Q&A: Two Leading Adwomen Discuss IPG’s Upcoming Cannes Breakfast With #MeToo’s Tarana Burke

Kim Getty and Heide Gardner talk diversity and inclusion

IPG will lead discussions on D&I and MeToo at its eighth-annual Cannes breakfast.
Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: Getty Images

IPG is continuing conversations around diversity and inclusion, leading the way for those on the MeToo movement to be sparked at the 2018 Lions festival by inviting a lineup of powerhouse female leaders to drive hard discussions on these topics at its eighth-annual Cannes breakfast.

This year’s program, “Women at Work,” will celebrate “sheroes” who have led the industry to change. Notable speakers will include Tarana Burke, civil rights activist and founder of the #MeToo movement; Gloria Steinem, writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer; and The New York Times general editor Jessica Bennett, who will present research on the use of diverse imagery in media during a conversation called “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See.”

IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth will host the breakfast with an introduction by Gail Heimann, president of the holding company’s public relations arm, Weber Shandwick. Heimann worked with Mattel to launch its line of “Shero” Barbies which featured Fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American female athlete to win an Olympic medal. Muhammad will also be on the panel.

During the “Women at Work” portion, IPG will unveil a public service advertisement created by MullenLowe for the Unstereotype Alliance, a global effort aimed at diminishing stereotypes in advertising. Roth is vice chair of this movement, which was first formed in Cannes last year.

Adweek chatted on the phone with Heide Gardner, IPG’s svp and chief diversity and inclusion officer, and Deutsch L.A. president Kim Getty, who will serve as emcee for the breakfast, about #MeToo and how they plan to discuss diversity and inclusion with a global audience.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Adweek: How are you looking to bring topics around diversity, inclusion and the #MeToo movement to a global audience?
Heide Gardner: This event is a continuation of the themes we’ve been surfacing for several years now. So last year, we started to talk about intersectionality, and this year, with Gloria Steinem and Tarana Burke, we are continuing the conversation, even about #MeToo and Time’s Up Advertising from an intersectional standpoint. This event isn’t just focused on those two movements; it’s also a platform for us to at least reinforce awareness around the Unstereotype Alliance. So I think we’ll do a good job in connecting the dots globally.

Kim Getty: The #MeToo movement is a global movement. Women in over 85 countries are using that hashtag, so we do anticipate global connections to the idea.

"[T]here is no monolithic women’s experience; there is no monolithic men’s experience. … [W]e can’t just see things through a U.S./U.K. white-male-centric point of view."
-Heide Gardner

But surely every country has their differences when it comes to stereotypes and these types of issues. Are there any challenges you face in approaching them on a global scale?
Gardner: The challenge that we have is putting on that lens and maintaining an awareness that there is no monolithic women’s experience; there is no monolithic men’s experience. This is a continuing theme. We use our breakfast and forums as platforms to keep reminding the industry that we can’t just see things through a U.S./U.K. white-male-centric point of view.

Is it frustrating that you do have to keep having these discussions around diversity?
Gardner: I’ve been focusing on this for 22 years, so as you can imagine [laughs], there are times when you wonder why we’re constantly having this conversation and repeating this message. Then I think about what it is that we do as marketers. We’re constantly having to repeat messages.

Having said that, the industry, I believe, is at a pivotal moment where we have more momentum. We have women leaders who have stepped up and said, “Move over, everybody else.” We’re going to drive the train not just to address sexual harassment, not just for the benefit of women—we’re talking about changing agency culture so that everyone can thrive. That’s new. And in this case, Gloria Steinem has a wealth of insight, experience and understanding of how you make a movement work. So our whole intent there is, yes, you repeat the conversation, but you take it to a higher level based on informed reflection.

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