- SAN FRANCISCO
Independent advertising agency Venables Bell & Partners has announced the launch of Fellow, an app-based professional community for women in advertising. Initially imagined by sr. art director Aisha Hakim and former VB&P colleague Christoph von Ruexleben, Fellow arms the next generation of female leadership with the hard-earned knowledge and support of their peers by facilitating connections with women across the industry. VB&P fully funded and backed the development of Fellow, and together they are now partnering with The 3% Movement to launch the mentorship platform at this year’s 3% Conference, set for Nov. 7-8 in Chicago.
“We believe that the diversity challenges we all face are best solved by women supporting other women across the industry, and agencies coming together to create real solutions,” said VB&P partner and COO Kate Jeffers. “We see Fellow as an important tool in giving women access to mentorship opportunities beyond their own agency’s walls in an effort to unleash everyone’s full potential. We’re honored to partner in this launch with The 3% Movement--an organization that has boldly challenged the status quo and championed the advancement of women in advertising for years.”
Fellow was designed to fill in the gaps that exist with other currently available professional networking programs, especially for women who are still unable to leverage effective personal relationships in their careers. Knowing that most people are limited on time, the platform was developed using an app-based model which fits within its users’ busy lives, while still delivering powerful and useful one-on-one mentorship. Community members will be paired together based on experience levels, location, topics of interest, and expertise. These topics include career development; salary negotiation; leadership; work-life balance; diversity/inclusion; workplace politics; networking; performance reviews; maternity leave; mental health; and side hustle.
“The opportunity to connect with mentors from diverse backgrounds and experiences can be invaluable to advancing the careers of women in our industry,” said Kat Gordon, founder of The 3% Movement. “Fellow will enhance users’ networks, provide connections, and access beyond traditional mentor/mentee relationships.”
The Fellow app-based community was built to be fully scalable, so that as many agencies as possible can participate. Its pricing model will place the burden of cost on agencies, as Fellow is augmenting every agency’s mentorship program and offering. In this way, agencies, regardless of size, will be able to give their female employees access to this robust network of women across the industry.
Agencies such as Wieden+Kennedy, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and RPA participated in the Fellow beta period in recent months. Now, with the full launch of the app, agencies of all sizes as well as individual professionals across markets in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are welcome to join the Fellow community. Attendees of The 3% Conference will be given free access to Fellow for three months following the conference.