Philips VP Marci El-Deiry Is Leading the Charge for Better Support for Working Parents in Advertising

Marci El-Deiry
VP at Philips Avent
July 1, 2024
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AMSTERDAM, NL - Balancing a career with raising a family often feels like a never-ending game of learnings, adjustments, fine-tuning and repeat. As a mom and senior leader at Philips, I’m no stranger to the challenges that come with being a working parent, especially in today’s world. 

But balancing a career with family duties shouldn’t come at the cost of any parents’ physical and mental health. Which is why, as a Global Business Unit Leader for Philips Mother and Child Care & Women's Health, I’m extremely passionate about Philips Avent’s mission to change the narrative around motherhood and self-care.

In March 2024, Philips Avent launched ‘Share the Care’, a global campaign and brand positioning calling on society to step in and help moms, after our research revealed that three-quarters of moms (74%) believe societal pressures and expectations on them have increased in the past 10 years.

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity I discussed the realities of working parents in the creative, advertising, and related industries. These industries are well known for fast paced, high-pressured environments, with working across different time zones, regular work trips, conferences, and festivals, like Cannes Lions, being part and parcel. 

And while many brands are starting to understand the pressures of modern working and family life, the reality of parents shows that there is a clear need to improve.

Ahead of Philips’ panel discussion at Cannes Lions, “The Reality of Sharing the Care: Catalysing support for parents across the creative industry”, we surveyed more than 230 people across the creative, advertising, and related industries, parents, and non-parents, about their experiences and attitudes towards working parents in the industry.

  • 78% of parents in the industry report having only up to one hour to themselves daily. 
  • More than four in five (81%) parents say they feel they have to sacrifice family life to achieve career goals.
  • Though, 78% of parents agree their employer offers adequate support for working parents. 

Work events, like Cannes Lions, are also tricky for parents to navigate. [Of the respondents] 44% admitted they have to be selective about the work events they attend because they don't want to or can’t leave their children.

These statistics aren’t just numbers; they represent real every day experiences and struggles. As senior leaders and executives we have a responsibility to acknowledge the challenges working parents face and create more systemic changes to provide real support. 

We must advocate for policies that provide better maternity leave, partner leave, flexible working conditions, and more accessible childcare to support parents across the board. We also have to foster a culture of shared responsibility, so parents know that they don’t have to do it all. It’s about creating environments both at home and in the workplace — for parents to thrive. 

To provoke active change, our panel of experts, which included leading industry voices including Frank Starling, Chief DEI Officer at Cannes Lions, Chloe Davies, Founder of It Takes A Village, and Sandrine Le Goff, Executive Creative Director at LePub, called on the industry to commit to four principles to better support working parents. 

  • Leading with empathy: An acknowledgment from colleagues and senior leaders that no parenting journey is the same, actively signposting and offering support to working parents.  
  • Reviewing existing benefits: To work with parents to review existing benefits packages and policies to ensure they provide the support needed for parents in the industry.  
  • Creating safe spaces: To create safe spaces and forums for working parents to share and feel part of a ‘village’. To include working parents as part of DEI and not just HR to address intersectionality. 
  • Mentorship: To create a support system for working moms, to learn and be guided from senior colleagues in the industry.  

Giving parents support that enables them to ask for help and share the care to make time for themselves is a win-win; it allows them to recharge and ultimately be their best at work, delivering results for the business. 

As a senior leader in the industry, I try my best to lead by example. At Philips, we’re re-evaluating our partner leave policies globally, and looking to see if there are areas to strengthen these above the legal minimums. But we can’t change the reality for working parents on our own and it’s crucial for other brands to follow suit. So, to my colleagues I leave you with this thought ‘what are you going to do to share the care’?

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Marci El-Deiry
VP at Philips Avent