Choosing what I would discuss for my final blog post was an easy decision. After spending an entire summer working under strong female leaders, it would be quite absurd to not discuss the gender dynamic that I have observed while working at Zeno Group this summer.
My company’s CEO is a woman, the Global Managing Director of Health is a woman, the head of the intern program is a woman, every member of my three teams are women. The only male I work with is my manager, and everyone above him is also female. As a young female hoping to soon start a career in this industry, I have found that typical things – like age and gender are not discriminating factors that I have yet to run into. In fact, I have found that my insights and ideas as a 21 year old are extremely valued as our clients see my age cohort as the future, the audience they are working to connect with. In most careers, age is something that could be used against you – someone being “too young” usually implies a lack of experience, maturity or accountability.
I know that it is common for people in positions of power to be female, but I have found it incredibly interesting to work in an environment that is almost entirely women (disclosure – this is just within my department, as I am unsure of the dynamic and complete makeup of the other departments). In terms of implicit leadership theory, I have found that implicit biases have been present when making decisions but they aren’t because of things like gender, instead it has been from ability or personal relationships. The “double bind’ for women in leadership roles is not something that I have witnessed here. The women in charge do not worry about falling prey to stereotypes and I have never observed an effort by them to take on any leadership characteristics other than their own. When the team leader is delegating our roles and responsibilities for new projects and assignments from the client, I have found that it the people who made the Media List last time and did a good job, get assigned the media list building yet again. The team member who is the most confident with speaking with press contacts is the one assigned to reach out with new pitches, so on and so forth. While the way the leadership in my office functions is not perfect, the absence of typical implicit biases is something refreshing, but definitely can be attributed to the gender makeup of my specific department.
Some of the insights I have gained from the application of this theory is that while the traditional biases do not exist in my office, other ones take their place. While these biases are rooted more in things like fact and ability, of which opinions that can be changed through hard work and determination- biases still exist. It has been extremely interesting to see how environment shapes which ones emerge. Over the course of the summer, I have come to learn that the PR industry in general does tend to be made up predominantly of females, but I am interested to see how my healthcare concentration within that may go against the grain in that respect – as the healthcare and medical field is one that has traditionally been more male-dominated.