Kat Gordon, Founder, 3% Movement
On this Valentine’s Day, it feels fitting to lead with a bit of a “love letter” to our subject.
A few years back, when the jaw-dropping statistic about the lack of women creative directors at agencies became public knowledge (aka “The 3% Heard Round the World”), the entire industry took notice, and a good few people even wrung their hands in concern.
And then one person set about changing it.
Kat Gordon formed the 3% Movement to make sure the abysmal headlines would not be buried and forgotten in the industry’s rapid-fire news cycle. Now, agencies line up to get vetted for 3% certification, and the annual conference is considered a “must attend.” While we’re still far from achieving “equal playing field” status, her work has assured significant progress in that direction.
A clear trailblazer from the jump, her answers to the HIGH7 the reveal the determined spirit of someone born to inspire change.
For that, we truly “heart” her.
As a child, what was your dream job?
I wanted to be a spy. The book "Harriet the Spy" planted the seed. I loved that nosiness was a required skill for the job. In a way, being an advertising Creative Director is being nosy about what makes people tick. I just don't carry a magnifying glass like Harriet.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
I worked as an Assistant in the Advertising Sales department of USA TODAY. I learned that people notice your efforts, no matter how low on the totem pole you are, and will reward initiative.
The thing that made you excited about the industry on day one and still keeps you excited today is:
I love the challenge about using tiny increments of time (mere seconds) to captivate someone's attention. It used to be 30 seconds which seems like an eternity in today's mobile world. On the flip side, content and experiential brand campaigns let you earn longer attention by not centering the brand. It's like a finely tuned dance: what can I do to persuade you to spend a moment with me?
How would you explain what you do everyday to a child?
I help you decide what to spend your allowance on.
Describe a key pivot or defining moment in your career that ultimately landed you where you are:
The "Emperor's New Clothes" moment of watching my agency try to win a car account with sixteen men and one woman on the pitch team. The dissonance in that moment fueled my desire to start The 3% Movement.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found yourself doing for work?
I'm on so many conference calls these days that I often wear a headset so I can flat iron my hair or make the bed while listening.
Finally, the quality that makes you successful in this business is:
Someone recently came up to me after I gave a keynote and said: "You know what's amazing about you? You're powerful, but palatable." I think that's my secret weapon.