Tick-tock on the Clock

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“Tonight, I’m-a fight, ’til we see the sunlight, tick-tock on the clock,” I grew up singing and dancing in the car to this song. It is one of pop star sensation Kesha’s greatest hits of all time. While her music helped me, she now is in need of help.

In 2014, Kesha sued Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, her music producer for sexual assault. Kesha claims that he emotionally and physically abused her. She recalls one night where he “forced” her to drink with him and then he instructed that she take “sober pills” to sober her up. The pills had the opposite effect. After taking the pills, she woke up naked in Gottwald’s bed with no memory of how she got there.

Gottwald denies the assault allegations and has filed a defamation lawsuit against Kesha, which is pending.

Seeking to break the contract injunction, New York State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich rejected to release Kesha from her recording contract with the record label and Gottwald.

“As much as this case has some notoriety—and certainly, some scandalous allegations, as this judge said in her opinion—it is a case seeking to not have enforced compliance with a commercial contract.”

While Sony Music and Kemosabe offered to have Kesha work with a different producer, it was denied according to Kesha’a attorney, Mark Geragos. According to Geragos, it was an “illusory promise,” adding, “when he says, ‘I’m going to have no involvement,’ all of the people who would do the things that are essential to putting out a record, all of those people report to Dr. Luke. There is no way that they are going to promote her, that they are going to do anything else except set her up for failure.” He has a point.

While I understand how this is a legal nightmare and it is not easy for Sony Music to cancel Kesha’s contract, it comes down to a basic human right. You can potentially be putting Kesha in danger by having her continue working at Sony.

“Her only condition is that she be allowed to record with a record label that is not affiliated with someone who has emotionally and sexually abused her.”



Why There’s a Lack of Women CEOs in the PR Industry


Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer speaks with Pattis Sellers of Fortune Magazine on November 27, 2012 at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Dinner (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images for Fortune.). (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images for Fortune.

I want you to search “business leader” right now. What do you see? Is it predominantly pictures of men or women?  With women being the majority of the public relations industry, it is shocking to believe that men hold the majority of the higher positions. Why are there so many men as CEOs rather than women? It’s not that these corporations can’t find qualified females for the position, rather it is the lack of trying to diversify within the company. There are no female CEOs in the top ten PR agencies but there is a lack of women CEOs across all industries. Only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by women.

“There are still people who don’t think a woman can do the job as well as a man, no question,” says Di Maria, VP of corporate public relations and advertising at GE Capital. “Women just have to go in and steamroll over them.”

Corporations that lack diversity, especially gender, lack integrity. This is the 21st century why is this still an issue? There are women highly-qualified for these positions, more than ever before. Now I understand that men are considered underrepresented in PR but it is this industry that is leading the next generation to equality in the workforce.

Women face an immense amount of scrutiny in the workforce. They are sexualized and always have to be “put together” to be considered professional. I don’t know if the workplace will ever be rid of sexual dynamics but shouldn’t people take into consideration what women have to go through? If anything, the women who make it to the executive positions in corporations should be highly considered for the position of a CEO because of what they had to go through. Women need to have thick skin and determination to get them where they want to go in this industry, which I find personally more valuable in the workplace than basic leadership skills.

In addition, women are often attacked if they have a family and are in the workforce. It is either they spend too much time in the office and not enough time caring for their family, or the other way around. Honestly, either way, people will have something to say. It comes as a natural instinct to want to be there for your family, so why are women being scrutinized for taking care of their family and working? If women spend time in the workforce they are just being an example for their children that men aren’t always the breadwinner. Women who grew up with a working mother tend to have more powerful jobs than women whose mothers stayed home to care for them and did not work. In the United States, women with working mothers make 23 percent more than women whose mothers did not work. If anything, it shows that they can balance numerous thing but can put what’s important first. What comes after family is work, that’s how it is for most people BUT work can also be your other family.



Inequality Defines Media

In  “I Analyzed a Year of My Reporting for Gender Bias (Again)” an article written in The Atlantic by Adrienne Lafrance, it analyzes a number of articles and the gender representations in each. Out of the 136 articles written and the 2,065 people mentioned over the course of a year, only 25 percent of people mentioned were women. While this may be only one analysis of a strand of journalistic articles, it does not make it any less true that women are underrepresented in media. Male biases are huge in the world of journalism and media. Men are newsworthy, while women are seen as eye candy.

“When women do show up in the news, it is often as ‘eye candy,’ thus reinforcing women’s value as sources of visual pleasure rather than residing in the content of their views,” wrote a group of researchers from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University published earlier this month.

With the help of Nathan Matias, a Ph.D. student at the MIT Media Lab and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, the two conducted various studies of Lawrence’s work and came to the same conclusion. The studies are consistent in the underrepresentation of women in media and the lack of female names as a source. What makes women not the best possible source? Nothing.

Matias and Lawrence brainstormed on what could be done to make a difference:

  1. Actively look for stories about newsworthy women. “The key is that there are two major factors shaping who you mention: the people that your stories are about and the people who you rely on to make sense of those stories,” Matias said.
  2. Be more inclusive in what Matias calls the “one-off” stories, the pieces where there should only be one mention of a person, but don’t necessarily expect that person to be a fixture in the ongoing reporting.

3. Trying harder to cultivate more women sources.

Why Women Dominate the PR Industry

Despite popular belief, the Sex and the City character, Samantha Jones, is not the reason why women flock to the public relations industry. Public relations is not about opening up the hottest new clubs, rather it is an extremely difficult job being a critical role for various organizations. Jobs for public relations are growing at 12 percent a year which comes with a pay that women wouldn’t get elsewhere. Female PR specialists make on average of $55,705, while the national average for female workers is $37,232.

Studies have proven that women are mainly drawn to PR because they are collaborative and social in group settings, necessary skills for PR. For female leaders to be perceived as effective, they need to demonstrate both sensitivity and strength; while male leaders only need to demonstrate strength.

“Studies have shown that women tend to collaborate more and prefer to work on teams, whereas men usually do better in competitive environments and prefer to fly solo. That male approach works well for journalists, while having a bit of a ‘people-pleaser’ gene probably attracts and/or makes it easier for women to excel in the PR environment,” said Jennifer Hellickson, director of marketing at SweatGuru in Portland, Oregon in an interview with The Atlantic.



Besides skill sets, women are also drawn to the PR industry because of its flexibility. Women can still be that stay at home mom and have a full-time job because some work doesn’t require you to be physically in the office.

The rise of women in the PR industry happened for a number of reasons and it will continue to grow. Could it be that because it is such a female-dominated field, women see it as a greater opportunity to hold a high-level position? Do women find empowerment in the PR industry, is that why they gravitate towards it? What do you think?

Anna Wintour: the Myth, the Legend, the Woman.

4020853026_071a04a9e8_oConde Nasts, a premier mass media company holds the most iconic titles: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ, The New Yorker, Brides, the list goes on. This past year brought a bumpy path for the company, both good and bad. Its digital audience hit a record best in the first quarter of 2015 bringing in $1 billion dollars of revenue in 2015. In addition, at the National Magazine Awards, Conde took home the most wins including a Magazine of the Year award for Vogue. Even with the company move from midtown New York to the One World Trade Center, the decline in print-ad pages across most of its magazines, and an extensive list of layoffs – the company remains.

Anna Wintour, the artistic director of Conde Nasts and the editor at Vogue, was named one of the worlds most powerful women by Forbes last year, and for good reason. She is a legend. She has hosted the Met Gala since 1999, has stuck with Conde Nasts through the years of highs and lows and is an iconic figure in the fashion industry being the editor for the fashion bible, Vogue.

New York Times writer, Ravi Somaiya interviewed both Bob Sauerberg, the new chief executive at Conde Nasts, and Wintour. In recent allegations by unnamed staff members, Wintour was said to be “dismissive when displeased.”

In the interview, Somaiya boldly brought the comment up. Wintour responded by asking, “Whether The New York Times was a tabloid newspaper, come on,” she said. “I am decisive, you know. I don’t believe in wasting anybody’s time. I like to be honest. I like to be clear. In my own personal career, I have felt almost the most difficult thing to deal with is someone who doesn’t tell you what they are thinking.”

While she disagreed with those comments, she believes that there is “an element of sexism” in the way that she is viewed. “But I decided a long time ago that I can’t let any of that bother me,” she said. “If my style is too direct for some, maybe they should toughen up a bit.” An honest lesson that I hope to learn.

In “The Devil Wears Prada” the revolutionary character, Miranda Priestly, based off of Wintour, is the only identification millions of people have of her – but she is more than this character. She may lack moral patience but the woman is driven by limitless passion. She is THE most powerful figure in the fashion industry. She is a woman who has inspired many in the business. Being more powerful than CEOs, celebrities, and some politicians the woman can out-do any man. Few women have demanded the respect, power, and influence she has in the business world and for that…she is an idol to me.

How Women can Exceed in the Industry

4597296297_a1e4551019_z.jpgOne of my main incentives for this blog is to help inspire the next generation of women leaders and promote a gender balance in the workforce.

Public relations and communications is leading the way to equality. Women make up 63 percent of public relations specialists and 59 percent are PR managers. While this may seem like a gender imbalance in itself, with more woman in the field than men, it actually speaks louder than this.

Today, women are earning 60 percent of undergraduate and master’s degrees. They are better educated than men, statistics say. The learning doesn’t end with a degree though. To exceed women must continue to learn and be lifelong students. Here are ten helpful tips to make you exceed in the PR and communication industry, along with some positive words from women in the business:

  1. Move past the stereotypes:
    We are accustomed to the idea that men are in charge because growing up that was a stereotype apparent in media. Nowadays, media is striving to reconstruct that stereotype. There will be workplace sexism but everyone’s responsible for ending this discrimination.
  2. Learn from your mistakes:
    You are only human, you will mess up. Don’t beat yourself up over it though, learn from it. “D’lish didn’t get the opportunity to cater at the level we are now without resilience -and serious dedication and determination over the past nine years. It took passion, standing tall, falling – and of course, getting back up again even prouder than before. And, opening myself to learning a lesson from each unique experience in the wild world of entrepreneurship and the food industry. That attitude has led my business to a high level of catering – doing what I love,” Rachel Goldman, Founder, Owner and Executive Chef, D’lish Intimate Catering.
  3. Go beyond the to-do list:
    You will have your daily to-do list, go beyond it. No one successful got there by doing JUST the everyday tasks. Stay the extra hours, work on an additional project, and take on assignments no one else would. Actions speak louder than words.
    “Success in the workplace really comes when you work outside of your job description. Don’t be afraid to be creative and try new ideas or create something new—they’ll push you over the edge and get you recognized in your workplace, as well as in your industry,” Stacey Acevero, social media community manager at Vocus/PR Web.
  4. Take risks:
    New opportunities and challenges can evoke the same emotion: fear. Make what you want out of them but you need to challenge yourself. Taking these risks will help you grow by challenging yourself and will help you advance in your career.
    “Take risks and speak up. Try things that you are uncomfortable doing. It’s going to feel awkward at first, but it will start to feel natural. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to take on challenges and who can help you see and appreciate your strengths,” Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz.
  5. Curiosity breeds innovation:
    I honestly could not have said it any better:
    “My natural tendency to want to know how something works and demystify a topic by learning more has propelled my career, instilled confidence, and put me on a path I could have never imagined. My general curiosity has made me challenge myself and look at life through the lens of “hmmm that’s interesting, I wonder if I could do that. It can’t be that hard.” This attitude has brought out in me the marathoner, the snowboarder, the knitter, the mother, the wife, the business leader, the Harvard student, the writer, the teacher, and the cook. I can’t wait to see what’s next,” Kelly Manthey, VP Strategy & Innovation, Solstice Mobile.
  6. Destroy the barriers:
    Social and self-barriers are constructed illusions, destroy them.
    “Some of the main barriers that I see women facing are the ones they create for themselves…Women need to believe in themselves and be aware of how much they have to offer – and not apologize for it,” Susan Chambers, EVP, Global People Division for Walmart.
  7. Be persistent:
    This goes for every aspect of your life; in the pursuit of your goals, your career and your life. Remember you have to earn your spot. “Without being willing to fail and continually get back again, I would never have been able to find the right market and establish my product within it,” Katelyn Gleason, CEO & Cofounder of Eligible.
  8. Surround yourself with support:
    You can’t do it by yourself. Surround yourself with people that inspire and empower you – they will be the ones to push you, as well as the ones to stand by your side when all is wrong. You want people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
    “The best advice I can give a young woman starting a career in PR is to surround herself with other supportive, professional women. One way to do that is to join a communications association. I started with the Public Relations Student Society of America, continued with the Public Relations Society of America and now PRSA’s Counselors Academy,” Dana Hughens, CEO of Clairemont Communications.
  9. Ask questions:
    Don’t be hesitant, be assertive. Listen carefully, throw your hand up because there is no such thing as a dumb question. Questions spark conversation, and even though it may seem like a dumb question to you it may spark someone else’s creative thought.
  10. Believe in yourself:
    You are your hardest critic…but confidence is key. Don’t allow yourself to think that you are not eligible for that position or you are under qualified. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible. Be yourself, put on a smile and go get em.
    “Be yourself and do not try to change your entire personality to conform to the corporate culture. Pretending to be someone you’re not drains your energy and can lead to failure if you show that you are uncomfortable with yourself. Belief in your self-worth, hard work, and a commitment to your career and company will go a long way toward helping you succeed,” Lillian Vernon, Founder of Lillian Vernon catalogs.

Diversity Among the Oscars

3001714270_c98d19f5d7_oInclusion, diversity, and equality. What does it mean to you? In today’s age, people still struggle with what it means, how it works and why it is necessary. As the 2016 Oscars awards approach and the nominees have been announced, it is apparent that the Academy still struggles with what inclusion, diversity and equality mean. It is a difficult conversation to be had but a necessary one at that.

For the second year in a row, the Academy has not nominated any African American actors. With four acting categories, 20 slots each, and the opportunity to recognize performers of color the Academy still failed to do so. Due to this reason, several celebrities such as Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee will not be attending the event.

One of the biggest movies of 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was led by John Boyegs, who plays Finn. As the leading role in the movie, it was a great disappointment that he was not nominated for an Oscar. As an African American actor, there is outrage saying that he was not nominated due to his race. Femi Oguns, Boyega’s agent, has been speaking on behalf of Boyega about the lack of diversity in the industry.

“These decision makers are normally white middle-class men who have not, in any way, invested an interest in trying to research, celebrate or understand other cultures,” Oguns told Newsbeat in an interview. “It’s reflected upon the world they live in, which is quite narrow-minded and not open to receiving other cultures for what they actually represent.”

The Academy has taken various approaches to diversify its members. This past July they invited 322 new members including David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and F.Gary Gray. Cheryl Boone-Issacs, the Academy president, said in a personal statement that regardless of the Academy’s stride for change in its makeup of members, “…change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.” In addition, the Academy’s board of governors has issued a pledge to double the number of female and minority members within its ranks by 2020.

Although 6,300 people in the film industry partake in deciding the nominations for the Oscars, 94 percent are white and 77 percent are male. Chris Rock, an African American comedian, will be hosting the Oscars but it does not make up for the lack of black nominees and diversity in the Academy.

As seen in the world of communications and business, it’s not about getting the position but not having the opportunity. The nominees for this year’s Oscars are well-deserved but considering critically acclaimed movies such as “Straight Out of Compton” with an all-black cast received no nominations for actors or actresses is astounding. The lack of diversification, inclusion, and equality is not just seen in this event but in every aspect of life, whether it be gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.