Watch our highlight reel, here.

On September 26, 2019, IPG hosted the first-ever IPG Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) Breakfast held in Asia Pacific titled “The Silk Prologue.” The title represents the program’s focus on intersectionality as a series of various strands, coming together to form, in this instance, a silk thread. The program included a comedic performance and panel discussions on gendered creativity, gender inequality, female leadership and the importance of fostering diversity and inclusion as a business case.

IPG has held an annual Women’s Breakfast during the Cannes Festival of Creativity since 2011 and wanted to bring that focus to Asia during the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity.

The program, hosted by Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO of IPG, explored the dynamics of being a woman within the social fabric of Asian cultures, celebrating the ascent of women to leadership positions in the region.

“Asia Pacific is the most diverse region in the world, which makes it all the more exciting to be here, exploring a subject that’s a top priority for business today. It’s also home to some of the fastest growing economies and advertising markets,” noted Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO of IPG. “We are committed to the region and its prosperity and growth, which is why we hosted an IPG Women’s breakfast during Spikes Asia. We want to hear directly from the industry and our own people about the most pressing issues around diversity and inclusion and what we can do better in this region,” continued Roth.

Sharul Channa, known for her bold stance on feminism and gender equality, kicked off the breakfast with a comedic monologue reflecting on the multitude of roles women play in Asian cultures.

Uma Rudd Tan, CD, Weber Shandwick Singapore, moderated a discussion on creativity with Sam Lo, Creative Director & Visual Artist, Lizi Hamer, Regional ECD, Octagon and Sheena Jeng, CCO, McCann Worldgroup China. The panel “Are Ideas Gender Neutral?” addressed the idea that men and women, when faced with similar situations, may process and address issues differently. The discussion focused on how frames of reference can vary due to gender identity and how this disparity can lead to very different ideas about a problem, as well as creative concepts for a solution.

The “Champions of Change” fireside chat featured Vanessa Ho Nikolovski, Chair, Client Services, Asia Pacific, Managing Director, Weber Shandwick Singapore and highly acclaimed filmmaker Vibha Bakshi. Working with Weber Shandwick, Bakshi helped to redefine India’s public policy around sexual assault victims with the award-winning documentary “Daughters of Mother India” in 2016. She is now working on the next chapter of this story with her new documentary “Son Rise,” which is helping to change the narrative around gender inequality in India.

Moderated by Sharanjit Leyl, Presenter & Producer, BBC World News, the “Women in Leadership – Challenging the Status Quo” panel explored insights on female leadership and the importance of fostering diversity and inclusion to innovate and drive business forward. Panelists Geraldine Yip, Regional Head, Asia Pacific, Sales Practice and Content Management, Global Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC; Katy Laciny, Head of Marketing – Asia, Oceania, and Africa, Nestlé Purina Petcare; and Viksita Menon, Chief Marketing Officer/Brand GM, Consumer Products Division, L’Oréal Singapore, shared how they challenge convention, champion the female voice and support other women.

“We recognize advertising’s profound influence on the world at large, and ‘The Silk Prologue’ breakfast was an opportunity to turn our lens toward the importance of representation – and the positive impact brands, agencies and organizations can have when we listen to and recognize different voices, and create stories that celebrate intersectionality,” concluded Michael Roth.