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#WomensMonth: Linda Notelovitz, embrace the difference between man and woman

By Jessica Tennant, 29 August 2020, Biz Community

As part of our Women's Month content feature and in the build-up to our panel discussion with some of this year's Gerety Awards all-female South African executive jury members, taking place in September, Jessica Tennant, senior editor: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity, interviews this year's jury to find out what a woman has to do to get onto an advertising jury, what the opportunity means to them and the significance of these Awards given the current state of gender equality...

The Gerety Awards, founded by Joe Brooks and Lucia Ongay is relatively new, having launched in 2019. It brings together all-female juries from across the globe to shortlist the best in advertising – all advertising, not just advertising made for women – through the female lens.

The Awards was named after Frances Gerety, the copywriter who coined the slogan ‘a diamond is forever’. So, instead of categories, the Awards are judged by cuts (as in diamond cuts), of which there are 10.

This year, there are a total of 180 new jury members from 30 different countries. Pre-Covid-19, judging sessions were hosted in each host city and the shortlists submitted to the international grand jury of creative experts for final evaluation, but of course this year’s judging sessions are having to take a different format. Joe Brooks explains that “the judging would have taken place at the VMLY&R offices, with Jacquie as the ambassador. The date had been set for Monday, 1 June and we would have judged and discussed a number of categories of entries from around the world. The same week judging sessions would have taken place in London, New York, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Melbourne, Milan, Istanbul, Helsinki and Berlin. Due to the ‘Corona’, all judging is taking place remotely and online over a four-week period with group calls in the middle of the judging to discuss favorite pieces.”

This year’s South African executive jury includes: Jacquie Mullany, ECD, VMLY&R; Mpume Ngobese, MD, Joe Public; Sanche Jansen van Rensburg, ECD, Avatar; Simone Bosman, founder and creative, Osu & Kumalo; Neo Segola, ECD, FCB Africa; Sarah Dexter, CEO, Mullen Lowe; Nadia Mohamed, marketing director, McCain; Emma Strydom, head of design, Network BBDO; Juliet Honey, creative, Freelance; Suhana Gordhan, ECD, FCB; Linda Notelovitz, director/producer and founder, Life Design; Liezel Bygate, marketing director, Bliss Brands; Monalisa Zwambila, CEO, Riverbed; Loli Bishop, producer, Freelance; and Fiona O'Connor, creative director, Havas. Look out for our online panel discussion featuring some of these remarkable women in advertising in September after the shortlists have been announced.

Here, LifeDesign's founder and director/producer Linda Notelovitz says that…

The Awards recognise the best advertising (not just advertising made for women) through the female lens. Comment on the significance of this given the current state of feminism / gender equality / women’s empowerment.

Notelovitz: Firstly, I reject any notion of women being inferior. I do, however, embrace our difference. There is no need for outrage nor division, but support in how to better embrace this difference and utilise the beauty of this very difference as the contribution that opens hearts and eyes, that finds innovation in the space it creates by its very being and enables the world to produce excellence.

As part of its call for entries campaign, the Awards sent purple moustaches to prominent female leaders in the advertising industry, and asked them to pose for a picture with the question: What does a woman have to do to get onto an advertising jury? How would you answer that question – what does a woman have to do to get onto an advertising jury?

Notelovitz: Be good at her job, care about how she does her work and what she puts out into the world. Her role as a communicator carries with it a responsibility.

What did you think of the campaign?

Notelovitz: Amusing, but I do have an internal struggle with the need to perpetuate the division or apparent disadvantage of being a woman. For as long as we, women recognise it as such, it retains a power over us. However, I do not necessarily have a solution to the patriarchal norms that exist within all industries and society's view of the world...

What are you most looking forward to or excited about with regards to taking part in this year’s Gerety Awards judging?

Notelovitz: An opportunity to be authentic when judging work or questioning the role of advertising and looking for feeling in the communication in order to encourage the next right action.

What is your hope for the next or future generations of women in advertising / the advertising industry?

Notelovitz: To not have to have special organisations in place in order to be recognised nor to enforce selection of women creators, but for the benefit of our, women's natural contribution to be known.

And what is your key message to fellow women in advertising this Women’s Month?

Notelovitz: Stop apologising. Support one another to be better humans so that we can be better creators. The assumption that women did not do work traditionally held by society is simply untrue. Woman either hid it or did not talk about it much. The notion that women in powerful positions are less likeable than men in similar positions should not be entertained, and if so, soon the notion will disappear altogether. Female accomplishment should be seen as accomplishment, not as an accomplishment by a woman.

Original Article Published in Biz Community:


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