There are so many reasons why businesses should support diversity in the workplace, they include improved productivity, greater retention, awesome innovation, a better representation of customers and ultimately (for the share holders) increases in revenue.

So why do we still see huge gender and ethnic disparities in our businesses? We all have a part to play in ensuring the scales are balanced fairly. I spoke with 6 amazing women in the email marketing industry to discover how their actions are making a difference.

This blog will inspire and motivate you to take action too – whether that’s mentoring, being part of communities, challenging policies in your workplace or simply learning from the great advice below.

Thank you to our contributors – it’s so empowering to see how you’re all striving to make a difference!

Kath PayKath Pay – Founder & Author – Holistic Email Marketing

How have you supported women in your network?

I’ve mentored women to help them increase their email marketing knowledge, recommended some women for roles, assisted with enhancing CV’s, trained some women up to become consultants and in some cases, assisted them with business development and tips to help them with their own businesses.

Additionally, to date, I also have provided women with almost 100 speaking opportunities. In the cases where this was their first speaking opportunity, I supported them in their preparation for their presentation.

Have you ever been involved in challenging diversity issues, or supporting diversity in your workplace?

My consultancy, Holistic Email Marketing, launched our online panel discussion series Email & More in June 2020, with the first discussion being: Achieving Black Diversity in Email, which (shockingly) was the first black diversity panel held ever within the email marketing industry. We then followed this up the next month with The Forgotten Women – Being Black in Email.

Natalie Rockall – Email Marketing Consultant

How have you supported women in your network?

I’m a member of a Facebook Group called Women of Email ™. With nearly 7,000 group members, the discussion around all things email is constant. The other thing that’s constant is genuine offers of help, guidance, sharing of knowledge and opinions to anyone who asks for support. I’ve never been in a group with such a wide variety of people from all across the globe, in numerous industries, in assorted roles and the conversations happening there are fascinating. I’m always happy to help people in group where I can through sharing recommendations, past experiences and my learnings. I frequently refer my clients and their teams to the group to accelerate their learning and exposure to the wonderful world of email. It’s a world that deserves to be shared.

Adeola Sole – Senior Consultant – Holistic Email Marketing

How have you supported women in your network?

I’ve mentored young women through the Ester Academy to help nurture the confidence and minds of young women from disadvantaged backgrounds who will ultimately become the future. I also mentor young professional women with career advice and how to tackle difficult situations within the workplace which has helped them greatly find their space within their teams and give them the tools to make themselves heard and open up opportunities for progression.

What three tips would you give your peers to support greater diversity in the workplace?

  1. Getting defensive when someone brings up a point of discussion is never the best approach as it limits the amount of progression that can happen.
  2. Be open minded and try to omit the unconscious bias and see people as they are, rather than where they are from.
  3. Actively ask to see a diverse range of application. Challenge the talent team to give you a fair representation of the talent that has applied.

Jeanne Jennings – CEO – Email Optimisation Shop : General Manager – Only Influencers

One thing I love about the email industry is how friendly people are. Everyone helps each other, even competitors. There are so many industry friends who support me in so many ways, women and men, but on International Women’s Day let me give a shout out to some of the ladies, in alpha order: Ada Barlatt, Kait Creamer, Heather Curcio, Nancy Harris, Samantha Iodice, Komal Helyer, Jennifer Hoth, Lisa Jones, Genevieve Longtin, April Mullen, Lauren Meyer, Kath Pay, Janet Roberts, Gretchen Scheiman, Karen Talavera, Jenna Tiffany, there are so many others…

Gender and ethnic diversity were themes for me in 2020, continuing into 2021. I’ve learned so much being a part of the Only Influencers Diversity Committee. I highly recommend having the uncomfortable discussions about diversity – and really listening to what everyone says.  That has resulted in some great work by the committee, including the very first global Diversity Research Report for the Email Marketing Industry and other ongoing actions toward a goal of increasing gender and ethnic diversity in the email industry by 2025.

Jenna Tiffany – Founder & Strategy Director – Let’s Talk Strategy

How have you supported women in your network?

I’m a mentor for many women to help develop confidence and share experiences. Sometimes this may be a case of being a sounding board of an idea, situation or challenge. I’ve been in the position, and although less so today, it still occasionally happens where I am on the only women in the room. It can be intimidating, knock your confidence and throw you off, and I’ve supported several women in my network overcome those situations with confidence.

What three tips would you give your peers to support greater diversity in the workplace?

  1. Firstly, encourage diversity. Diversity in the workplace brings together people with a range of experiences and opinions, which brings variety. This is important in the workplace and life in general.
  2. Tip two – encourage listening, input, and sharing with diverse people to broaden horizons and perspectives.
  3. Thirdly, challenging is good; this is how we grow. The most valuable conversations I’ve had are with a diverse group of people who challenge your views, and with this, you can grow as an individual. In a workplace context, this is how a business grows.

Do you think there is enough diversity in the email marketing industry? Please give your thoughts. How could the industry do better, or what does it do well.

The recent Only Influencers survey highlighted a lack of diversity. It’s refreshing to see a proactive approach being taken by holding up the mirror and critiquing ourselves as an industry. As a DMA Email Council member, I’ve witnessed an increase in diversity over the past five years. That’s not to say there isn’t more to do there is, and I think there is more to encourage new developing talent.

Nely Bonar nee Mukhamedzhanova – Managing Director – emailexpert

How have you supported women in your network?

I have a policy of not declining women who ask to speak at our events, I will always find a place for any woman with experience who wants a stage to tell her story.

Have you ever been involved in challenging diversity issues, or supporting diversity in your workplace?

I have had my fair share of experiences as a result of coming from a minority Asian background growing up in a white society. In all honesty I always find I need to work harder to prove myself and still find it challenging to discuss these issues in a public forum such as this. I have been subject to passive aggression at various times throughout my career and been targeted due to my race and/or gender.

Is there anyone you admire in the industry that stands up for diversity?

On the International stage women like Kath Pay, Komal Helyer, April Mullen and Jen Capstraw are always helping move the conversation forward in terms of DEI initiatives.

I also believe any woman who is running their own business or self educating, training or going through formal education to better their professional career is helping and is to be admired. People like Samar Owais, Kisha Robinson, Lisa Jones, Dina Ghawi, Jenna Tiffany, Kate Barrett, Tali Hasanov, Mariana Santiago and Jeanne Jennings.

I admire women who have the courage to get up on stage and share their story. I am not so comfortable doing the same. Women need to get up on stage and share their success. Women like Adeola Sole, Najmah Salam, Becca Rowles, Kait Creamer, Alyssa Nahatis, Lauren Meyer, Jennifer Cannon, Alice Cornell and so many others.

I admire the work of a huge number of women in our industry, in my own business network I am always filled with pride to see how so many Australian women seem to always be lifting each other up.

What three tips would you give your peers to support greater diversity in the workplace?

  1. Before you decide to ask someone something, think first, would you like to be asked the same question?
  2. When going through job applications try to go through the process without seeing the individuals name and gender. You might be surprised who makes it through the process. I know from experience something as simple as a family name can be a huge and needless barrier.
  3. Diversity training and anti-stereotyping initiatives are absolutely essential, even with the most limited of budgets, it has to start with HR.

Komal Helyer

Komal Helyer – VP Marketing – Pure360 : Chair – DMA Email Council

How have you supported women in your network?

Supporting women throughout their life is extremely important to me. Firstly I mentor for The Girls Network, where women from all professions volunteer to empower young girls from disadvantaged areas. These young ladies usually lack female role models in their lives and inspiring them to strive for more is so rewarding.  I also mentor other women in the industry as well as supporting many communities – These include Women of Email, Mumpreneurs, Only Influencers and Women in Tech

I am a true believer in taking action – knowing and being angered that there is a problem is a great start, but taking action will make the real difference. And however small you think that action might be will accumulatively make a huge change.