Celebrating International Women’s Day + forging a gender equal world

Employee Spotlight | Mar 6, 2020 Employee Spotlight 03/06/20

International Women's Day [March 8] provides an important opportunity to celebrate women's achievements while calling for greater gender equality. This year's theme is #EachforEqual, with the mission to create a gender equal world.

We sat down with a few of SMG’s fierce females to learn more about their professional journeys—mantras to live by, proudest accomplishments, and why Miss Piggy should be considered a feminist icon.

Kate Sizer—VP, Client Insights


What has been your proudest professional accomplishment at SMG?

Only today were we reflecting on the number of people we have been able to promote in the UK over the last two years. There is nothing I love more than watching others grow and fulfill their potential. I obviously can’t take the credit for the success of others, but providing these opportunities for our team is what motivates me to grow our business.

What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the workforce?

I met with an incredibly inspirational woman a few weeks back who dedicates her being to helping others. Her accomplishments are outstanding, and her ambition, drive, and commitment are second to none. I asked what her personal philosophy was, and she answered simply “If you can, you should.” I will treasure this advice always and would encourage others to embrace this mantra.

Who is your role model and why?

Kristin Hallenga, the founder of the breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!, is an incredible role model who is amazingly courageous and utterly selfless. Kristin was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in her early twenties and now lives with stage four breast cancer. Against all the odds, she has survived her original prognosis by having terminal cancer for over five years. Whilst fighting her own personal battle, Kristin has devoted herself to educating others about the dangers of late diagnoses of breast cancer. A truly wonderful human being who encourages me to think beyond ugly statistics and focus your entire being on positively giving back to others.  

Kalli Hannam—Research Manager


As a professional woman, what does #EachforEqual mean to you?

One of the reasons I love working at SMG is that women are well-represented throughout our leadership team. The #EachforEqual theme is a great reminder that this isn’t the norm and that there is still work to be done to achieve this in other organizations and industries.

What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the workforce?

Find a mentor! My mentors inside and outside of SMG have been critical in helping me achieve professional success.

What made you get into the research field?

With the help of a mentor, I got into a research lab in grad school and found a passion for using data collection and analysis to tell stories. Research is a great field to be both analytical and creative!

Aimee Chau—Account Manager, Client Insights


What has been your proudest professional accomplishment at SMG?

Seeing the data and insights my team provided being presented by one of our biggest client’s leadership team to their franchisees. I enjoy being a catalyst to driving change in our clients’ business and helping them make the kind of improvements that have true impact.

What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the workforce?

Lean into the uncomfortable—sometimes the growing pains feel like failure but it’s actually a necessary step to success.

Who is your role model and why?

I’ve had numerous positive role models over my lifetime, but my one constant is my mom. She overcame adversity while coming to America, learned new languages, sought positive educational experiences for me, and worked two jobs to make sure all four of her kids had money to go to university.

Stephanie Ayers—Chief Marketing Officer


As a professional woman, what does #EachforEqual mean to you?

I think there are baseline equalities like opportunity, pay, rank, treatment, non-bias, etc. that should be in place for all genders and races. For me personally, I think we should strive to make our cultures so equal that we no longer have the need to call out things like #EachforEqual. I don’t want to be referred to as a “female executive,” but instead just an “executive.” This does not mean I dismiss women’s equality efforts, just that I hold an ideal that we someday will not have a need for them. Day to day as leaders, we should ensure we are modeling equality of thought and intention, avoiding inherent bias in our practices—things like, “Women are more organized, so we should have them take notes in meetings.” On the flip side, we should also be evaluating policies like paternity leave to ensure we are honoring equality for all genders in a workforce. We should challenge every member of our team equally and avoid any statements or unspoken practices that create a culture of aligning responsibilities, opportunities, and perks against gender stereotypes.

What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the workforce?

Create your own path based on your desired areas of growth. Don’t be afraid to ask for assignments that are outside of your team’s core responsibilities, and don’t be afraid to work proactively with your manager to drive your own personal growth plan. I think there was a time when companies were in the driver’s seat of career planning, but that responsibility is increasingly shifting to the individual employee. Be sure you are taking time to reflect on what you are good at, what you enjoy most, and what you need to grow in—and actively seek out those internal opportunities. It is really easy to think that opportunities only exist externally and that growth happens by changing jobs and companies. That is not always the case, and you won’t know until you advocate for yourself and challenge your leadership to give you more. Also, growth is not always up and can be out. As you move further up in your career, that outward growth becomes even more critical to rounding yourself out.

Who is your role model and why?

Miss Piggy. I grew up watching The Muppets and Miss Piggy was always so bold and never put up with anyone’s crap. And she knew karate and wasn’t afraid to use it! Now that I’m an adult and watching The Muppets with my daughter, I have realized that Miss Piggy was also a businesswoman running her own company and there is more depth to her than I could understand as a child. Miss Piggy may very well be the original #Boss of my generation and both children and adults, regardless of gender, can learn a lot from her self-confidence and active demonstration of it.


Want to join our team? Go here for more on what it’s like to work at SMG and to view a list of current opportunities.

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