2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Joan vs. Don - Female Leadership in Digital Agencies

Written by Megan Simpson | January 20, 2014

Learn about female leadership in digital agencies from Liz Harper at SXSW 2014

This March in Austin, the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival will feature over 800 innovative sessions from presenters from around the world. This installment of the Session Spotlight explores “Joan vs. Don: Female Leadership in Digital Agencies” a Core Conversation led by Liz Harper (@lizmarieharper) of Sydney, Australia.

SXSW: What can we expect from your session?
Harper: Our Core Conversation will center around an exploration of gender roles in digital agency leadership. We want to discuss if digital agencies offer women more opportunity than traditional creative shops, where digichicks are making the biggest impact; the perception that women aren't as technical as men and if the collaborative nature of interactive makes it easier or harder for women.

SXSW: Interesting. Can you share a little bit about yourself? Have you ever presented on this topic before?
Harper: I became the General Manager and Head of Digital at Digital Arts Network Sydney (a TBWA business), at age 31. New to the (Sydney) market and new to such a large role, I'm rebuilding the team, while building the business at the same time. It's been a challenging, but amazing experience. I spoke on this topic at a local Sydney SheSays event in mid-2013.

SXSW: I see you’re sharing your Conversation with Pam Scheideler. What can you tell us about her?
Harper: Pam is an integrated production veteran with over fifteen years of interactive advertising experience. Currently the Director of Digital Production at Deutsch LA, Pam has run her own interaction production company and has worked in leadership roles at Google Creative Lab, JWT NY and [Crispin Porter and Bogusky] (http://www.cpbgroup.com). Pam loves to talk about software development methodologies, crushes on developers (she married one) and has spent a lot of time in war rooms.

SXSW: What kinds of people should be sure to see this Core Conversation?
Harper: Women and men who work in the digital agency world; especially those in leadership or who have ambitions of leadership in the future, should come see our session. Our conversation is intended to be an open, straight-talking discussion about women leaders and the path to leadership, specifically in digital agencies or digital departments within agencies that anyone can follow, even if they are unfamiliar with the topic.

SXSW: What do you hope attendees will learn from your session?
Harper: We hope to open up the conversation around gender in digital agencies a bit further. It's still very much a man's game. We're two examples of (young) exceptions – and can hopefully be empowering and motivating to even more women.

SXSW: What excites you most about presenting this Core Conversation at SXSW Interactive?
Harper: Talking about a real challenge in the agency world: sharing personal experiences, learning from others' personal experiences and a passionate discussion around a topic we care deeply for is the most exciting part.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. Register now to attend “Joan vs. Don: Female Leadership in Digital Agencies” and other programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.