Tara McKenty: Why men are to thank for rising diversity levels in creative and technology

By Tara McKenty (left), creative director, Google APAC
David Waldon, Andy Blood, Damon Stapleton, John Merrifield, Matty Burton, Dave Bowman, David Park,  Ross Jauncey, David Slocum, Samual Payne, and Iain Nealie. To the untrained eye, this line up might look like a who’s who of creative leadership. But they’re so much more than that. They’re a group of unsung diversity champions. A group I like to refer to as ‘my man-tors’.
1. An experienced and trusted male adviser.
“He was her friend and mantor until his death”
It may be surprising to hear a woman call out a cast of men as pivotal characters in her career – especially in a piece about diversity. But the truth is, my career and its trajectory is essentially a product of the guidance and support I’ve received from these guys.
Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 12.39.01 pm.jpgOf course, this isn’t to say that women don’t play a part in mentoring
up-and-comers. It’s just to say that, I didn’t have access to any.
Because they’re so, well, Rare.
If we look at current gender
stats in Australia, only 13% of CEOs and 13.5% of ECDs in our industry
are female. So women coming through the ranks have very few other women
to mentor them and aspire to. Things get even trickier when you broaden
the issue beyond gender.
So that’s where the Mantors come in. In
my mind, the increase in diversity rates is as much the work of the
male champions of diversity, as it is of the female pioneers. Great men
mentoring great women, creating opportunities for minorities to progress
– despite a challenging environment – is our quickest win as an
And it’s a win-win. Because research shows that
diversity in perspective gets to more interesting and successful
solutions – a truth my troop of mantors have shown me in practice.
also proven, in building and running diverse departments themselves,
that diversity isn’t an ‘or’, it’s an ‘and’. It’s not about favouring
minorities over talented people who might fall into the majority. It’s
about having both. I personally don’t want to see more women instead of
men. I just want to see more women and minorities entering and staying
in our industry. And, in time as a result, see future generations of
advertisers learn from and aspire to a more diverse group of leaders.
this is my ask. If you’re a talented man in advertising and you are
reading this, please think about the minorities you have in your team or
agency, and do one thing to pass on your knowledge, skills. Or create
an opportunity for someone within your business who has the odds stacked
against them.
And if you’re a rare talent who’d like to bolster
your support base, but aren’t sure where to start, you should look at
applying for Rare – a new leadership masterclass for minorities which I
recently co-founded with the support of a bunch of legends. But get in
quick – applications close this Sunday 15 October.

information on the RARE program and applications for tickets to the
masterclass are available online now at 80 spots are
available, with those interested asked to submit an application about
what makes them RARE.  

All proceeds from the event will be put
towards grants and initiatives that further deliver on RARE’s objective
to boost diversity. If you are interested in supporting or sponsoring
the event or a scholarship please contact

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