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Empowering Change: Unpacking Key Insights from ‘Visibility for Change’ Panel Event

By Anne Johnston, Communications and Design Officer shEqual 

shEqual was proud to be a platinum partner of the launch of the second print edition of the Mavens magazine, held on the 21st of September. The theme “Visibility for Change” was explored through the lenses of a diverse group of industry leaders and speakers.  

Lauren Zappa, Manager of Gender Equality and Capacity Building at Women’s Health Victoria, gave a keynote address at the event, saying, ” shEqual and Women’s Health Victoria are so proud to be platinum partners with Mavens promoting ‘Visibility For Change’ in their 2nd Print Edition and at this event. We could not do this without the invaluable support we receive from the Victorian Government, Respect Victoria and our dedicated industry reference group. We know that by working in partnership with amazing initiatives like Mavens our impact is amplified, and we will more quickly reach our goal of gender equality in the Australian advertising industry and beyond.” 

Each panellist brought a unique perspective and shared valuable insights on how visibility and representation can drive transformative change in the world. Let’s delve deeper into each of these key points: 

The Power of Representation – Lauren Chibert

  • Lauren Chibert, Mavens DEI Director, skillfully moderated the event, emphasised the profound influence of content creators on society. She reminded content creators that their work is not just a collection of words or images but a powerful tool for shaping perspectives and driving tangible change. It’s a reminder that every piece of content, from advertisements to storytelling, carries real-world consequences. “The copy deck you’re submitting tomorrow isn’t just a copy deck, somebody’s going to use that… the work we produce has real power and real responsibility,” Lauren said. 

Inclusivity and Role Models – Ruhee Meghani

  • Ruhee Meghani, the founder and lead facilitator at Allied Collective, introduced a poignant perspective from her journey as a diversity and inclusion trainer and consultant, and as a yoga teacher. She highlighted the lack of role models who resembled her in senior leadership positions and called for true allyship in these influential roles. Ruhee stressed the importance of creating an environment where everyone feels psychologically safe, emphasising that inclusion is not just about diversity but also about making people from all backgrounds feel valued. As Ruhee said, “Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice.” 

Disability Inclusion Matters – Lisa Cox

  • Lisa Cox, a TEDx Speaker, author, and internationally awarded thought leader, shared her insights on the disability sector. She emphasiszed the need to broaden experiences and perspectives within this sector and advocated for the inclusion of individuals with lived experiences in discussions. Lisa urged the industry not to treat disability as just another product or brand but to recognize its nuanced nature. Her words highlighted the importance of acknowledging and valuing the diverse experiences within the disability community. Lisa also spoke about how 58% of the industry have a disability, yet only 10% disclose. She urged those with a disability in the industry, if comfortable, to disclose their disability in order to provide more role models for the industry. 

Diversity as the Norm – Shyaire Ganglani

  • Shyaire Ganglani, an Associate Creative Director, Copywriter, and Spoken Word Poet, brought a personal touch to the discussion. She shared her experiences and struggles with homogeneity in the industry, stressing the importance of diversity becoming the norm rather than a mere checkbox exercise. Shyaire called for an open door to diversity hires and for tailoring opportunities to individuals, ensuring they truly fit. She said this starts with quotas, saying “let’s keep the door open with the diversity hire and let that be the start.” But she also emphasised the importance of using quotas or diversity hires to lift people up and allow them into spaces they are usually excluded from. “Invite us into the organisation, teach us and give us a seat that fits.” 

Role modelling as a commitment and responsibility – Amber Bonney

  • Amber Bonney, Founder and CEO at The Edison Agency and Podcast Host, brought a compelling perspective to the ‘Visibility for Change’ panel event. With over 25 years of experience in her career, she emphasiszed the importance of being a committed role model. Amber highlighted that being a role model requires a commitment to being seen and being brave. This commitment often entails stepping out of one’s comfort zone and speaking up when inequity is observed. Amber’s message underscored the need for individuals in positions of influence to be committed to driving change, even when fatigue or discomfort sets in. It’s about ensuring visibility and actively championing the cause of equity and inclusion, not just when it’s convenient but as an ongoing commitment to making a positive impact. 

In summary, the ‘Visibility for Change’ panel event offered profound insights into the power of representation, the responsibility of content creators, the importance of inclusivity and role models, the significance of disability inclusion, and the vision of diversity as the norm. These perspectives collectively emphasisze the potential for transformative change in the industry and society at large, challenging us all to be more conscious of the impact of our actions and decisions. By embracing diversity, inclusivity, and responsibility, the industry can indeed be a driving force for positive change in the world. 

shEqual’s recent research on Representing Real People in Ads is featured in the print edition. You can read more about the work of the Mavens and buy the second print edition here: 

The shEqual team with Mavens founder Leah Morris at the launch of the second Mavens print magazine