Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Digital Women: Michelle Sarpong, Head of Display, Audio and OOH Activation, the7stars

What is your role at The7Stars and what are you hoping to achieve?

My role is Head of Display, Audio and OOH Activation and I am responsible for providing our clients with channel agnostic solutions based solely on reaching the right audiences at the right times.

I oversee the unique investment team and foster a collaborative working approach across our agency, clients and suppliers, with digital transformation at the heart.

What I am hoping to achieve is to create spaces where people can truly thrive across the7stars and across the wider advertising industry.

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

The biggest challenge for women in digital is that there simply aren’t enough of us at the decision-making level. We have been highlighting this for years and yet progress in this area has been very slow.

However, here at the7stars we are leading by example with 50% of our senior leadership made up of females, including our directors, and our CEO.  We are also increasingly well represented across our digital teams with our Social and PPC and all led by females.

The biggest opportunity for women in digital right now is the relentless pace of change and evolution. This in theory should create various opportunities for women to climb the ladder and access a seat at the table.

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

The industry needs more authentic allies supporting and championing women. This cannot be a token gesture or a sound bite because it makes you look good. Here at the7stars all staff complete allyship training every year to provide us with the knowledge and tools to become a true ally.  

We all know the importance of allies in order to make tangible changes. To overturn inequalities on a systemic level across any intersect, we need people coming alongside us to help understand it, admit it, and drive the change needed, together.

What is your biggest achievement in digital to date?

My biggest achievement in digital to date is spearheading the brand-new activation team here at the7stars where digital underpins every channel. Helping clients to digitally mature and become more resilient and better able to navigate rapid change. The activation team spans 4 channels from Audio to OOH which is unique and future-facing in its approach.

I am proud of the work I have done to nurture female and diverse talent both within the7stars and the agency world more broadly through mentorship programmes such as Media for All. I mentor several individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, across a range of disciplines and I think it is important to inspire and empower young female talent in an investment world that remains predominantly white and male.