Family Matters With Text100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes

June 1, 2017

Though she’s best known as the CEO of global marketing communications agency Text100, Aedhmar Hynes also prioritizes her work in a different job: running a home and family. We discussed the special challenges this dual role can present for executives, and why there aren’t enough female business leaders.

What were the most important factors that got you where you are?

Probably the single most important factor is a love for what I do. Early in my career I fell in love with the art of great storytelling, and the power of taking complex concepts and making them accessible to audiences.

When you combine that with my deep passion for technology, you begin to get a sense of what has driven my career. I started my career when Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were changing the world, and over time I have had the privilege of working for innovative clients who have been disrupting industries and making the world a better place.

Today, technology and communications are deeply connected. It’s exciting to think about the future of our profession.

Why are there so few female agency leaders at the global CEO level?

It’s hard to point to one specific thing. Many women choose not to move into senior management positions while others face a work environment that is not supportive of blending family and work. Men often do better as they don’t automatically hold many of the traditional responsibilities of women.

At Text100, we do our best to create an environment where diversity is respected and welcomed. We now have a strong balance of men and women at all levels, without quotas. Our global workforce is 67 percent women, comprising 55 percent of our vice presidents and up, while our nine-member executive leadership team is close to even, with four women and five men.

What do you think the profession can do to improve this?

  • Drive a culture and a set of values that respects diversity and inclusion throughout the organization.
  • Develop work practices for staff that support blending their personal and professional lives with their business needs.
  • Provide employees with the tools to do their job at any place and time.
  • Model the right behavior at the most senior levels within our industry.

You’ve said family is a priority for you. How do you balance your personal life and your professional life?

It felt natural to me to drive a career I was passionate about while not sacrificing my desire to have children. From an early stage, it was clear I would need to blend every aspect of my life, rather than attempt to seek balance.

I often brought my personal life to work and took my work life home. I talked openly with my family about the challenges I faced at work and often discussed home issues with my work colleagues and bosses. I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible colleagues and clients who were always sympathetic and supportive of my efforts.

In addition, my children were appreciative of always knowing what was going on, and when things did go awry, it was usually a source of amusement rather than blame.

Who are two leaders you respect?

The first is John Seely Brown, the chief scientist emeritus of Xerox and director of Xerox PARC. He has one of the most innovative and progressive minds. Not only was he one of the most brilliant storytellers, but he also could see around corners.

I was fortunate to get to know Shelly Lazarus when she was the CEO, and subsequently the chairman, of Ogilvy & Mather. She embodied, for me, so many of the attributes of a leader that I admire most and have sought to emulate in every way I can. Shelly defined the notion of being a tough and fearless leader without ever compromising her own personality and wonderful character.

Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs is principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching. Visit his website (www.jacobscomm.com) and contact him by email (ken@jacobscomm.com) or Twitter (@KensViews).


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