Facebook’s Carolyn Everson: ‘There should be no limit to what women can do in business’

The days of women having to follow advice on how they should act to get ahead in business are over, she claims, and instead they should focus on being their ‘authentic selves’.

Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson says women should be their “authentic selves” in order to climb the career ladder.

Speaking to Marketing Week at the Cannes Lions Festival this week, Everson said she believes there has never been a better time for women to be in tech or marketing due to an increased appetite among companies to have better gender diversity across all aspects of their businesses.

“My advice to others is to dream big, because at this point anything is possible. There should be no limit to what women can do. There is definitely a higher level of awareness around gender equality, and so I’m incredibly optimistic about the future for women [in business],” she says.

Everson, who is responsible for looking after medium and large businesses as well as the agency community for Facebook, said the days of women following outdated advice on how women should behave are over.

“Being authentic is most important – 20 years ago, women would be given advice on how they should behave or act. But whatever that self is, the authentic self is your most powerful self. How you present yourself has got to be very true to what you are. Women should find organisations that really speak to them and highlight their strengths,” she added.

This week has shown, however, that there are still persistent problems surrounding gender within the industry. Research by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media and J.Walter Thompson (JWT) claims the representation of women in advertising hasn’t improved in a decade, and women are still persistently underpaid compared to their male peers.

Nevertheless, Everson remains optimistic. Facebook recently joined the ‘Unstereotype Alliance’ set up by Unilever, which looks to banish stereotypical portrayals of gender in all major advertising. Other members include Google, Alibaba, Mars and WPP.

She concludes: “The industry is making strides and positive progress. Marketing has the ability to influence people’s perceptions. Think about what we could achieve if we start to unstereotype advertising and show women in all different forms, which is not just gender but also linked to race and ethnicity. I’m pleased we’re starting to see very important marketers choosing this as one of their top priorities.”