Celebrating Women in the Workplace and Beyond | FIRST After Hours

FIRST After Hours is a series of internal events here at FIRST, giving our teams opportunities to connect with colleagues and be part of content-driven insightful discussions. During these events, panels of team members (and sometimes outside speakers) delve into thought-provoking topics that we don’t always make the time for during working hours.

Our March “After Hours” events brought teams together in recognition of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. FIRST hosted panel discussions in both our New York and London Agency offices to bring together experienced voices and perspectives with female leaders both inside the organization as well as guest speakers from our network of partners. Our panelists shared insights and words of wisdom on how they create a work-life balance, how the industry has evolved for women through the years, and how we can support women personally and professionally. 

Jennifer Kauf, Global Head of Marketing & Creative, led the conversations in each market. Jen invited panelists to share their backgrounds and highlight the difficulties, triumphs, and accomplishments of their career and personal paths, as well as advice.

Our FIRST “After Hours” in the London office featured guest speakers,  Josephine Sommers, Head of Global Sales at Lore Group; Cathy Joyce, Sales Director at DMC Advantage; as well as FIRST presenters Melanie Martin, Team Lead, and Maggie Connolly, Head of Agency.

During our FIRST After Hours in New York, the panelists included FIRST team members Deb Gildersleeve, Chief Information Officer; Bianca Francois, Event Management Team Lead; Shivann Burggren, SVP of Operations; and external guest speaker Christina Morris, Global Luxury Account Executive at Marriott.

Both discussions explored each panelist’s professional journey,  the importance of mentorship, inspiring women who have shaped their careers and lives, and the ripple effect women have on one another to inspire, support, and lead.  The discussion also included strategies for achieving work-life balance and self-care, as well as the crucial support of allies. Participants concluded by offering advice to their younger selves, emphasizing themes of resilience, self-belief, and seizing growth opportunities amidst evolving workplace dynamics.

The impact of each discussion is perfectly captured in the final advice from our London conversation to “Be Bold!”