Unanswered Questions | #LaidlawCareers Panel: Marketing

Thanks to Susanna Kempe for answering audience questions we didn't have time to address during the career panel on March 25th.
Unanswered Questions | #LaidlawCareers Panel: Marketing
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📺 You can find the recording of the session here


Summary of the Event

The #LaidlawCareers Panel on Marketing, organised by the Laidlaw Alumni Society, assembled a diverse range of panelists to discuss the multifaceted world of marketing.

Panelists included Susanna Kempe, CEO of the Laidlaw FoundationChris Finnegan, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Ipsos MORI, Rina Hiranand, Head of Marketing Analytics & Insight APAC, BlackRock, and Asih Wulansari, Multi Segment Product Marketing Head at Mashreq Bank and Laidlaw Scholar at London Business School. The four addressed:

  • How can you successfully launch a career in marketing?
  • What are the different paths to a career in marketing?
  • What does it take to become a sought after expert in marketing?

Follow-up Questions 

Answers by Susanna Kempe

Has gender played a role in your work experience? What would your advice be for women who hope to advance in management?

Yes, gender has played a significant role in my work experience, although for the first 16 years of my career I didn’t realise it had.

I was very fortunate. My first “real” job after university was as a marketing assistant at the Institute for International Research (IIR), the training and conference company that Lord Laidlaw founded. The person who hired me was a woman, my immediate manager was a woman, the General Manager of our division was a woman. The Managing Director of Europe was a woman. The President of our US business was a woman. The Global Marketing Director who became my mentor was a woman. The oft quoted “if you can see it, you can be it” was absolutely true. I was given opportunity after opportunity, travelling all over the world and taking on new responsibilities and challenging roles; always six months before I was probably quite ready for them, so I was constantly learning and striving.

It was only when Lord Laidlaw was approached to sell the business and I was part of his team leading the sale that I properly processed for the first time how genuinely different IIR was in its gender diversity. Every banking, finance and Private Equity meeting we went to was characterised by a sea of white men on the opposite side of the table. It brought home to me the shocking lack of diversity in so many sectors.

After IIR, I continued encountering astounding unconscious bias in recruitment, male dominated workplaces and boardrooms. It is why I am so proud that we sponsor the women’s movement at London Business School and Oxford’s Saïd Business School. It is also why we encourage all companies to sign the 10 step charter to creating equality for women in the workplace.

You will advance in management if you work hard, do a great job and are working for an organisation which genuinely promotes on merit and potential. So my advice would be to work for companies that clearly do that. Check out their senior management teams before joining. If there are no women in the senior leadership team, or just a single woman in a non-strategic or non-profit generating role e.g. HR, then interrogate them on this before accepting a role and be confident that they do not have a systemic problem.

Any smart employer will want to hire a Laidlaw Scholar so choose an organisation that deserves you. Let the dinosaur organisations that only promote in an outdated image of leadership, die out.

How would you suggest that Laidlaw Scholars leverage their scholarships when applying for marketing positions?

Marketing, arguably quite uniquely among the professions, is both an art and a science; so potential employers are looking for evidence of both creativity and analytical skills. Scholars can showcase the latter through their research and the former through their blogs posts and articles on the Scholars Network. Strong social media skills are increasingly sought after, so the more engagement on the Network and amplification on social channels of your and the Foundation’s work that you can demonstrate, the better. Your second summer, Leadership-in-Action programme can also be chosen carefully to give you marketing experience and demonstrate creative effectiveness.



Do you have thoughts to share on this topic? Comment below and let's continue the conversation! 💬👇

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Go to the profile of Susanna Kempe
about 3 years ago

Thanks Kayla for moderating the panel so beautifully. If anyone has any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.