F equals for women on the rise

Clemmie Telford


Posted on November 01 2017

Image: Emily Gray Photography

We are delighted to catch up with the lovely Clemmie Telford today - Creative extraordinaire who spent 10 years of her career in ad land as a Creative Director before moving to Facebook/Instagram earlier this year as a Creative Strategist. Clemmie is also the founder and editor of the hugely popular Mother of All Lists blog. Here's her story:

Newnham: What were you like growing up - ow would family and friends have described you?
Wow good question! Clumsy! Giggly! Probably a bit bossy. And a tendency to go into things feet first.

Newnham: How did you get started in advertising and how has the industry evolved in that time?
Telford: After Uni I didn’t know what career I wanted, apart from that I wanted to be ‘in media’ - which is pretty broad! Fortunately I stumbled across the prospectus for a Postgrad in Advertising and the description sounded like my ideal job: coming up with ideas, writing poster and headlines (this was before digital). So I went for that course and the rest is history…

I spent the last 10 years as an ad agency Creative Director. At first I worked in a team with my female creative partner (I was the copywriter, she was the Art Director).  As women we were always the minority in the Creative Department, which is something that desperately needs to change. That aside I’ve loved my job - the energy, the banter, the work hard/play hard attitude. I’m lucky enough to work on a spectrum of amazing clients including: Yorkshire Tea, Sunday Times, McVities  and Marks & Spencer.

Earlier this year I took a freelance role as Creative Strategist at Facebook/Instagram, where I help brands and agencies do better and more effective mobile-first creative. It is really challenging, but amazing. I’ve had my eyes opened to how fast marketing is changing, but also been encouraged to be braver and push myself both professionally and personally.

Newnham: You talk on your social media about being a mum and what it means to be a mum in the workplace today. How do you think we can improve work for mums? What would you like to see happen to make it easier for mums to return?
Telford: Rather than thinking of it as a Mums problem, it needs to be re-framed as something that affects parents in general. So I’d like to see more men become our allies and voice the fact that they want to make it home for bedtime too. I also recommend considering splitting paternity leave, it's only when you’ve been the primary carer, that you really get it... 

Also, yesterday, I took part in the March of the Mummies which I found really empowering and inspiring. Though the turn-out was incredible, I came away feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the problem. 54,000 women a year are being lost from the workplace. What really gets me is the thought of all those little girls in reception class working hard to learn to read and write, oblivious to the fact that, in the current situation, all the graft they put in over the coming 25 years will be rendered redundant the moment they decide they want to become Mummies. I have no expectations of who or what my sons and daughter should become but what I DO want is for them is to have the opportunity, regardless of gender, to thrive at work as well as be present at home. It’s not about having it all. It’s about having the choice.

Newnham: Indeed. Can you tell us about your blog and why you started it? What is your mission with it?
Telford: When I started my blog and instagram in early 2015, social media was awash with people living beautiful, filtered lives which were SO far away from the version of Motherhood that I was experiencing.

I decided to try a different approach and show a very no-holds-barred, honest version of day to day. I wanted to reassure people that the madness, mayhem and emotional roller coaster was actually really normal. That you can find it hard, doesn’t mean you are getting it wrong!

Newnham: If you could go back in time to when you first started out in your career, pre-kids, is there any advice you would give a younger Clemmie?
To have fun! It’s not to say I didn’t have fun when I was younger but I was always fairly conscientious and thinking of what I ‘ought to be doing’. As an adult I have learned to trust the journey much more. What often feels like a frivolous whim, can wind up to something significant and educating.




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