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Movio’s W Platform: Women Lighting The Way For Women (And Men)

Since October 2018, the W Platform initiative has strived - and succeeded - to unite and ensure equality across the women and men of Movio. Almost 18 months on, the movement has seen female staff increase by 12%, opened a company-wide conversation on equality, and made for a notably positive impact on the day-to-day working lives of women across the business. With a few structural changes since the initiative’s conception and refined objectives for 2020, it felt like the right time to speak to the three women leading the W Platform in Movio offices across the globe to discover what’s next and why the initiative is more important than ever. 

Ashleigh Davis
Events and Communications Manager, Initiative Founder & London Lead

With your recent relocation to London, did you have any concerns regarding the continuity of the W Platform in 2020 at HQ?
After more than a year of growing the initiative, I was pretty confident in the great roots we’d established at HQ for it to continue. There were a few months without an official lead in the region which meant shared responsibilities across a number of women, but the appointment of Shona as HQ Lead was really exciting. As our then-new Head of Product, and one of the most senior women in the company, it felt like a great fit for her to take the W Platform to even higher heights. 

What are some of the biggest differences you’ve found in the UK compared to the HQ office?
One of the main reasons the W Platform was created in HQ initially was to strengthen women, both in numbers and in spirit. The UK has a pretty even split of male/female so some of the issues we were facing in 2018 (along with the rest of the industry) actually don’t exist in the UK office. I’m excited, instead, by the prospect of both men and women here to contribute to the wider conversation of inclusivity on all levels. A number of the men here are also as passionate about encouraging more girls and young women into the technology and film industries, and ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in doing so. This level of adoption is something we hope to achieve across all Movio offices, but there’s certainly already a drive for it here that will make my job as UK Lead a lot easier!

What are you most excited about for the W Platform heading into 2020?
The past year has been all about creating a strong foundation internally for the women of the company. I’m looking forward to expanding this out to the men of Movio in 2020, plus taking the initiative external. We really want to impact the tech and film industries in a positive way for women and this year will see us definitely focusing on this broader goal.

Christine Rizzolo
Account Manager, Los Angeles Lead

As LA Lead since the initiative began, what motivated you to take on the responsibility?
I have always considered myself a “joiner”, in that I like to be involved in groups and activities with like-minded people where I can gain new skills and conquer my fears. Before working in LA, I was part of a large women’s initiative in New York. Being a part of that organization gave me the knowledge and confidence to really step up that level of contribution once I got to Movio and take on the leadership role for LA’s W Platform. By leading the ladies in this office it gives me a chance to learn from women who I don’t typically work with in my day-to-day role at Movio. 

What changes have you noticed amongst both the women and men in the LA office since it started?
This program has definitely brought the women of the LA office closer together. The men here are also really supportive of the cause - and even a bit jealous that they don’t have their own dedicated “M Platform”! We are currently sitting at a 3:5 ratio from women to men, so there’s certainly more we plan to do in terms of levelling out that distribution - especially when we look at the roles currently being filled by women here which are marketing, campaign coordination and account management. 2020 will be an interesting challenge when it comes to attracting and promoting women to our data science and leadership roles. As someone in an account management role, I really enjoy the element of my job that involves data - but I’d never have thought to pursue a data-specific career. This highlights to me the importance of upskilling and encouraging women and girls, both internally and externally, to consider study and career paths in data analysis - something the W Platform will be working towards in 2020!

What mark would you like to leave on the film industry through your leadership of the W Platform?
Gender Inequality is a hot topic in Hollywood right now.  Women are not being paid equally, represented in media or given the same opportunities as our male counterparts. I think we are all aware of and talking about these issues but have not been able to enact any change yet.  Since our conception in 2018, The W Platform has been an internal only initiative. For 2020, I’m looking forward to taking our group out into our community to work with highschool and college-age girls who are considering careers in entertainment and tech.  

The global women of MovioThe global women of Movio

Shona Grundy
Head of Product, Auckland Lead

You’ve recently taken the helm of the company’s largest W Platform group. What impact do you hope to have with this new responsibility?
Considering I also have a large responsibility as Head of Product (we have a massive year ahead of us with big and exciting products being developed and released) I think the biggest contribution I hope to make this year is to ensure our Auckland division becomes actively collaborative and inclusive; ensuring that our members here are not only participating in events, but each actively taking ownership in the engagement of our goals and outcomes. I already have many of my colleagues putting their hands up to make it more of a ‘committee style’ and we are looking forward to setting our goals for this year and getting some great initiatives off the ground together.

As a woman in technology, you’ve likely seen similar groups and events pop up throughout your career. Is there anything specific you’ve seen elsewhere that you’d like to introduce at Movio?
I used to be involved in a group called NZ Women in Technology. Basically it was a luncheon group once every second month, with women from all different technology businesses getting together to network. While it was fairly light-touch, it worked really well as a starting point, as there was literally nothing else out there. I do think there is a lot of value in reaching out beyond our realm of Movio and collaborating with women in technology across other businesses. Our Vista/Movio event in November was an excellent example of this, which we could perhaps expand upon.

How does Movio measure up as a positive workplace for women compared to other companies you’ve experienced?
To be honest, it’s the best I have ever experienced. I have not ever worked in, or known of, another company which has this type of initiative. From my very first day, where I received my W Platform welcome goody-bag, I was immediately impressed by this active approach to making women feel welcome and supported. Now that I have been here a few months, I've come to understand the true depth of support for women within this company. It is fantastic that there is even a budget set aside to support the W Platform; it shows that from the top, at CEO level, there is affirmative action being taken. This type of public demonstration sets the tone for everyone who works here; that women are valued within this business. I can safely say that compared to other technology businesses, where ‘casual sexism’ can be rife, it simply doesn’t happen here because we all know it won't be tolerated, by the leaders of the business. It’s a really great initiative which sets a positive cultural tone. 

If you’d like to join the ever-expanding team of women at Movio, check out our latest job openings here.

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