In conversation: Jennifer DaSilva and Kemi Green
Bravery as the key to success
President of Berlin Cameron Jennifer DaSilva and WPP Stream Manager Kemi Green discuss the importance of mentorship and why bravery over perfection is the key to success.
Kemi Green, Stream Manager, WPP:
Joining WPP opened my eyes to how many different trajectories there are within the industry. There are so many different roles and skillsets and one of my favourite things about working for Stream is that we sit in the middle and we get to work with everyone.
You’ve worked at WPP for 15 years – I wanted to ask about your experience of rising through the ranks?
Jennifer DaSilva, President at Berlin Cameron:
I’ve always had a lot of female bosses at WPP, so I always saw that I could get to the next level. I feel extremely thankful for that.
KG: Did you have any mentors?
JD: I don’t think you can do anything without mentors along the way. Without explicitly labelling it, I’ve always had a personal board of advisors. From friends and people I’ve met in the industry to past bosses. I think that those relationships are so important to foster in your career. I think it is so important that mentorship is a two-way dialogue. Just as much as those people are there for me, I need to be doing the same thing for them. Even if they are more senior, I might be helping them with reaching a different demographic or give a different perspective on a challenge.
KG: I’ve never formally labelled anyone as a mentor but it’s always the same people you find yourself going back to and asking for advice.
JD: Our director of culture at Berlin Cameron is much younger and more junior, and she’s one of my mentors. She helps me to understand how we should be shaping the activities that we do at Berlin Cameron.
It is so important that mentorship is a two-way dialogue
KG: Are there any campaigns you’ve worked on which you’re particularly proud of?
JD: We have a division at Berlin Cameron called Girl Brands Do It Better and we’ve been working with female founders to help them build their branding and content. It’s very rewarding.
One of the campaigns was for the inclusive architectural swimwear brand Chromat where we rewrote a new set of Pool Rules: Intolerance Not Tolerated, Body Policing Prohibited, Scars and Stretch Marks Welcome, All Abilities Accepted, Food-Shaming Not Permitted, Body Hair Appreciated, Celebrate Cellulite, No Age Restrictions, Respect Preferred Pronouns, and Unrestricted LGBTQ+ PDA.
Everyone has such a different body type and we wanted to celebrate this. The campaign was covered by over 50 media sites and sales went up 38%. I think that’s the beauty of where things are moving to in advertising – more and more of the ads you see are going to reflect you.
Your network is the web that’s going to hold you up and support you throughout your journey. You’ll need it more at some points than others and it’s so important to be building it along the way
What about you?
KG: One thing I focus on as part of my role with Stream is helping local teams run events. Whether it’s India, Indonesia, South Africa or Kenya, we support them to put together the best event possible. Since I’ve been in my role we’ve launched Latin America, Stream Commerce, we’re launching Kenya this year, and every time we do it I’m terrified but then to see it come to life is so special.
Do you have any advice to women who aspire to be in your kind of role?
JD: I think the head of Girls Who Code says this very well. She talks about bravery and not perfection and I think that that’s incredibly important for all of us to think about.
We’re taught to be perfect and not to take risks when we grow up. I want to see more women taking those leaps of faith. But you need to do that with a backing. Your network is the web that’s going to hold you up and support you throughout your journey. You’ll need it more at some points than others and it’s so important to be building it along the way.
08 March 2019