4A’s Aims to Help Mothers in the Ad Industry Get Ahead With a New Initiative

Mothers@Agencies program launches in February

Long hours and intense deadlines can make it difficult for mothers to land leadership roles at agencies, and about 49 percent of women in the ad industry say that family responsibilities are the key barrier to career advancement, according to an IPG study. The 4A's is aiming to change that with a new virtual coaching program designed to help moms in the agency world stay on the leadership track.

The 16-week program, Mothers@Agencies, launching on Feb. 7, includes eight one-hour sessions led by executive coaches over a group conference call. Coaches will offer tips on finding a balance between motherhood and career responsibilities.

"The 4A's has a long-standing commitment to advancing the careers of women in the industry and ensuring that we're calling attention to areas of disparity in leadership roles, where women tend not to be equally represented," said Laura Honeycutt, svp of learning and development at the 4A's.

It's a cause that's been championed by 4A's president and CEO Nancy Hill, who has advocated for more gender equality and women in leadership roles at agencies.

"We know that women are vulnerable, because when they become mothers, they feel like they have to make choices between motherhood and their careers," Honeycutt added. "If we can give them tools to help them navigate this challenging phase of their careers, then there will be more opportunities for women to stay on leadership tracks and aspire to larger leadership roles in their agencies."

The Mothers@Agencies program was piloted in 2015 by 4A's member agency Geometry Global in Chicago. After garnering positive feedback from the program, the executive coaches partnered with the 4A's to deliver it to a broader audience.

"People who participated said it made them more effective at home and at work," Honeycutt said. "It helped them figure out ways that they could not sabotage themselves and overcome feelings of guilt and judgment."