Cilla joined AMV BBDO in 1992 as the agency’s first New Business Director. Twenty five years later, she now oversees the three companies that comprise the AMV Group in the UK – AMVBBDO, Proximity and Redwood.
Cilla sits on the boards of BBDO Worldwide and Derwent London plc and she chairs the Women’s Business Council. She was awarded the CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list for services to the advertising industry. Most importantly, she is Fred, Albert and Rosie’s mum.
You have recently taken over as Chair of the Women’s Business Council, can you tell us a little bit more about the Council, its projects and strategic aims?
The Women’s Business Council was set up in 2012 as a business led, government backed, independent group to advise on how women’s contribution to economic growth can be maximised. Our aim is to remove barriers and showcase best practice.
Our action groups are focused around building girls’ aspirations in STEM, encouraging flexible and returning mothers’ programmes, promoting the needs of older women in the workplace, encouraging entrepreneurs and supporting men as agents of change for equality.
You have clearly had a very successful career, did you sit down and plan it or did it just happen?
I’ve spent most of my career at AMVBBDO where I have been lucky to work with great people for great clients over the years. There was no career plan as such but a determination to do the job to the best of my ability at every stage of my development and an ambition to progress.
The agency is very family friendly which has allowed me to bring up three kids as well as to progress at work.
Did you face any challenges as your career accelerated, if so, how did you deal with them?
Challenges are part of any senior job. I think I have got better at anticipating and managing them over the years, especially around innovation where technology is moving fast and can be a source of real competitive advantage.
Did you benefit from the advice or stewardship from mentors or sponsors at any time during your career?
I have always had very supportive and successful bosses to learn from and lean on, as well as clients across a range of different businesses. And I learn daily from the teams around me. There are role models everywhere.
What are the three pieces of advice you would give to a woman who aspires to hold a senior position?
Cherish your people, delight your customers and deliver quality in everything.
If you had the power to implement government policy to help achieve gender parity, what would it be and why?
We are hopefully well on the way to closing the gender pay gap thanks to the legislation which comes into force next month. This is a giant step forwards and a means of driving change through transparency and accountability.