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Who is your tribe?

In an era of instant gratification, and selfies, it’s difficult to imagine the hard yards invested in creating meaningful work, the people involved in one’s success. It’s even more difficult to stick to something long term when we don’t see immediate results or praise. One post on Instagram could mean a person’s life achievement, yet to a viewer it’s just another image on their feed.

Candace Marshall is a perfect example of someone who’s invested years of hard work into her career. Thanks to her colleagues and boss (aka her tribe) putting her forward “kicking and screaming”, she’s finally received formal and public recognition.

Executive Producer at Josephmark and Breeder, Candace took home the Columbus Digital Producer of the Year Award at the Women in Digital 2018 Gala. Her work on Clipchamp Create, which the judges described as technically complex and highly strategic, won her the recognition in the competitive category.

The judges appreciated her business acumen demonstrated throughout the submission and quality of the final output, in addition to being a highly engaged digital community member.

Candace says support from her team and pushing each other to do better, have been determining factors for her achievements.

We spoke to Candace immediately after receiving her award, which was perfect timing as we had a chance to receive first hand testimonials from her boss Jessica Huddart, CEO and founder of Josephmark, and colleague Dr Colleen Morgan, Product Director as Josephmark.

Here’s what was said, sans the tears of joy, and endless congratulations on the award.

 

WID: How did you find out about the inaugural Women in Digital 2018 Awards?

Candace: My work colleagues and I have been regularly attending the Women in Digital events for a while now.

 

WID: How did you end up in a position to be nominated for the Columbus Digital Producer of the Year?

Candace: There’s a lack of acknowledgment within the creative production industry, compared to the traditional film and TV industry. Also working across two companies, Josephmark, a digital venture studio, and Breeder, a motion design studio, meant I had support from two companies.

 

WID: What does the award mean to you?

Candace: It’s amazing and humbling to be recognised and honoured, particularly to be supported as a woman and have support to the extend I have in this industry, it’s not the norm.

What’s even more special to me is that my colleagues think I’m worthy of the award to put me forward, as I would never enter myself.

For women to support women is amazing.

Women are 100% equal to men in the working environment of both Josephmark and Breeder.

We’re conscious of promoting women in our industry and pushing each other forward. It’s a phenomenal place to work at.

 

WID: Why is it important for women to push each other forward?

Candace: Because we don’t push ourselves. It takes people like Monica Bradley to encourage us to show our worth and celebrate ourselves and our achievements. Monica Bradley works extremely hard for herself, yet she finds ways to push other women up. Our generation is lucky to have people like her as role models and taking interest in what other women are doing. I don’t think she even realises how much this means to us.

 

WID: How do you think winning the award will impact how you conduct yourself at work now?

Candace: I have an amazing team I work with, I feel comfortable and supported. I have Ben and Jess who support everything our team wants to do, and allow us to grow in our careers with Josephmark and Breeder.

However, what I think this award has made me realise is that I can do my job well and that I need to work to support women outside Josephmark and Breeder. Especially those women who may not have the opportunities we have or may not be as lucky as we are to work in an organisation where gender is not a barrier to anything.

 

WID: Had you not come across Women in Digital through work, how do you think you would have come across such an award or event? You gotta be in it to win it.

Candace: Exactly, what would you google? Women support groups? No!

 

WID: What would you like to see happen next?

Candace: What I would like to see is the support women in the digital industry receive, have it in the design industry, the animation industry, the film and tv industry, and traditional post production industry where I started my career in. I have never worked with a female director on a film shoot in advertising, it’s all men, and female producers.

This is why Women in Digital is so amazing, it’s because of the support, not just of a few people, but a whole network of people, people who attended the Women in Digital awards, and they themselves are all accomplished people.

 

WID: What do you think men think of the Women in Digital event?

Candace: I wonder what men think of this. I’m still surprised there is such an amazing network of women. And I really feel like it’s only been the past few years that I’ve been made aware of the supportive female network.

Dr Colleen Morgan, Product Director, and Jessica Huddart, Founder and CEO at Josephmark, join the conversation.

 

WID: Being a female, and founder of Josephmark, you’re the one who put Candace forward for the award?

Jessica: Yes, kicking and screaming might I add. Candace didn’t think she was worthy of the award, and she thought there was a better candidate out there.

 

WID: Do you think it’s a female trait to lack confidence in the quality of work we do and the contribution we make?

Jessica: I think we underestimate ourselves, I see it all the time.

There’s 50% of women at Josephmark, and definitely 50% women on our leadership team.

 

WID: Was that a conscious decision to have 50% of women employees within the company, and the leadership team?

Jessica: Initially no. It was based on merit, and who the best people would be for the roles, and it happened to be women majority of the time, but it’s become more conscious. It’s become harder to find women with enough experience and the right age bracket to apply for positions at Josephmark.

Since we’ve started noticing that we weren’t getting enough applications for senior positions from women, it’s become more conscious.

 

WID: How does the gender ratio affect the company’s performance?

Jessica: I don’t even think about it. I think there’s real danger in overanalysing it and turning into more of an issue than it is. However, in my experience, I do think that women are often better candidates for leadership positions.

The struggle and challenges in attracting female candidates to job openings are significant for whatever reason, and they don’t have enough confidence in their abilities, or to apply for the the position in the first place.

 

WID: Why do you think women are better at leadership positions than men?

Jessica: Women are more empathetic, they look at the whole situation, rather than zero in what they are comfortable with.

Women are more naturally inclusive. I think self doubt propels better work in some ways. There’s no bravado, there is still ego, everyone has ego, but it plays out differently with females.

 

WID: You’ve been a strong support of Candace as well? What makes Candace amazing?

Colleen: Yes, she’s amazing.

Candace is straight up, honest, and makes everything happen. You know when Candace is in charge of a project, she makes it just happen. She always pushes everyone to do their best work, no matter what.                  

Jessica: Candy brings immense positivity to our workplace, she values her attributes and she brings it. She’s an example of what she wants to see in everyone else. With her straight up attitude and approach to things you always know where you stand.

Candace: I’m so lucky that I work with women such as Colleen and Jess who are interested in the role that I do and want to work together with me rather than seeing my role as a service. I’ve been given the opportunity to be more involved in projects than a producer normally would. I’ve been afforded an opportunity because I work with women such as Jess and Colleen, and that I have been able to work for two studios at the same time, which is a unique opportunity.

Colleen: Because you have the curiosity, because you care about what’s going on and that’s essential to making sure that everything is done.

Jessica: She cares about the people, and she cares about the outcome, and she cares about the business.

 

WID: How do you see Women in Digital evolve and encourage more women to apply for the awards? Also, would males feel excluded do you think because of the focus on females?

Jessica: I do feel that sometimes by focusing on the female aspect of things generally, we can unconsciously create a divide between men and women.

However, I don’t think that’s the intention. Actually, when you think about feminism it’s about a quality, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve. I would really like to see awards that put men and women up together, and still have a candidate like Candace take it up.

Candace: I would like to be against men, we’re equal people.

Jessica: We don’t need to separate ourselves to make that point. But it’s great to be celebrating each other. Women are really great at lifting each other up, and the Women in Digital Awards celebrates exactly that.

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