Rania Robinson, CEO & Partner of Quiet Storm, has begun her term as President of WACL, taking over from ITV’s Kate Waters, with an inaugural speech at WACL’s first in-person AGM in three years.
Speaking to the over 200 Women in Advertising and Communications Leadership members gathered at an event that was also live streamed, Robinson laid out her agenda for her role as president and spoke about how WACL’s purpose of accelerating gender equality for the benefit of all is more important than ever.
WACL celebrates its centenary year in 2023, and, in her speech, Robinson promised to lead the organisation in continuing to push boundaries, declaring that, despite the achievements of the last hundred years, there is still a long way to go.
She said: “We are still not free of bias or harassment, and not all women have the same opportunities and chances of success as others.”
Robinson noted how women bore the brunt of Covid-19 and she addressed the impact of the erosion of trust in the industry, relentless disruption, economic pressures, social inequality and the demands of attracting talent.
“We are, in many ways, facing some of our toughest times as female leaders,” she said.
She emphasised the need for empathetic leadership and the importance of working together to advance: “Times are tough and we need empathetic leadership, which, we know, often falls to female leaders.”
“More than ever, we need a support network of strong, experienced women, there for each other, to help navigate the often lonely and challenging experience of being a female leader, particularly following the disconnection we have all felt during the pandemic.
“Which will in turn enable us to be there for the future female leaders of the industry coming through.
She went on to say: “We need to celebrate the breadth of members and the diverse perspectives they bring – and to continue to inspire and encourage the female leaders of tomorrow, so that they can go on to inspire the generation that follows.”
As well as highlighting WACL’s role in building a better future for all women – a critical focus as WACL approaches its centenary year – Robinson paid respect to pioneers of the past.
WACL will be “accelerating equality and paving the way for the next generation of female leaders, as the women before us did for us”, she said.
Robinson ended her speech by setting out her inspiring vision and ambition for WACL: “Finally, what we want in the next 100 years – although I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long – is an industry that is genuinely equal, where all women can thrive.
“We believe our job will be done when women have equal footing with men and when we are at the heart of where the power lies in businesses and where strategic decisions are made.”