4 Ways We Ensure ‘A Place With No Ceiling’
In 2000, just a short 23 years ago, women made up just over 46 percent of the total labor force in America. As the share held by women continues to grow with each decade – they accounted for nearly 57 percent by 2022 – women are more ambitious than ever and companies are expected to keep pace. In a post-pandemic world there are many pivotal factors empowering women to not only survive in the workplace, but to thrive in a new era characterized by equitable growth opportunities, flexibility, and a more mainstream people-first approach to work.
A few years ago, as Quinn Thomas also experienced growth, we took a step back and started to regularly identify ways to make our workplace easier, more welcoming and rich with opportunities for women, working moms, and people of color. Those discussions led to new ideas and those ideas led to new policies, programs and financial investments in our team.
We made small changes over time that resulted in how and where we work, how we recruit, retain and promote our team members, the benefits we provide, the investments we make in professional development, and how we approach our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In a short period of time we’ve seen these changes and investments pay off through retention, business growth and positive feedback from our team.
In September 2023, Quinn Thomas was recognized by the Portland Metro Chamber as they presented us with the Place With No Ceiling Award honoring special achievements by women leaders and companies that support the advancement of women in various industries across the Pacific Northwest. For Quinn Thomas, a company guided by a majority-female leadership team, this recognition is easily one of the most meaningful awards we’ve ever received because it is a confirmation of our commitment and a celebration of the work we’ve done together to transform our agency culture.
To celebrate, we’re sharing four ways we bring this commitment to life to create a culture ripe with opportunity for women. Our goal is not to just shatter glass ceilings, but to eliminate them altogether and light a clear path for those who will follow in our footsteps.
Stock the toolbox for success
We are invested in the professional development of women. Quinn Thomas consistently offers women growth opportunities and promotes them into leadership roles. We achieve this through personalized career planning and goal setting designed to accomplish growth in the ways most meaningful to each individual. Our three top leadership positions, including President and two Vice President roles, are all held by women who were promoted from within the agency, making our current leadership team 60% women. In addition, our Creative Director is part of a small group of female creative directors in the industry (estimated at just over 3%).
Among the 22 full-time employees at Quinn Thomas, 16 are women and, of those, 10 are manager/director or above – among those 10, half were promoted into those positions from within.
Equally as important as supporting women in professional development and company leadership, we understand the unique demands often placed on women balancing their career and family. At Quinn Thomas, we offer 100% paid healthcare benefits for all employees and their families, four weeks of paid family leave, 12 weeks of paid maternity (and paternity) leave, a remote work environment, and flexible or reduced hours for new parents returning to work.
Invest in communities that invest in women
We believe that when people know better, they do better. In the communities we serve, we are intentional about engaging organizations that empower BIPOC communities and, in particular, women, through education, skills development, and entrepreneurship.
We are multi-year sponsors and volunteers for Emerging Leaders PDX, an organization that provides internship opportunities to students of color; SINE, a mentoring group for young professionals of color; and Portland Internship Experience, which places paid interns into BIPOC-owned businesses and social justice organizations.
We delivered on a multi-year pro bono project for Project Access Northwest, an organization that helps low-income, uninsured immigrants overcome obstacles to specialty healthcare, and our agency President serves on the board of College Possible, which supports access to college for first generation workforce students in Oregon.
Empower women to lead
By being intentional about not just how we lead in the space, but also what we can do to promote others to lead as well, we create a wider and stronger network of like-minded champions who are working toward the same goal.
Each member of our leadership team receives individual coaching on leadership development from an outside consultant, and we fund academic degrees and certifications to grow our team’s hard and soft skills. This encourages the women in our agency to be trailblazers for one another, and the financial investment signals our commitment to building a team of top talent.Our client work is also heavily focused on promoting women in the workforce. For the past four years, we’ve worked closely with Build Oregon to lead a marketing campaign to promote women into the skilled trades. We also work with Business Oregon promoting female founders across the state and regularly work with local female business leaders, such as Schwabe CEO Graciela Gomez Cowger, to position their leadership in the region.
Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
It’s essential to collaborate with diverse communities to best understand their needs. We host experts to educate our team throughout the year like Urban League of Metropolitan of Seattle and Centro Cultural de Washington County who shared their advice for ways companies can meaningfully engage with diverse community partners.
Internally we’re committed to cultivating an employee culture that celebrates our differences, values fair treatment, and access and opportunity for everyone. Quinn Thomas has a thoughtful approach to DEI both inside the workplace, in the community and across our client portfolio. Our DEI Committee is led by highly trained team members from diverse backgrounds and ensures we’re holding ourselves accountable to investments in this work.
This blog was authored by Quinn Thomas President, Erin Tassey Krug.