Equality and Diversity as a Key to Success: The Perspective of Anna Gogacz, CEO of Allegro Brand Experience Agency

Equality and Diversity as a Key to Success: The Perspective of Anna Gogacz, CEO of Allegro Brand Experience Agency

Is the stereotypical, conservative gender division of roles still prevalent in Poland? How does it translate into women’s careers?

As founder and CEO of one of the leading brand experience agencies, operating on the Polish market for over 30 years, I have seen attitudes towards gender roles in business change. My career is an example of how stereotypes can be broken, although it is not a path without challenges.

The early days were difficult, especially in an industry considered to be male-dominated. I had to face the stereotypical perception of woman as a leader. Success came through determination, the quality of service offered and building a strong team.

The pay gap and the ‘glass ceiling’ are challenges I have observed on the market, but I have tried to make sure they are not an issue in my company. I believe in equality and diversity, so I promote these values both within the organisation and when dealing with business partners.

Nowadays there are more tools and support for women in business, with support networks and mentoring becoming more accessible. My role as a female leader is also to share my experience and support other women on their journey to success. Although stereotypes still exist, I have witnessed the next generation of women changing the labour market in Poland. My story is a proof that with determination and support we can shape a more equal future in business.

Do women lack the drive to compete for top positions? Perhaps they are unaware of their own competence?

I do not agree with the opinions that women lack the drive to compete for top positions or that they are not aware of their own competence. My experience shows that women often show remarkable determination and effectiveness. Rather, the problem lies in societal stereotypes and expectations, which can influence perception of women’s behaviour in a professional context.

Many talented women face barriers not because of a lack of skills, but by being undervalued when it comes to their competences or having difficulty gaining recognition on an equal footing with men. Creating an environment that promotes equality and recognises achievements regardless of gender is key.

Mentoring initiatives and development programmes targeting women, as well as building support networks, are essential in raising women’s awareness of their competences. These activities can significantly contribute to eliminating barriers and changing societal perceptions of professional roles. The key element is not only to develop awareness of women’s competences, but also to create conditions that enable and support their professional development on an equal footing with men. This requires changing societal perceptions and eliminating stereotypes that limit women’s opportunities in the business world.

AI is skilled at calculations or statistical analysis, but lacks emotional intelligence. Does the future of leadership therefore belong to women, in whom this trait is usually perfectly developed?

The future of leadership is inevitably moving towards a combination of advanced technological skills and deep-rooted emotional intelligence. AI, despite its effectiveness in computing and data analysis, lacks the ability to understand human emotions, which accentuates the irreplaceable value of the so-called ‘human touch’ in managing and motivating teams. In this context, high emotional intelligence, often attributed to women, may seem crucial, but it is important not to succumb to gender stereotypes.

The vision of the future leader goes beyond traditional gender divisions, turning to individuals who can combine technological proficiency with empathy, the ability to build relationships and manage conflicts. These qualities will become the foundation for effective leadership in an increasingly automated world, where not only an understanding of technology but also the ability to manage the complexity of human needs and emotions will be crucial.

Diversity in leadership, including gender balance, brings new perspectives, innovation and more effective problem-solving strategies to organisations. Therefore, the future of leadership will require leaders not only to have expertise in their fields, but also to be open, flexible and able to integrate diverse viewpoints.

Future leadership will be based on a harmonious combination of technical competence and interpersonal skills. Leaders who can effectively manage teams in a dynamically changing technological environment, while taking care of the emotional aspects of the work, will be at the forefront of change, shaping the future in a sustainable and inclusive way.

In your opinion, does the fact that women can now show their ambition and determination more freely, and men can be more emotional and sensitive, positively affect their professional lives?

Recent years have brought a significant change in the way we view gender roles in working life. From my perspective, this evolution is extremely positive. As I have watched women become increasingly bold in pursuing their career ambitions and men open up about emotionality, I have seen tremendous progress. This change has not only impacted my professional life, but also the culture within my company, creating a space where diversity is valued and encouraged.

Being able to witness women taking the lead and holding senior positions, and men feeling comfortable sharing their feelings, shows me that we are moving in the right direction. This translates into a healthier working environment where everyone feels heard and valued. At my company, we strive to build such an environment where dialogue and empathy are the foundation of our operations. This not only increases team engagement, but also contributes to better results.

I believe that the future belongs to workplaces that accept and celebrate diversity. By opening the door to different perspectives, working styles and ways of communicating, we become more innovative and flexible in the face of change. My experience shows that this approach not only impacts on the success of the company, but also on everyone’s personal sense of fulfilment. It is clear to me that the key to building strong and sustainable teams lies in accepting and promoting these values.

What is the current situation for women in your industry? Do they have the necessary support to achieve success similar to yours in the future?

In the event marketing and marketing communications industry in Poland, the situation for women has improved significantly in recent years, but there are still many challenges to overcome. From my own perspective, as a woman who has built her career and company from the ground up, I can see that the progress is undeniable. Women are increasingly visible at various levels of management and their contribution to the creative and strategic aspects of work is increasingly recognised.

Still, for women in our industry to succeed, support on many levels is essential. This is not only about mentoring and networking, which are key to professional development, but also about creating company policies that support work-life balance, access to training and promotion opportunities. In my company, I try to promote such values by creating an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, has an equal opportunity to develop and succeed.

I have also noticed that an important aspect is the change in mentality – both among women and men. Women in our industry should be encouraged to express their ambitions and men to promote equality. With such changes, I am convinced that future generations of women in event marketing and marketing communications will be much better placed to achieve success, similar or even greater than mine. I have always been an optimist, so I believe that by continuing to push for equality and support, we can create an industry where success is not limited by gender.

Anna Gogacz, CEO, Allegro Brand Experience Agency

Founder and CEO of Allegro Brand Experience Agency, present on the Polish market for over 30 years. A leader on the event marketing market in Poland, she organises dozens of projects a year for global and Polish brands, including Coca-Cola HBC, EY, ING Bank Śląski, InPost and TikTok. Repeatedly awarded and honoured in industry competitions. She is a member of the association of women leaders LiderShe, mentor at Mentors4Starters.

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Anastazja Lach