On International Women’s Day, we’ve turned to our fearless leader Angie Maddox, managing partner and owner of Seed Factory, to comment on the present and future of women in the business world. We also each tried to draw her portrait in less than two minutes, an exercise that was fun but didn’t exactly produce high art. Angie was her typical graceful and positive self, and swears she loves all the drawings. See below for our portraits and a few questions and answers for International Women’s Day:
Two-minute drawings of Angie Maddox, Co-Founder of Seed Factory, by the Seed Factory staff
How does being a woman add to the already difficult position of owning and running your own business?
I think being a woman has helped significantly in the building and evolution phase of our agency. My partner (who is male) and I bring different skill sets to the business because of our genders. I have a Type A personality that is organized and process-driven, and that’s helped us to establish big-agency practices within our small-agency business model. I fortunately have not seen any sort of sexism or discrimination thus far as a female business owner, though I have noticed at times that I’m outnumbered by men in the room. However, I see that as a positive because it means I bring a different perspective to the table, especially when we are targeting females for a campaign.
As a female leader, how do you contribute to a future with more equality between men and women in the workplace?
The nature of our business is that we have seen traditionally more men in advertising, while women seem to dominate the PR space. We’ve had a lot of team members over the years that are non-traditional, such as a female designer and male PR pro, but I like the dynamics of different people in unexpected roles because of the unique perspective that each person brings to the table. We look for highly creative individuals to join our team, regardless of their gender – the same way that race, religion or other cultural identities never factor into our hiring decisions.
I do love to see women supporting each other in the workplace and figure out how to bring out the best in each person. No one can be perfect at everything but each person has something incredibly special to offer.
What advice would you give to women just starting out in our industry?
Build strong relationships and align yourself with leaders that you respect. One of my all-time favorite managers reiterated that in my career, “it’s all about the relationships.” This couldn’t be more true. Take the time to meet with a colleague or client consistently (lunches and dinners outside the office are important), identify a mentor and build relationships with peers. The strongest relationships I have today are built on knowing and trusting people for 10+ years. A few other reminders:
- Bring solutions, not complaints.
- Respond to emails within the same business day.
- Always come prepared to every meeting (and allow for that prep time in your schedule!).
- Keep lists (just because we have more developed brains than men doesn’t mean we can remember everything).
- Invest in your writing and communications. If you are in PR. you already know that 70% of what we do is writing. That includes knowing how to write with a specific target audience in mind.
Celebrate #InternationalWomensDay, recognize women in the workplace, and support women-owned businesses!