Succeeding in the Workplace as a Woman – Google Womenwill Lead Training (I Graduated!)

If you follow White Chalk Road on Twitter, then you may have seen that I (Casey) attended a Google Lead Training event in Auckland last week. I was one of 33 women accepted into the training out of 100+ applicants. I feel very lucky to have been accepted and for our CEO, Charles Ryder and our General Manager, Scott Collins, to have supported this opportunity.

The training is only offered to Google Premier Partners, White Chalk Road achieved this status in July 2016.

Google Lead training is part of the Womenwill initiative by Google aimed at touching on some of the key challenges women face in the workplace and how to overcome systematic and personal barriers in career success. 

The one-day leadership development workshop gave me the opportunity to better understand the issues of gender disparity in the workplace throughout Australia and New Zealand. Not only this, but I also had the opportunity to mingle with many inspirational women in the digital space and gain skills to help advance the White Chalk Road team with their careers.

So today on the blog, I wanted to share with you all some of my key takeaways from the workshop:

Diversity in the workplace

All organisations need diversity in the workplace, specifically having both men and women throughout all levels of the organisation as each gender and each individual helps to bring something different to the table.

At White Chalk Road we have a flat organisational structure which allows for increased team involvement in the decision making process of the business. It also means the diversity in the team allows for plenty of new ideas and opinions, which I believes makes us better at what we do.

Women in digital agencies

According to stats from Google, 53% of entry level employees in digital agencies are female, but only 19% of C-level executives are female.

I think many of us at the Lead training came from female dominated agencies, with a number of CEO’s being females. Which shows that we are headig in the right direction as an industry.

Progress is being made, but slowly

A lot of progress has been made over the years and mindsets are changing from the ‘traditionalist views’ with more men stepping back to raise children and women starting to earn more than their spouses and follow their careers with greater aspirations.

Sarah Liu from The Dream Collective, who was our trainer on the day, said that the world still has a long way to go, especially when it comes to addressing the pay gap between men and women.


Kassie Lane (Uprise Digital), Casey Bryan and Sarah Liu

With more and more people talking about gender equality issues and trainings like this one, hopefully we’ll continue to progress as a society.

Shining the light on the gender wage gap

Being based in Perth, Australia, it was interesting to hear that New Zealand is really addressing the wage gap with more emphasis put on greater transparency of compensation data and promoting work cultures that support work/life balance.

We as women, should also work on improving our negotiating skills when applying for jobs and when being promoted. Understanding salary bands and what you’re worth based on your experience and skills is a great place to start the discussion into what your remuneration package should look like.

‘Only 23% of women in media, advertising & creative think their pay is equal to their male peers. While only 12% of men in media, advertising & creative think their pay isn’t equal to their female peers’ – stats via Google.

The unconscious bias

I found this one very interesting and I think we can all admit to it! Basically, the unconscious bias refers to the ‘unaware and automatic assumption about a category of people based on their background’.

Whether it’s gender, age, height, weight, how you dress, etc. We all make assumptions, and half the time it’s before we even speak to a person and a lot of the time we also don’t even realise we are doing it.

Basically, what I got from this section is to take 5. Take a step back when you think this is happening and reassess. Don’t judge a book by its cover, I guess you could say. Try and move those biases out of your mind and cultivate a common ground.

In an agency context, biases can include; likability (i.e. a successful male is more likeable than a female in the same high-up position), performance evaluation, performance attribution and maternal biases which suggest women are less committed to their careers after motherhood.

Women, self-doubt & owning your success

Self-doubt unfortunately is a common feeling, for both men and women. I’m not shy to put my hand up and admit self-doubt is regularly following me around.

An interesting stat I learnt during the training was:

A woman applies for a job when she has 90% of requirements, but a man applies when has 60%. – stats via Google.

Women also negotiate less and represent a larger percentage of junior roles in digital agencies.

For me, when we talked about this topic, it really made me want to come back to the agency here in Perth and promote more encouragement to share our wins across the company and feel proud to stand up and say we did a good job, not only as a team, but as an individual too. Own your success!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” – Marianne Williamson

Advice from Caroline Rainsford – Country Director, Google NZ

I was lucky enough to sit with Caroline during our networking lunch on the day and hear about her career experiences from running breast cancer awareness seminars in Saudi Arabia to working for Google.

Caroline has an amazing background and was so down to earth and friendly. I must admit meeting her and hearing her speak, was a definite highlight of the day.

After lunch, Caroline spoke to us all and gave us 3 tips, that I know will stay in the back of my mind throughout the rest of my life. These were:

    1. Be Brave
    1. Be Passionate
    1. Be Everything You Want

It was a truly inspiring speech. Caroline then went onto the panel discussion with Martin Curtis (Head of Performance Agencies for Google AU/NZ), Alysha Delany (Managing Partner of NZ’s largest independent media agency) and Tara Cowan (Agency Lead of Google NZ). It was a great segment of the day to hear from such inspiring individuals.

In conclusion

As you can tell, the training really got me thinking and it will no doubt be one of those days I will look back on in my career. I hope through this recap of my day that it evokes thoughts of gender disparity in the workplace for you whether you’re male or female, and if you’re a woman, I hope this post inspires you to become everything you want to be.

A big thanks to everyone involved on the day, everything from the organisation of the training to the food and drinks were fantastic (check out that dessert on the table below!).

If you are looking for search marketing services and want to deal with a company which promotes diversity and gender equality, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with White Chalk Road today!

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