GroupM launched its inaugural Female Founders Forum today to introduce a number of women start-up founders specializing in content publishing and technology to its clients and leadership team.
The featured founders included Hobnob's Tina Fitch and Mightybell's Gina Bianchini, both of whom have backing from venture capital firm Greenspring Associates and support from AOL’s Makers.
There were some 85 forum participants, including GroupM’s NA CEO, Brian Lesser and chief innovation officer, Cary Tilds and top executives from GroupM agencies Mindshare, Maxus and MEC. Greenspring was also represented as were GroupM clients such as American Express, Unilever and Accenture.
There was also a keynote address from Greenspring's Brittany Hargest and Scale Venture Partners Kate Mitchell.
"There are hurdles for women business leaders that don't exist for men," says GroupM's Tilds. The event, said Tilds, was designed to even the playing field a bit. "This isn't just a rah-rah event, we are doing it for good business while also elevating the conversation," says Tilds.
"We have many clients specifically focusing on women so it benefits them [to hear from businesses that may address women-specific matters]," says Tilds. "They solve problems differently. We are always looking at ways to do things better and smarter."
GroupM also used the event to demonstrate that diversity is a priority. "How do we become better marketers?" asked GroupM CMO Elizabeth McCune. "We have many senior women leaders [among its 27,500 employees] and the majority of our new workers are women. But there's just not the same percentage of us at the higher levels."