Jo Wallace Shares 3 Takeaways from the "SheKnows Someone" Panel
Jo Wallace is a Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson London. She is the creative lead across the Nestle UK confectionary portfolio, Johnson & Johnson across EMEA and is overseeing the launch of a new wine brand from Treasury Wine Estates.
Wallace was recently invited to take part in a panel event created by SheSays –a global, award-winning organization running free mentorship and events for women in the creative industry. The panel was called SheKnows Someone and was designed to allow an audience of approximately 200 women to ask questions and hear advice from women who have tackled similar issues.
Below, Wallace shares three questions/answers that stood out to her during the panel.
How can I network and follow up without being too pestering?
We’ve all been there. You want to leverage a contact, but how many times is it appropriate to email someone if they don’t respond? Should you go up and speak to someone you barely know, but admire? The fact is, most people are genuinely flattered when someone reaches out to them, and will do their best to help. At the same time, everyone’s got a busy inbox, so if you don’t hear back don’t take it as a personal rejection - it’s more likely it just slipped their mind so follow up and email them again. If you don’t hear back after several attempts though, consider if they’re really the right person to help you out.
How can I deal with the ‘fear of failure’?
In response to this question I volunteered a piece of advice that works for me: “There’s no such thing as failure because you always learn vital lessons.”
How do you PR yourself and gain more credibility?
One piece of advice that surfaced again and again in response to this was: “Be yourself. Be authentic.” It may sound cliché, but seriously, it’s an important statement to keep in mind. What the panel agreed on was that this can be harder when you are in a more junior position. Caroline Pay, joint CCO at Grey, admitted that she wasn’t a fan of networking and has always let her work speak for itself. But when obstacles are getting in the way of the award-winning work you know you’re capable of, what then? Personally, having had one too many epic ideas (they were genius, honestly) die slow, painful deaths, I naturally found other ways to creative fulfilment. Which led me to creating and co-curating exhibitions on the side (There’s a Good Girl and There’s a Good Immigrant) and ultimately running my non-profit, passion-project, Good Girls Eat Dinner. The original intention wasn’t to bring PR or credibility; it was to create something that mattered to me - following a genuine passion. The positive press response and the growing success of Good Girls Eat Dinner is a happy by-product. The reality is, when you really start "being yourself" and doing things that truly make you tick, you stop wondering who you are, or where you’re going. You’re just, you. Nothing’s forced. And that’s when exciting things happen, opportunities arise and life gets interesting.
Other panel members included:
Vicki Maguire, joint CCO at Grey
Caroline Pay, joint CCO at Grey
Anna Carpen, Creative Partner at 18 Feet and Rising
Lisa Turner Wray, Creative at Mother
Jo Lucy-Ruming, Managing Director at Major PlayersBronwyn Sweeney - Senior Copywriter and Creative at Mullen Lowe
Jo Wallace, Creative Director at JWT - and founder of my own regular, event for women across the creative industries: Good Girls Eat Dinner.