Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Digital Women – Ellie Edwards-Scott: “Let’s talk opportunities first, the opportunities for women in this industry are huge”

NDA’s Digital Women series is talking to leaders from across our industry to understand the particular challenges, and opportunities faced by women. First up is Ellie Edwards-Scott, Co-Founder, The Advisory Collective, who has partnered with NDA for the launch of Digital Women.

Why did you launch Digital Leading Ladies, what were you hoping to achieve?

Digital Leading Ladies was founded in 2018 with the aim to be an inclusive group of mid to senior level women in the industry. We have members from brands, agencies, publishers and tech providers, yet have created a ‘safe’ space where members can share ideas, promote opportunities (such as speaking or networking opps) seek advice and connect.

The main group has over 250 members, and we have spin-off groups such as DLL Kids – for working mums, DLL Health, addressing mental and physical wellness, and even a DLL Pets chat (don’t ask me about that one, I’m not in it!).

We’ve achieved a lot over the last few years. As well as helping women to be more visible in the industry on panels and at events,  we’ve also raised money for multiple charities and good causes.

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities for women in the industry today?

Let’s talk opportunities first, the opportunities for women in this industry are huge.

One of the many things that I love about the industry is that it’s so multi-faceted with new technologies and emerging platforms. There is so much potential and you are always learning.

A challenge, however, is that sadly some of these opportunities are kept within a small network of individuals and it can sometimes be hard for women to get the exposure and visibility that’s needed to capitalise on them.

It’s one of the reasons that I was excited to co-launch Digital Women, to give a platform for women in the industry – of all levels to talk about issues that particularly impact us, share knowledge and to help women to find their voice.

What does the industry need to do to better champion women?

We have some great networks that exist. As well as DLL I am also a member of TWIPN (the women in programmatic network) and am working alongside a couple of senior industry ladies to create a network for Black and Brown women in the industry. We’re currently in Beta mode but have already created a ‘safe’ space to learn and share.

As well as having these groups we need more male allies and champions to lift up and promote women.

The industry has a gender pay gap issue which needs to be addressed – it’s currently stands at over 10%. There is also the issue of the ‘perception gap’ that was highlighted by the recent MEFA Measures survey – basically Black and Asian people have a worse outlook on progression, equal treatment and a visible increase in ethnic minorities than their white counterparts. I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years, things are changing but not quickly enough….we need people to do, rather than just talk!

You  work with companies across the digital ecosystem – what are the biggest challenges, and opportunities overall for digital advertising this year?

One of the challenges that our industry has always faced, but that has become more pronounced since Covid is the skills gap. There is a particular issue with entry/junior level but I see this as a real opportunity to widen the talent pool that we are looking to recruit from. I think some companies will have to work a little bit harder to attract and retain talent Gen Z are discerning and want a company to work as hard to get them as they have to work to get the job. They are also more inclined to look into things such as CSR and inclusivity.

This does give a real opportunity though as there are companies such as Digilearning and Brixton Finishing School that are providing pathways into the industry for young people.


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