My 2017 Wish for 3 Percenters
Kat Gordon is a Creative Director turned social change entrepreneur who has been named "Visionary of the Year" by Advertising Age and one of "30 Most Creative Women in Advertising" by Business Insider. 12 years ago, she launched The 3% Movement to spotlight the enormous underrepresentation of women in creative leadership. Through the movement's events, research and culture consulting, female creative directors now account for 29% of the industry. Kat lives in Napa Valley where she coaches creative leaders and hosts creative retreats. She has two young adult sons and a Black Lab named Trixie.
Happy New Year, 3 Percenters. You've been on my mind.
What do I wish for you in 2017? That feels harder to answer than in previous years. Many of you have expressed uncertainty and fear about the new year given the changing political adminstration. I get it. So first I want to tell you "what I'm gonna do about it" in the spirit of our 5th Annual Conference. And then I want to share what I hope you might do about it.
What I'm gonna do about it
I am greeting 2017 with a renewed commitment to diversity. I didn't think my commitment could deepen, but it has. Just the threat of progress being reversed is so offensive to me that I will fight with renewed vigor to safeguard the hard-earned gains we've made.
I'm halfway through a 9-week class I'm taking called "Calling In White Women," which is helping me develop tools and skills to be a more effective accomplice to people of color in our community.
And I am deepening my relationship as an advisor to The Representation Project. Jennifer Siebel Newsom and her team immediately mobilized after the election, bringing together all advisors on conference calls where we are figuring out next steps to safeguard the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, people of color and others.
What I hope you'll do about it
I thought about putting together a Top 10 kind of list. Of building a compilation of links to great resources. Even about doing a "Best of" from 2016 to keep you inspired.
But really the one thought that kept coming back to me, again and again, was this: I'm more aware of what I DON'T want you to do in 2017 than what I do want you to do.
Allow me to explain.
The single most valuable thing about you is you. Not you packaging yourself or diluting yourself to fit into some agency culture. Not you obsessing over whether you're too much of something or too little of something else. Just you, straight up.
One of my all-time favorite books is "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker. The author explains that every species on earth has a protective instinct, be it talons or venom or camouflage. And we humans? Well ours is intuition. That little sense that tells us when something is off. He argues that the modern world is so full of 24/7 noise about what we should fear that it drowns out that magical gift from nature that we actually know what we should fear.
I want you to hear that voice. Because it's not just the voice that tells you when to fear, but it's the voice that tells you who you are.
Your instinctive way of being -- of leading -- is pure gold. Protect it from noise in the world that you might be defective in some way. You're not.
As Margaret Keene so brilliantly and courageously said at our L.A. road show, the reason she thinks men's portfolios often seem stronger is that men have been given a full green light around their intuition. Work that stems from gut confidence is going to have an energy and truthfulness about it. And the world is starving to see that work from a female perspective.
So my wish for you as 2017 unfolds is to be like the little girl in this video. Completely in the moment, in her own skin, delighting in what delights her, oblivious to how the world may see or judge her. When I first saw this video, I couldn't stop watching it. And now I know why: it busts wide open a lie the world feeds us daily. Girlhood isn't less than.
Girlhood is great.
On its own.
As it is.