Kat Gordon, 3% Conference Founder

The 3% Conference: A passion project that became a movement

Kat Gordon worked for 20 years as a Copywriter/Creative Director and saw firsthand how women were often left out of pitches and important meetings. She describes the “Ultimate Emperor’s New Clothes Moment” of her life as the day her agency pitched the Saab car account with 16 men and one woman and then was mystified why they didn’t get the business.

Years later, as Kat ran her own agency that specializes in marketing to women, she became aware of the snowballing power of the female consumer.

“There are only three consumer categories where men dominate purchases, yet agencies still talk about ‘women’s accounts’ as mops and makeup. The truth is that women are the superset, not the subset, and the rate at which women are amassing wealth and exerting influence is unprecedented. Yet the work that is supposed to motivate them springs almost entirely from a male perspective. The advertising business is a $33 billion industry. Misunderstanding female consumers, from a business perspective, is sheer lunacy.”

After years of wondering “why isn’t someone addressing this as the huge business issue it is?” Kat slowly realized that perhaps she was that someone. She began researching the many reasons why women only represent 3% of Creative Directors. Most of the issues start with a two-word phrase: lack of. Lack of support for motherhood, lack of mentorship, lack of awareness that femaleness is an asset to connecting to the consumer marketplace today, lack of celebration of female work due to gender bias of award juries, lack of women negotiating their first agency salary and every one thereafter.

Kat then put together an agenda to combat these issues with an equally powerful two-word phrase: how to. The 3% Conference teaches men and women in agencies and on the client side how to address these issues in new ways and offers something that has been sorely lacking for female creatives: a sense of community.

3% Conference Panel

The 3% Movement Manifesto

Diversity = Creativity = Profitability.

The more varied the people who come up with ideas, the more varied the ideas will be. And since women control the majority of consumer spending and social sharing, it only makes sense to involve them in the creative process.

Yet, until the 3% Movement came along, only 3% of Creative Directors were women.

The 3% Conference Today

This year’s annual fall conference will be held in NYC on October 26th and 27th, 2015. Learn more and register here.

Launched on September 27, 2012, the 3% Conference has exploded into a 2-day, 400-person event in San Francisco, multi-city road shows throughout the year, a vibrant online community on multiple social platforms, a student scholarship fund, a creative award, and a business blog to support the crusade.

The mission is to support more female creative leadership in advertising agencies because:

  • Female consumers deserve to be marketed to from a place of understanding
  • Brands deserve to not have their marketing budgets wasted in a 97% testro-fest
  • Everyone – especially children — deserve a healthier media diet in the 3,000 ads they consume daily

Men and women alike are welcome to be part of The 3%. Folks from agencies, from the client side, recruiters, junior creatives and ad students will all benefit from the 3% agenda and community.

There are also upcoming 3% MiniCons in Miami, London, Portland, and Minneapolis this year.

Source: 3% Conference

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