How Parental Leave Shapes Your Leadership and Your Workplace

Heat ecd Elaine Cox says it's vital agencies make parenthood feel encouraged

Heat ecd Elaine Cox joins Adweek's weekly podcast to discuss parental leave. Headshot courtesy Elaine Cox
Headshot of David Griner

Today, Elaine Cox is a successful executive creative director heading into her six month of maternity leave with her first baby. But for much of her career, motherhood seemed like a path that was tacitly discouraged in an industry dominated by men.

“It was never not a concern in my entire career,” Cox told Adweek on this week’s episode of Adweek’s podcast, Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad. “It definitely clouded my ability to tell if I even wanted kids because I was so in love with being a creative and doing a job that I loved.”

Cox is now a creative leader at Deloitte Digital-owned agency Heat, where she said women in leadership are commonplace, making her feel more secure in her decision to have a baby. And as a manager herself, she felt it important to take her full maternity leave to set a good example for rising women at the agency, showing that such policies are embraced from the top.

As agencies become more receptive to work-life balance benefits like parental leave, with months of Zoom calls helping provide a window into the realities of working parents, Cox joined Adweek reporter Minda Smiley—author of Adweek’s comprehensive article on why agencies are at a tipping point in favor of parental leave—and creative and innovation editor David Griner for a candid podcast conversation about the importance of policies, practices and workplace atmospheres that support parents.

You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, check it out on Spotify, or stream the full episode below.

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."