Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Ally Tyger, Bloom Head of Exchange, on the need for male allies in driving change

Bloom, the professional network for women in the communications industry, recently announced its new leadership team. To celebrate the amazing work Bloom does, NDA is running a series of interviews with the team, discussing the organisation’s work, its successes and how it plans to help with the multiple issues women still face in our industry.

Next up is Ally Tyger, Bloom Head of Exchange and D&I Lead at Elmwood.

Why did you join Bloom, and what do you want to achieve there this year?

I’m relatively new to Bloom. I joined last year because I’m passionate about paying it forward.  I also saw this as an opportunity to force myself out of my introverted comfort zone and a way to expand my network. I’ve already made some amazing friendships too, I can’t wait to meet them all in person! 

2021 see’s me becoming Head of The Exchange, a cross-gender co-mentoring programme. At the end of last year’s programme, we saw an incredible 493% increase from our male allies providing them with more clarity on driving actioning change. This year, I will continue to encourage and support our male allies as well as aiming to provide our co-mentors with more confidence in driving change within their organisations. Finally, I would also like to build our Exchange community internally and beyond the programme itself, so this is key a focus for us this year.

Alongside The Exchange, I have the opportunity to be a visible change I want to see across our industry. Being a Black woman there are so few people who look like me in senior leadership roles, so I realise the significance of being a role model and being yourself as much as you can.

How do you think we translate all the talk into genuine, tangible action? 

For me, it comes down to putting people at the heart of your strategy, using empathy, looking at the language we’re using, continuing to embrace dialogues with different perspectives to help force behaviour change, embedding it into everything you do and pushing for policy / legislative changes where needed. Though, having the conviction and commitment to welcome courage over comfort is so important, especially as we’re going to make mistakes along the way. This is when authentic action happens.

Why do you think the gender pay gap actually went up in a lot of agencies last year? 

Before 2020, we were already struggling to get to grips with tackling the gender pay disparity in our industry and nationally. The pandemic forced us to re-examine the gender balance in the home as it hit women’s careers harder and widened the gender pay gap. Ironically, last year was the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act! Without agencies making this a business priority, coupled with compulsory gender pay gap reporting not being enforceable until later this year, I feel they  have been able to hide from the reality.

What are the biggest issues facing women in the communications industry today?

This is a tough one, so I’ve picked three.

1. I feel we need to break down our male-centric workplaces and redefine masculinity, so getting men to dive in, share the load and help us make a change is vital. 

2. I know addressing female retention is another area we should be focusing on – too many women are leaving our industry. This is a real shame.

3. And then there’s diversity and being inclusive.

There’s a lot to unpack.

What has been your personal biggest achievement in addressing such issues?

My biggest achievement has been finding my voice and being at the forefront of change within my agency for D&I. I also regularly go ‘back to school’ to inspire young women to consider a career within creative industries and encourage them to believe that they ‘can’.

Who is your hero when it comes to the work they have done to tackle such issues?

Sereena Abbassi. At one of Bloom’s talks about four years ago, I heard Sereena speak about her work within diversity and inclusion and the challenges we face within our industry. She doesn’t know it, but her work and story have inspired me to find my voice and follow a more purposeful career.

Can you envisage a future where Bloom no longer needs to exist? 

Not at all; Bloom is flourishing, even virtually! It’s a place where you can learn and grow without fear of judgement. This will always be needed.   

More than ever, women genuinely supporting other women is needed; I know I’ve benefited from this. And it’s refreshing.

 As we emerge from the pandemic, the challenges of the gender divide and inequalities faced within marginalised communities have been laid bare. Bloom will continue to be a safe heaven and an advocate. We’re all more conscious, but, consciousness alone as we know, does not create change. Bloom has a pivotal role as we move forwards in helping drive those every day and seismic actions. Feeling the impact of these things will take time.

What is your biggest hope and biggest fear for the change Bloom wants to drive in 2021?

I hope that our diverse 2021 leadership team is an inspiration to our members, women of colour and industry leaders for the change we need to see more widely.

Our Bloom community has been source of strength for me over the last year when I’ve needed it, and as we’ve grown a lot this year; my biggest fear is ensuring we’re still there to support our members both professionally and personally.