tell us a little bit about Duncan Channon. How did your agency get started? What inspired the founders to start your creative agency?
Duncan Channon was built from humble beginnings, which is why it still feels crazy to think about how far we’ve come. We’ve been an Ad Age Small Agency of the Year a few times over now and have a roster of clients that are household names like SweeTARTS, the Golden State Warriors and Kona Beer. Robert Duncan and I were escaped Foote, Cone & Belding creatives who hung up our own shingle in 1990 – literally working out of a garage. We were inspired to do great things creatively – and to have fun with the people we were working with in the process. We wanted creativity, trust and camaraderie to coexist at Duncan Channon in a way he hadn’t seen at the big agencies we’d come from. Almost 30 years later, we’re still fiercely independent and proud of the close, collaborative relationships we have with our clients and colleagues.

Is there any significance or meaning to your agency’s name?
When we started, every new agency was named after a color, an animal or a number. So, we thought we’d zig when everyone zags. That meant just using our names.

How would you describe the working culture of your agency?
Our agency’s rallying cry for close, friendly and fun collaboration is summed up in our philosophy of “guanxi,” a Chinese business term we discovered over late-night whiskey drinking on a trip to Shanghai. Guanxi says that there is no successful business without a successful relationship first. You have to take the time to get to know, understand and, heaven forfend, even like the people you work with (and for) before you can even hope to make great stuff. We’ve found that deep, trusting relationships and mutual understanding, among clients and staff, lead to more insightful and effective work. And, these internal habits of listening, caring and collaborating are just as important to clients who want to build relationships with today’s highly skeptical and social-media-active consumers. Guanxi is particularly relevant at a time when people want to be seen and understood by brands, not marketed to.

How big is your team now?
We’re now over 80 strong. It’s an exciting time for us. We recently acquired the award-winning agency A2G, who are real pioneers in experiential, influencer and social marketing. A2G created the first pop-up shop for GAP before the term even existed, and found influencers for Nintendo before modern social media was born. As part of this move, we welcomed a new partner and Chief Experience Officer Amy Cotteleer as well as new teams specializing in experiential, influencer and social activations for brands.

How would you describe the working dynamic of your team?

We’re now over 80 strong. It’s an exciting time for us. We recently acquired the award-winning agency A2G, who are real pioneers in experiential, influencer and social marketing. A2G created the first pop-up shop for GAP before the term even existed, and found influencers for Nintendo before modern social media was born. As part of this move, we welcomed a new partner and Chief Experience Officer Amy Cotteleer as well as new teams specializing in experiential, influencer and social activations for brands.
Our working dynamic is all about collaboration and trust. Now, we’re excited to have forward-thinkers like Amy and her team at A2G to help us dream up more big ideas that break into culture and reach consumers online and IRL.

What’s a typical day like at your agency?
We think people love our agency because there’s no typical day. Some of us may be flying to Hawaii for a shoot for Kona Beer, while others are heading to Sacramento to brainstorm new ideas to end the teen vaping epidemic with our clients at the California Department of Public Health. Those of us at the office are working hard, but also working smart. We’re making things, writing things, and talking to clients from varied industries like food, beauty, e-commerce, sports and health. Yet, we make time to eat lunch together in the open, communal café we recently built to create more space to spend time with each other. On Fridays (and some other afternoons), we finish the day with drinks upstairs in The Tip, our agency’s rooftop speakeasy and temple of ‘guanxi.’

How do you keep your team inspired?
We’re a flat organization and believe a great idea can come from anyone, regardless of title or specialty. Rising creatives tell us they have real ownership over ideas and client relationships at Duncan Channon in a way that’s rare at other agencies where ego and hierarchy can constrain creative opportunities.
To be our best creatively, we also believe people need time to live lives and pursue their interests outside of the office – whether it be playing in a band like Kat Michie, our associate creative director, or organizing comedy nights like Davis Wolfe, an account supervisor.

Do you have any advice you’d like give to those looking to start a career in your industry?
Learn by doing. Get in there and go. It doesn’t matter where you went to school if you can start making things right away. The ramp from copywriter or designer to creative director can be short if the work and hustle is there.


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