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Bloom Vice President Siobhan Brunwin on the need for focus to drive 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 Siobhan Brunwin, Bloom Vice President, and People Director at MullenLowe Group.

Why is Bloom different? 

There is a really strong sense of authenticity, we talk candidly about the messy bits of life, the things that make life hard, the things that effect how we show up at work and at home. That, coupled with a real desire to be positive changemakers through mentoring, supporting women’s aid and developing one another.

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

The two main reasons I joined Bloom: I was very keen to grow my personal network and because of the tireless fundraising work they do for Women’s Aid, a cause which is personally very important to me. This year we are definitely focusing on building out our community, as we know over this past very difficult year the Bloom community has been such an important tool for our members.

I am also really excited to see the development of our resource groups, smaller sub-groups set up by our members to support the different intersectionality of the women of Bloom such as race and ethnicity (Bloom in Colour), sexual orientation (Bloom Pride), neurodiversity or specific challenges/ life stages that our members are going through whether that’s parents, women’s health issues (Bloom Wombs) or menopause and ageism (M Power).

All of these groups serve as fantastic communities within our community to help support each other and educate the wider Bloom network.

How can we translate all the talk in this area into genuine, tangible action? 

With focus. There is still a LOT to do, and women can’t and shouldn’t be doing this on their own. We need all men to be active participants and help create change, because when things are more equal its going to be better for everyone.

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

It’s getting better but still the lack of role models, particularly if you look across the industry, and the lack of women over 50. It’s difficult to think you have a long-term future in the industry if women seem to be disappearing once they have gained such phenomenal experience.

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

Setting up The Exchange programme in 2019 with my co-founder Victoria Brooks. Like most good ideas it’s so simple – it’s a cross gender mentoring scheme taking Bloom women and C-Suite men across the industry, we pair them up and they mentor each other to understand the unique issues each other is facing due to their gender.

Now we are going into our third year and honestly the power of the process is extraordinary – participants’ eyes are left wide open, we’ve had policies changed, people’s attitudes completely shifting and long-lasting mentoring friendships are formed all through candid conversations.  

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

I have made some lifelong friends through Bloom – that need for a community, a group of people who just want to make things better is so powerful and important – why would we ever not want to be part of that?!

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

We have our biggest membership ever this year – nearly 500 women which is incredible. We have an incredible leadership team that my biggest fear is that we have so many plans, will we get to action all of them? We are all volunteers after all!

My biggest hope is that we continue to grow and develop our beautiful community and of course give Women’s Aid another huge donation. 

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