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.
First up is Bloom President Lucy Cutter.
Why is Bloom different?
Bloom is a network of women who are the real voices of our industry. We have open and honest conversations, we talk about taboo topics, we aren’t frightened to challenge and we strive to ensure that every women has equal opportunity within our industry. We are a volunteer network who really care and are driven to drive change.
Why did you join Bloom and what do you want to achieve there this year?
I joined Bloom 4 years ago to build my network with likeminded women. I wanted a network which would help me grow both personally and professionally. A network which would help me grow my confidence and courage. I also wanted to pay it forward to our future female leaders with sharing my knowledge, skills and experience which I did so through our 300+ mentoring programme.
This year is a pivotal year on the back of Covid and the BLM movement in 2020. As a past president said to me yesterday, the spotlight is on Bloom this year which is exciting. I want to increase our membership and mentoring programme, I want to put actions to words in terms of spearheading change through our allyship programme on gender equality and intersectionality. There is so much I would love to achieve, but an important goal for Bloom is to raise as much money as possible for Women’s Aid. In 2020 we raised 50k!
How do you think we translate all the talk into genuine, tangible action?
There are so many ways to do this. It’s about driving attention to the subject, it’s about discussion in an open forum and it’s about creating every day actions which people can take back into their organisation or personal life to make change
This could be anything from being a support, offering advice or creating policies change. Our Exchange programme (a cross-gender mentoring programme with senior men across the industry) in particular has helped both genders translate the talk into everyday actions.
What are the biggest issues facing women in the communications industry today?
From reaching out to our Bloom network some of the biggest issues facing women in our industry today are women’s health (for example Fertility and Menopause), lack of female role models in the industry and the lack of diversity within the industry but especially at the top when you look at boards and c-level executives.
Over and above this you have the impact of covid “stereo-typical” gender roles and also sexism which is still rife in the industry – look at the recent Government stay at home messaging which still portrays the female as the 1950s housewife. I know it was taken down but this should never have happened in the first place.
What has been your personal biggest achievement in addressing such issues?
Our members at Bloom in the last year have created support networks for our members which gives us a collective voice to tackle such issues externally whilst also support each other internally at Bloom. These are included (and I only touch on a couple) are Bloom in Colour and Bloom Wombs. The Exchange (a cross gender mentoring programme) was also set up two years ago to engage senior men in the industry on the conversation around gender equality across our industry.
We also have the Booth of Truth, which was launched in 2017 which invites men and women to anonymously share stories and barriers to their success in the industry.
Personally for me, I’ve spoken at two events on miscarriage and baby loss in the workplace. Women’s health, in whatever form it takes is rarely spoken about in the workplace. Being able to tell my story and support others is one step closer to us being able to tackle this taboo and help others who might be going through the same.
Who is your hero when it comes to the work they have done to tackle such issues?
Sally Keane is a huge role model. She was the Bloom President in 2020 and was named in the Hero’s 100 Future Leaders for championing diversity and inclusion as well as multiple other trailblazer awards for championing women in the industry. She has also spoken on many panels at Bloom tackling women’s health and parenting. She has been a huge inspiration and a unofficial mentor throughout by years of being a Bloom member.
Can you envisage a future where Bloom no longer needs to exist?
Absolutely not! Bloom is now in its 11th year and every year our membership grows. Whether its tackling intersectionality or gender equality there will always be a need for women supporting other women in this space.
What is your biggest hope and biggest fear for the change Bloom wants to drive in 2021?
My biggest hope is that we drive real action this year. I want us as a group of women to walk the talk and have real impact in the industry through what we do – whether that be PR or policy. I would love us to increase our membership, increase the diversity of our membership and increase our mentoring programme to have as much reach across the industry as this is how we can drive change.
My biggest fear is that we won’t be able to achieve everything, we are a volunteer network after all. We have just finished our 2021 planning session and our members have so many great ideas it’s about how we prioritise as there is so much to do!