A panel discussion with some of the OOH industry’s top female leaders

March 16, 2021Samantha Brault

A panel discussion with some of the OOH industry’s top female leaders

In honour of International Women’s Day, we had the privilege of hosting an all-star female panel at our company all-hands. Since we loved what our industry leaders had to say, we thought we’d share our internal chat with the rest of the OOH world!

Before we get into the content, here are the women who shared their thoughts, challenges and triumphs with us:

Amanda Dorenberg – President of COMMB (panelist) 

Michele Erskine – CEO of Oufront Canada (panelist) 

Natalia Rojas – Director of account management at Broadsign (panelist)

Edith Gagné – VP of programmatic sales operations at Broadsign (moderator)

Let’s start with some context: The gender gap

To put things into perspective, we looked at the 2020 gender gap report by the World Economic Forum and thought this chart was of particular interest for the out-of-home industry: one where a large portion of the roles available fall into the categories listed as having the largest gender gaps.

So how can both women and OOH companies overcome this gender gap? Our panelists weigh in.

The OOH industry needs more female CEOs

Last year, OOH Today declared Times Up for the OOH industry, stating that in the US, there were no CEOs in the entire OOH industry.

As one of the only female OOH CEOs in Canada, Michelle explains that she attributes her success to having a boss without gender-lenses who was able to recognize her talent and give her the necessary exposure to gain the right skills and experience.

Encouraging women in tech to pursue emerging roles

As the OOH industry continues to evolve, more and more focus will be placed on a holistic approach to data. Women who are technically inclined are primed to success in data analytics.

Amanda, with her complimentary background in tech and marketing, says as we solve the current data privacy issues, the next phase will be focused on data research and related technology. 

And encouraging women to develop the skills needed for leadership roles

How to balance parenting and work (and stay sane), especially during the pandemic

There’s no doubt that the pandemic threw a curveball at many people’s careers, with parents suddenly taking on a second full-time role as a teacher and caretaker for their kids.

What really helped Natalia get through it all was building a solid support from her employer, friends, family and even customers.

At Outfront, Michelle actually saw a higher number of men on paternity leave this year than women on her team. She and Edith explain that a more balanced share of responsibilities is a positive for all.

Why are there more women leading industry associations than publisher companies?

Amanda suspects the reason more women tend to lead associations is because these leaders often require skills that are more common to marketing careers, a field that as we saw in the above chart, has a larger proportion of women.

Michelle also weighs in to explain that the definition of leadership is changing, with more traditionally ‘female qualities’ playing a greater importance in the roles’ success.This is especially true in leading OOH organizations, as collaboration between members is a core part of the job.

What are some ways we can improve the gender gap in OOH in the future?

Natalia believes that organizations have a responsibility to build a working environment that gives women the tools and opportunities needed to grow their careers.

Michele adds that this also extends to recruitment and HR policies to  make sure there are no preconceived blockers restricting the amount of women who are hired or promoted.

A huge thanks to our panelists and moderator!

The full conversation is available on our YouTube page to hear more about how these women succeeded in their careers.