Returnships are great. But there's a better way.
Unreasonable expectations. Surprising insights. Fickle decision-making. Unbearable kindness. Erratic tantrums.
An abstract of my clients over the past 20+ years? Or a typical hour with my nearly-2-year-old? Take your pick.
There's been a lot of talk about moms in advertising recently (post-Mother's Day guilt, maybe?). From AdWeek's article that featured Erica and Katie, to Trish Schmitt in Campaign (btw, bravo, Trish!), and even queen of badassery herself, Cindy Gallop. Riding the wave of #MeToo, the 3% movement, Times Up Advertising, and many other groups, it's inevitable that there would be a conversation about the role and effect of motherhood in the industry. And while a lot of these folks focus on the creative titles within agencies, I like to think their ideas and calls-to-action also apply to those of us outside of the studio.
Returnships are great. Flex schedules are great. Agencies enacting policies, establishing ERGs, opening mothers' lounges: all great. But I agree with a lot of the voices out there saying more needs to be done.
There needs to be a shift in the way we think about work. A fundamental rewiring of the agency philosophy about the work we do and the way we work. And yes, client expectations (faster! cheaper! more more more!) need to be readjusted as well, but let's tend to our own garden before we go messing with others'.
I'm happy to say that I can present a bright spot in this search for the new paradigm: Fancy.
Katie and Erica founded Fancy to elevate what matters to women. This applies both to our work and the way we work.
Fancy is owned and operated by women (but not necessarily just women over 40 - sorry AdWeek!). We don't have new policies or procedures or returnships. We don't need them; we're built differently. We work with driven, entrepreneurial, high-involvement people who are professionals and adults. Fancy provides a supportive foundation (from unifying philosophy and strategic approach to office space and technology) and leaves everything else up to the team to organize and conduct their business in the way that works best for them and the client.
What's not flexible is the quality of work we produce. The bar is set high, not by expectations from the top, but from the integrity and commitment of each one of us. The work gets done. Thoroughly, thoughtfully.
My greatest source of inspiration these days comes from my kinetic, curious, hilarious son. The smarter he gets, the more strategic I need to be. The more he pushes boundaries, the more creative I need to be in setting new ones. The more he wants to learn, the more I need to explore with him. Couldn't we all benefit from stretching these muscles professionally?
I'm grateful to have found a place that recognizes the benefits motherhood can bring to the workplace, and I'm proud to call myself Fancy.