Industry mentorship program Assisterhood continues to expand in its sixth year
What started as an International Women’s Day morning tea brief in 2018, Assisterhood – a 1:1 industry mentorship program that links womxn, non-binary and culturally-underrepresented people with mentoring, experience and education – was born. Senior mentors hail from creative, media, marketing, production, design, tech and digital leadership roles.
The success of the program saw 99 alumni in its past five years, with 62% of mentees obtaining a promotion or a new job after participating in Assisterhood, while a whopping 85% gained new skills and experiences.
The 2023 program is on track to bring Assisterhood’s total alumni to 160 across three states, with the inaugural NSW program launch joining VIC and QLD.
Says Charlotte Goodsir, Assisterhood NSW lead: “I’m so excited to be working with the team to bring this to NSW. It’s been an absolute joy meeting all of the mentors and I can’t wait to see the amazing potential they will bring out in mentees this year. I’m also wildly jealous that I’m not able to apply.”
After sharing her upbringing and the Assisterhood origin story at the inaugural Mavens magazine launch last year, Assisterhood founder Linh Diep encourages more mentees and mentors from regional, disadvantaged, and culturally-diverse backgrounds to apply: “Because you can’t be what you can’t see.”
While Assisterhood’s success and growth is happening at speed, Diep says the program remains centred around quality over quantity: “We have a 1:1 conversation with each mentor to see if they are the right fit, and are constantly improving our selection and match-making approach to make sure both mentees and mentors get the most out of the program.”
The program’s consistent success is due to the gap in the industry, the calibre of mentors, the vulnerability of mentees, generosity of sponsors, allies, and of course the dedication of the Assisterhood team.
Made up entirely of volunteers including young industry leaders, rising stars, and past alumni who are passionate about diverse representation in leadership, the Assisterhood team knows the importance of a strong mentor.
Linh Diep, Business Manager at Special – Assisterhood Founder
Polina Shilenina, Digital Director at Publicis – QLD Lead / Chief Product Officer
Charlotte Goodsir, Account Strategist at Google – NSW Lead
Jessie Roper, Business Director at Saatchi & Saatchi – VIC Lead
Sarah Kramer, Communications Planning Director at CHEP – National Sponsorship Lead
Anais Read, Copywriter at Ogilvy – Assisterhood Copywriter
Vanessa Pham, Integrated Senior Account Manager at Publicis & Arc – Assisterhood Designer
Lizzy Ballantyne, General Manager at Media Mortar – QLD Mentor Liaison
Isabelle Debnam, Head of Marketing at Teach Starter – QLD Mentor Liaison
Elle Whittaker, Art Director at Ogilvy – Assisterhood Designer
Molly Atkinson, Integrated Account Manager at Publicis – Digital Producer
Lily Anderson, Business Manager at Special – Event Manager
Em Treacey, Client Associate Director at Spark Foundry – Organisational Lead
Caitlin Alcock, Junior Planner at Saatchi & Saatchi – Community Manager
Bryony Hardy, Social Media Coordinator at SOAK Creative – Community Manager
Assisterhood strongly encourages people of all backgrounds and identities to apply for the 2023 mentorship program. New volunteers for the Assisterhood team are also welcomed.
2023 mentors will be announced in the coming weeks.
Apply – assisterhood.com.au
Connect – @assisterhood
Listen – Assistercast
A 2020 study in the US revealed that ‘women comprised 52.5% of the entire advertising workforce in the US’.
That number has easily grown exponentially over the last two years. Take a scroll through your LinkedIn feed or even search for any hiring term on Campaign Brief and you’ll find the ratio of female to male hires is currently sitting at about 8:1.
With The Aunties and Assisterhood, why isn’t anyone asking where the mentorship programs for men? Could it be because even talking about it can destroy your career overnight?
Hello there, so – let me get this right – the 52.5% ratio of females in the industry – which is much more representative of the overall US population ratio of 49.5 percent male and 50.47 percent female (source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/737923/us-population-by-gender/) – is…bad, somehow?
Also, I believe the issue starts not at the entry-level gender disparity, but at the leadership level, which still lags behind – which is the gap that both Assisterhood and Aunties are trying to bridge (31% globally, source: https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-management/). Also, just to be thorough, if the 8:1 hiring ratio you have mentioned was correct, we would be looking at appr. 13% males and 87% females in the workforce, which you yourself stated is not the case – because #math.
If you are looking for examples of men in leadership positions to inspire you or someone you know to strive for the starts – there is a lot of material out there, for example: https://www.adnews.com.au/events/advertising-hall-of-fame/page/1.
Do you feel there are not enough mentorship opportunities from male leaders at your agency / company? Would be very interesting to know what is the makeup of the leadership team if you don’t mind sharing.
The male mentorship program happens at the pub where male leaders take junior male teams for a beer and give them the kind of mentorship that is never offered to women because they ‘see themselves in these young guns’. The male program is the current structure of agencies that commend a relentless and soul destroying work ethic that was set up by generations of men who had the luxury to work til 4am while their wives stayed at home and looked after the kids (and still do). The male mentorship program is the HR structures that work to protect and keep their promising young men that make a ‘mistake’ because they value they give to the agency outweighs the safety of the young women within it. The male mentorship program is the ratio of male leaders to female leaders currently in the industry. The male mentorship program is the industry.
Female support structures don’t threaten male success. And if you think that a group of empowered and supported women succeeding means that you’ll be left behind then maybe you weren’t as talented as you thought you were in the first place.
You could very easily go and start a mentor program for men, no one is stopping you.
Programs for women are still VERY much needed based on the gender pay gap, less women in leadership roles and sexism that still very much exists in the workplace.
A few programs for women does not threaten you…and if it does, you should sit down and work through some of your issues.
You’re part of the problem. r/selfawarewolves
Not all boys are in the boys club but fully support something like this. It can only achieve good.
Hey dude, please don’t. (He doesn’t speak for the rest if us.)
The luxury to work til 4am? I can assure you that no male in this industry sees that as some kind of privilege. Your sweeping comments about men in advertising are just as damaging as the problems your trying to solve.
Please read the comment again and temper your embarrassing outrage. Pay special attention to the part about “soul destroying work ethic that was set up by generations of men” and understand that the luxury was the stay at home wives, not the 4am part.
This is not a men v. women issue. This is about diversifying leaders so we have different perspectives, culture and ideas in the industry. Get on board or get in the bin.
Amazing! So many strong and inspiring women. We need more of this.