100 Women of Influence join forces to empower the next generation of leaders

100 Women of Influence join forces to empower the next generation of leaders

The Aunties, a support system that inspires, protects and champions women* of all ages and backgrounds across creative industries, has announced a senior mentorship program involving 100 incredible industry powerhouses.


Following the enormous success of its launch program for grads and junior women across the Melbourne industry, The Aunties, has announced the launch of its second phase.

The Aunties Senior Mentor Program is designed for women around 5-10 years’ industry experience, who are looking for wisdom, guidance and support as they navigate their way towards leadership.

Coming from a range of disciplines, phase two will have 100 incredible industry executives as Aunties to inspire, support and protect the next wave of emerging leaders. Aunties, including Emma Robbins, ECD, M&C Saatchi, Margie Reid, CEO, Thinkerbell, Nomfundo Msomi Head of Strategy, WhiteGrey, Sonia Von Bibra, Executive Producer, Clemenger BBDO and Elly Hewitt, Co-Founder & MD at Alt/Shift will help deliver a special experience for mid-level career women to learn from a diverse range of backgrounds to shape their leadership styles and support them through situations at work.

Beginning Thursday 11th of August, the six-month program will kick off with a fabulous launch event at the State Library of Victoria. In partnership with The Producers & Peach, mentors (Aunties) and mentees will be treated to a networking event tailored to meaningful conversations through “Speed Auntie-ing”.

Speed Auntie-ing will have mentees pre-matched with four Aunties based on the interests and experience indicated in their application forms. From there if Aunties feel they have a connection on the night, they can request who they’d like to mentor – otherwise, the program will play matchmaker and pair up organically. Other matches will be confirmed by a steering committee that will determine individual matches and preferences.

The Senior program comes off the back of the successful launch of the junior mentorship program in early 2021. Phase one saw 88 young women paired with 88 mentors across: creative, production (agency and post), strategy, client management, PR and social. The feedback from the program was overwhelmingly positive and the Aunties from phase one will form the majority of mentees for phase two. All 88 Aunties of phase one, as well as the steering committee, have been shortlisted in the Mentor of the Year and Champion of Change categories in B&T’s Women in Media Awards (announced August 19).

Says Sarah McGregor, Aunties co-founder and executive creative director, Dentsu Creative: “This era in our careers, when many are on the cusp of stepping into leadership positions, is of vital importance. This is where we typically see the numbers of women start to dwindle and so mentorship at this stage could make a real difference to retaining excellent female talent.”

Says Huei Yin Wong, Aunties co-founder and senior creative at Clemenger BBDO: “Since starting The Aunties in our bedrooms last year we have been dreaming of hosting an event that connects and empowers women. To have 200 senior and executive women in a room historically reserved for men—is going to be electrifying. We’re very thankful to The Producers and Peach for supporting us and making this wonderful event happen.”

The O.G Auntie, Esther Clerehan says: “It has long been known that our industry has a problem attracting and retaining female talent. The Aunties is an incredible network of support that has had an immediate positive impact, not just for mentees, but for the Aunties themselves. Phase one was a game-changer. Phase two will be next level. “

The launch campaign created by Izzi McGrath and Mads Catanese, creative team at WhiteGrey, celebrates the collective power and strengths of these 100 women. Using data collected from the application forms to showcase the combined achievements and experiences of this impressive cohort.

Says Catanese: “Individually, these women have achieved a lot. Together? Well, that’s almost impossible to fathom. We put our rusty math skills to the test to showcase just how much experience, knowledge, and ambition will be under one roof on the night. And trust us, these figures will wow even the most number averse.”

With 100 Aunties, mentee spots are limited, so get involved and be mentored by some of Australia’s leading voices apply with this form. Applications close on 29th July 2022.

The Aunties acknowledge that there are so many more amazing women in the industry. To help keep up with extra mentee demand, they welcome and encourage any extra Auntie registrations (women with 10+ years experience and based in Melbourne). To register interest, get in touch at hello@the-aunties.com To learn more about The Aunties follow along @theaunties_gram or follow them on LinkedIn.

Alison Rentoul, Head of Strategy, The Incubator
Amelia Micallef, Founder & Creative Director, Make Mate
Amy Weston, Executive Creative Director, CHEP Network
Angie Bradbury, Principal, Bradbury&Co
Anita Forte, Creative Director, Visual Design, R/GA
Anjana Khallouf, National Head of Earned, Thinkerbell
Annie Little, Strategy Director, The Royals
Annie Price, Creative Director, Communicado/Freelance
Bec Brideson, Founder/Director/CEO, Venus Comms
Brie Stewart, Creative Director, Southern Cross Austero + LiSTNR
Carmela Soares, Creative Strategist , Meta Creative Shop
Charlotte Stevens, Group Business Director, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Charlotte Wren, Head of Production, Hardhat
Chelsea Morley, Creative Director/Founder, Tiny Disco
Cinnamon Darvall, EP @ Sedona, Sedona Productions
Claire Tenzer, General Manager, TBWA\Melbourne
Clara Tang, Group Business Director, The Royals
Clare Lehner, Post producer/Owner, Mr Fox Post Production
Danielle Chapman, Managing Partner, Ogilvy Melbourne
Di Nash, Head Production Tinker, Thinkerbell
Divya Singh, Snr Art Director, VMLYR
Eliza Malone, Snr Producer, The Monkeys
Ella Ward, Consultant
Elly Hewitt, Founder and Managing Director, Alt/Shift
Eloise Liley, Co-Head of Planning, Eleven & TBWA Melbourne
Emily Pockley, Client Partner, AJF Partnership
Emma Park, Creative Director, Shadowboxer
Emma Robbins, Executive Creative Director, M&C Saatchi Melbourne
Emma Salmon, Group Account Director, CHEP
Eyvonne Carfora, Executive Producer, Alt.VFX
Georgie Pownall, Managing Partner, By All Means
Hilary Badger, Creative Director, Clemenger BBDO
Jaclyn Currie, Executive Director, Clemenger BBDO
Jacqui Paterson, Creative Director, Marmalade Melbourne
Jaime Morgan, General Manager of the South, Thinkerbell
Jessica Cheney, Client Partner, Eleven
Jess van Roosendaal, Executive Producer, Fin Design + Effects
Jo de Fina, Executive Producer, OTTO
Jo Hardy, Head of Business Management, Bullfrog
Karley Cameron, Head of Broadcast and Content Production, Cummins and Partners
Karolina Bozajkovska, 2IC Production Director & Producer, Clemenger BBDO
Kate Griffiths, Group Account Director, Icon Agency
Kate Prowse, Client Services Director, TABOO
Kate Thompson, Strategy & Innovation Director, Hardie Grant Media
Katy Peterson, Group Account Director, Bullfrog Media
Kerrie Ryan, Managing Director, Communicado
Kristy Buchanan, Design Director, HERO
Lauren Butterfield, Group Account Director, CHEP Network
Lenna Boland, Group Creative Director, Ogilvy Melbourne
Lesley Baker, Client Services Director, Hardhat
Leslie Preyer, Creative Director, Cyclone Creative
Margie Reid, CEO, Thinkerbell
Marnie McKenzie, Group Account Director, VMLY&R
Megan Wailes, Senior Business Director, Bullfrog Media
Melanie Campbell, Head of PR & Influence, Clemenger BBDO
Melanie O’Rourke, Creative Services Director, Taboo
Melissa Scott, Groups Account Director, M&C Saatchi
Nat Taylor, Executive Producer, Sherpa
Nicola Finlay, General Manager, Hell Studios, The OXO Collective and Studio Red
Nicole Hamilton, General Manager, Thrive PR
Nicole Hayes, Creative Director, Kmart
Nomfundo Msomi, Head of Strategy, whiteGREY
Paige Prettyman, Managing Director, Deloitte Digital – Creative Brand + Advertising
Polly McGregor, Producer & Co-Owner, Bang Bang Studios
Priya Addams Williams, Business Director, Special Group
Prue Jones, Design Director, Fjord/Accenture Song
Rachel Blacklaws, Creative Director, TBWA\Melbourne
Rebecca Stambanis, CSO & Partner, Special Group Australia
Regina Stroombergen, Senior Art Director, Thinkerbell
Ricci Meldrum, Managing Director, TBWA\Melbourne
Robyn Bergmann, Creative Director, VMLY&R
Romanca Mundrea, National Head of Production, The Monkeys
Sarah Bailey, Managing Director, VMLY&R
Sarah McGregor, Executive Creative Director, Dentsu Creative
Sarah Raine, General Manager, Bullfrog
Sarah Tukua, Director of Client Relations and Growth, The Shannon Company
Sarah Vincenzini, Associate Creative Director, M&C SAATCHI
Susannah George, Head of Film & Content, Ogilvy / Freelance
Shannon Crowe, Creative Director, Thinkerbell / Freelance
Sharon Condy, Group Creative Director, Ogilvy
Siobhan Fitzgerald, Senior Copywriter, Freelance
Sive Buckley, Chief Experience Officer – APAC, Essence Mediacom
Sonia McLaverty, EP/Lead Senior Producer, DDB Melbourne
Sonia von Bibra, Executive Producer, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Sophie Gosper, General Manager, The Monkeys
Sophie Lyall, Social Media Specialist/ Founder, Social Exchange
Sophie Simmons, Executive Producer, Special Group
Stacey Karayannis, Associate Creative Director, Leo Burnett
Stefanie Di Gianvincenzo, Creative Strategist, Meta
Steph Kitchin, Associate Creative Director, TABOO
Tashi van der Waerden, Strategy Director, TCYK
Tessa Midgley, Senior Copywriter, M&C Saatchi Melbourne
Julia Spencer, Creative Director, Freelance
Vanessa Tout, Client Services Director, VMLY&R
Vicky Mockler, Group Account Director, The Monkeys
Victoria Conners, Executive Producer, The Producers & Eric Tom and Bruce
Vivienne Gibson-Thomas, Head of Strategy, The Contenders

Senior Program Leads: Huei Yin Wong & Phoebe Sloane, Clemenger BBDO & Sive Buckley, Essence
Creative Leads: Izzi McGrath & Mads Catanese, whiteGREY, Lauren Eddy & Katarina Matic, Bullfrog
Operations Lead: Carolyn Eglinton, TBWA
Creative: Amanda Chen, VMLY&R
Creative: Zoe Perrin & Riana Mckenzie, Clemenger BBDO
Senior Designer: Stella Tsakiris, Clemenger BBDO
PR: Erin Dowling, Eleven
Motion Graphics: Ben Bryan, Clemenger BBDO
Editors: Kean Szczur & Leighton Howindt, Dentsu Creative

*non-binary, a-gender, gender-nonconforming, and all marginalised genders