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Women’s Equality Day 2016: Celebrating Our Female Leaders at Walker Sands

It’s no secret that public relations is a female dominated industry, and here at Walker Sands we like to think we have some of the best women in the business!  While there’s still work to be done in regards to the prevalence of female leaders in PR (and just about every industry), we aim to create a culture of equality and provide our employees - men and women alike - with the resources to succeed and grow.  In honor of Women’s Equality Day, we wanted to take some time to celebrate some of our female leaders and highlight their experience at Walker Sands.

Ellen-HansonEllen Hanson

Ellen is one of our fearless leaders, founders and COO of Walker Sands.  She’s a jack of all trades and keeps our agency running on a daily basis.

How long have you worked at Walker Sands? 15 years

As a woman, what makes your proud to say you work at Walker Sands?

Walker Sands is a place where anyone and everyone can excel by working hard and being a good teammate.  The leadership team is 100% behind moving current employees up the management ladder.

What woman/women in the business world do you admire and why?

I really admire Dominique Jordan Turner, CEO and President of Chicago Scholars, a nonprofit working with Chicago Public School students. From her start in the Peace Corp to her current trip to the White House she has always worked for a better world.  Seeing her make major presentations and working a room of city leaders is a real inspiration.

Erin-JordanErin Jordan

Erin is an account director on our retail tech team, a Loyola Chicago alum and is a great example of what it means to rise through the ranks at Walker Sands -- she started as an intern!

How long have you worked at Walker Sands? 4.5 years

As a woman, what makes your proud to say you work at Walker Sands?

Opportunities for leadership and growing/building a practice area. There’s also plenty of opportunity to help others grow in their careers.

Are there any areas in the field of PR where you'd like to see improve for women?

While PR is a women-driven field, the majority of the top positions in organizations, primarily in agencies, are filled by men. There needs to be more examples that we can look up to and learn from, and we are responsible for doing a better job of making sure that happens for the women we're coaching to become leaders in the future.

Sarah-DietzeSarah Dietze

Sarah is an account director on our MarTech team, a Loyola alum and has a passion for vintage style.

How long have you worked at Walker Sands? 3 years

As a woman, what makes your proud to say you work at Walker Sands?

Honestly, I'm proud to work at an agency that's a little more diverse, gender-wise, meaning that guys work here. More importantly, we have a culture that isn't stereotypically female (or male, or gendered, for that matter).

What woman/women in the business world do you admire and why?

Laura Byrnes, founder of Pinup Girl Clothing. She's ruthless -- not in a manner where she takes advantage of people, but she aggressively and single-mindedly pursues her vision.

Courtney-BeasleyCourtney Beasley

Courtney is our marketing director, a University of Dayton alum and has put on incredibly successful events at Walker Sands such as Just a Book and Donut Day.

How long have you worked at Walker Sands? 4 years

As a woman, what makes your proud to say you work at Walker Sands?

We're doing really smart work and have women at each level helping to push the company vision and industry forward.

What woman/women in the business world do you admire and why?

Ellen J. Kullman is the former CEO and chairman of DuPont and GM. She is intelligent, powerful and charming; but packs a punch with humility and class. She applied her IQ to strong emotional intelligence to get herself where she is today, and to me that's incredibly admirable.

Allison-WardAllison Ward

Allison is an account director on our Fintech team, a Michigan State alum and a mommy to be!

How long have you worked at Walker Sands? 3 years

As a woman, what makes your proud to say you work at Walker Sands?

Work-life balance (and family-friendly policies), equal opportunities for mobility and having other strong females on the leadership team.

Are there any areas in the field of PR where you'd like to see improve for women?

I think agencies in general have trouble keeping women for long-term careers. The demanding clients and long hours often make for a challenging environment for working moms. One thing I love about Walker Sands is that we're trying to break that cycle of women leaving to work in-house once they start families.

I also think that in Tech PR in particular, we're up against a particular boys' club mentality sometimes. So while PR is a very welcoming field for women, our clients often don't see us as the experts we are and we have to bridge a credibility gap. Male leaders can help support this effort by helping to build our credibility with clients and supporting female leaders' efforts to lead our teams in our own style.

Annie-GudorfAnnie Gudorf

Annie is an account director on our enterprise software and financial services team.  Although she started as an intern in our Chicago office, Annie is currently out in San Francisco helping us build our business on the West Coast.

How long have you worked at Walker Sands? 4 years

As a woman, what makes your proud to say you work at Walker Sands?

I like to believe Walker Sands is gender neutral. I know I'm not treated different or given different chances because I'm a woman. If I'm given a chance at something, it's because they believe I can do it. I also know my opinions aren't thought less of because I'm a woman. I know this isn't the case at all organizations and is one reason I'm proud to say I work at Walker Sands.

What woman/women in the business world do you admire and why?

As cliche as it is, I have to say my mom. I've watched my mom really achieve it all. She's been an amazing mother to my brother and I, but has also achieved great professional success despite coming from a small farm town in Ohio. I have vivid memories of watching my mom run in her heels and suit into my high school gymnasium to make sure she made every volleyball game or gymnastics competition I had. I also remember hanging out in her office after school or during the summer watching her work and honestly be a badass boss! I have always loved seeing both sides of my mom. And growing up with a mom and role model who made being a tremendous mother and well-respected executive look so easy (even though I know it wasn't!) has always provided inspiration for me. She's also showed me that despite what people say, you really can have it all if you work for it.

To learn more about Walker Sands and our team, check out our website and learn more about what we do and who we are!