"YOU ARE ENOUGH" - Interview to Gloria Bertazzoni
Interview by Rossella Forlè
I met Gloria the first time at one of the Ladies, Wine and Design events in South London and it was like I knew her since long time.
Ladies Wine and Design is a conversation series for London creatives. It was started by Jessica Walsh an American graphic designer, art director and illustrator, and a partner at creative agency Sagmeister & Walsh. When she realised that sometimes peers can be competitive or unsupportive of one another and that only a small percentage of creative directors are women or non-binary, she launched Ladies Wine & Design and decided to change this through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, talks, and creative meetups.
Gloria is not just an incredible and talented creative but also the London chapter leader of Ladies, Wine and Design. I love her energy and the amazing work she is doing with this organisation and her ideas around female leadership and women supporting women at work.
That’s why when I decided to launch the first We Hate Pink event in London, I though she would be perfect for the panel, I believe she can give so much as creative and as woman. This interview will talk through her career from the beginning and gives some really cool and practical advices on work and life.
Introduce yourself …
Hello, I’m Gloria, Italiana living in London. I’m a Digital Creative Manager at Universal Pictures International and one of the organisers of the Ladies Wine and Design chapter in London.
What’s your background?
I studied cinema, advertising and media at IULM university in Milan and then attended the IED master in Art Direction & Copywriting. The boom of social media got me curious to discover different and new ways of advertising online (my dissertation was on banners! Yeah, banners were a big deal back then) this led me to a digital advertising job at We Are Social Milano.
After few years I moved to London to start working at the BBC. I had the great opportunity to work on the company’s digital campaigns and learn about the fascinating world of series and documentaries production. I recently jumped from TV to Cinema and started working at Universal Pictures International, where I now create the film’s social campaigns for EMEA, LATAM and APAC countries.
What inspired you as a creative woman?
Advertising, and especially advertising on digital, means that you have to be always awake and aware of what is going on in the world, what is trending, what are people talking about, you have to be extremely creative and innovative as everything changes constantly.
On top of that you need to remember that you are the audience as well, you are a human being so your feelings are the best creative insights and your family and your friends are the best focus groups. I also love to learn new things, I always try to challenge myself with something new, in the last couple of years I’ve done ballet, longboarding, calligraphy, acting, and I’m trying to learn to play the guitar and tennis. And my wishlist is still really long... (Any suggestion welcome!)
You have been working for big brands such as We Are Social, BBC, and now Universal Pictures, what’s your advice to a young creative woman that it is starting her career now?
Well, my advice would be to TRY it. Sometimes fear of failure, self-doubts, and other people’s opinions hold us from achieving our goals, and that is exactly the reason why you HAVE TO TRY IT.
Stepping outside of the comfort zone hurts, it’s not easy and it will take time but even if you don’t achieve what you were hoping for, you would have probably learned something from it. So put yourself out there, ignore that little voice in the back of your head and try it!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made on your job or on your business, and how did you get through it?
It’s funny because I would never label something as a mistake. I was so lucky to have had good managers that never pointed at something that I’ve done calling it “wrong” or “mistake” but that always asked me “what can we learn from this and what can we do to make it better next time?”.
When a child falls from a bike while learning to cycle, we would never call it a mistake but as his/her path to learning better. Making mistakes sometimes is the best (and quickest) way for learning and growing up. So to answer your questions, I make mistakes every single day at work, and I’m glad I do.
While women make up 46% of the advertising industry, they account for just 11% of creative directors. Why do you think is happening?
It’s a series of elements that, all together, make those numbers.
Women tend to apply to jobs only if they think they have absolutely all the skills required.
They tend to be more insecure and doubtful.
Women are told to be perfect from an early age, and they constantly live with the perception of not being enough for the standards imposed.
This translates into work: I’m not 100% perfect for the job so I won’t apply.
Another cause is the recruiting process, in which unconscious biases come to play, they tend to fall into paths and recruit the same kind of profile as they know it would be a good fit, reducing diversity for both gender and cultural/ethnicity backgrounds.
The hiring managers then are the ones that make the final call and unfortunately, being 89% males, most of the time they tend to to hire someone that reminds them of themselves: a man.
We then move into the mid weight/senior positions, usually around late 20es/30es in which, in some cases women decide to go on maternity leave, leaving the position for a year or so, years that are fundamental for promotions, that will automatically go to their male colleagues that are not having the long break.
Not to mention the everyday life, the challenge of raising your voice in an intimidating room full of men, the inappropriate “banter” jokes, the preconception that women can only do women things and men can only do men things, and the fact that until a while ago women DID believe that they couldn’t do it and never even tried to argue that.
Said that, things are now changing, we see it everyday, all the roles mentioned above are more aware about the unconscious behaviours and are working towards a more balanced landscape, but we need to keep talking about it, at least until those numbers will be equal.
I met you the first time at the Ladies, Wine and Design event in London. As London chapter leader, can you describe it to someone who may not be familiar with it?
Ladies Wine and Design London it’s a no profit organisation founded by Jessica Walsh in New York. Everything started from a simple idea: a group of 6 to 8 women, drinks and chats about design and creativity. It quickly escalated and more chapters started across the globe and it’s basically worldwide now.
I run the London one alongside Emilie Chen, Helen Friel, Lisa Goff and Mireia Lopez. We organise monthly events with different formats tailored around our community and its needs: big meet ups for networking, tête a tête meeting with women creative directors, portfolio reviews for students, and events themed around topics like gender inclusion, diversity, career changes and mental health... It’s like a second job sometimes! But it pays off: we are providing role models to young women and a safe space to discuss the challenges of the creative world. And we as organisers learn every single day from our ladies, it’s such an inspiring thing to do!
Share a quote/advice that you’d like to tell to your younger self.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
For my entire life I struggled with self doubt.
I never feel good enough, smart enough, creative enough. It started in my early teenage years and I still feel like that sometimes. And even if sometimes it helps because it pushes me to do more and more, some other times I need to slow down and remind myself of what I achieved. So if I could, I’d just sit down with my younger self and tell little Gloria that she is enough.
Join our London event
2 May, 2019
We Are Social, 14-18 Finsbury Square EC2A 1BR, London
Gloria started her journey as Digital Designer at We Are Social Milano in Italy, to quickly discover her love for advertising and Entertainment. She then moved to London to work as Art Director and Digital Creative at BBC, where she created and executed online integrated campaigns for BBC's shows and documentaries.
She is now Digital Creative Manager at Universal Pictures International delivering online advertising and marketing campaigns for the company's films for EMEA, LATAM and APAC countries.
Gloria is also one of the hosts of Ladies, Wine & Design London, a non-profit worldwide organisation that aims to empower women in the creative industry through meet-ups networking, and themed events.