Earlier this morning, IAPI celebrated IWD by opening applications for the 2021 Female Futures Fund coaching programme. The programme, launched in 2020, continues to be supported by Diageo and is designed for high potential women working in the creative communications and media industry. A link to the recording is here.

Given the significant changes to our working lives in the last 12 months, IAPI, in collaboration with Diageo, have designed the 2021 programme to broaden its’ reach through comprehensive group leadership coaching of 25 females.

“The objective of this leadership coaching bursary remains the same. It is designed to ensure that we retain our best female talent by helping women realise their full potential whilst also achieving a life balance that may include family and/or other lifestyle priorities,” says Stha Banks, Head of Social Media, Core and D&I lead on the IAPI Board and moderator of this morning’s panel discussion. “While we are definitely heading in the right direction with 38% of IAPI member leaders now being female, we still have a way to go in certain areas, particularly within senior creative roles. Our ambition is to close the gender gap at all levels.”

This morning’s audience were treated to a keynote delivered by Grainne Wafer, Global Brand Director, Guinness at Diageo, who provided an update on the work they are doing to promote diversity and inclusion in all its’ forms across their organisation and their global marketing communications. She presented some of the ground-breaking work Diageo have undertaken to combat unconscious bias when planning, conceptualising, and executing marketing campaigns.

“We are delighted to work with IAPI again on this important initiative that is delivering a significant, positive impact on the careers of women in the creative industry in Ireland.” says Grainne Wafer of Diageo’s support of Female Futures Fund. “It is important to us that we work with partners that actively seek to improve diversity and that is particularly vital in our agency partners.”

Cormac Bourke, Editor, Irish Independent and Independent.ie then shared his own challenges and asked questions of himself and the audience on how to reach true gender equality. He drew parallels between the commercial creativity and media industry, both known for their creative, yet high-pressure working environment and, how the challenges faced by women in both sectors, are very similar. Cormac believes the only way to make lasting progress is to face up to – and challenge – the practical obstacles to gender equality, particularly now, while we have already accepted new ways of working and are in a change mindset.

These talks were followed by a discussion among panellists that included: Jill Walker, Executive Coach who provided the leadership coaching for last year’s bursary recipients; Danica Murphy, Leadership Coach and Trainer, who will be managing this year’s programme and Eimear Fitzmaurice, Strategy Director, Folk Wunderman Thompson who was one of lucky recipients of last year’s programme. Stha Banks, Head of Social Media and D&I Lead on the IAPI Board moderated the discussion.

Applications for IAPI Female Futures Fund are now open. The application form and more details on how the programme will run can be found here.

Download the Female Futures Fund Application Form
Download the Female Futures Fund Application Form
To be completed by you to demonstrate your potential leadership qualities and an ability to make things happen. There is also a section to be completed by your proposer to demonstrate your suitability for this leadership coaching programme.