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Spoon Gothenburg’s Johanna Niklasson on the challenges women leaders face

By 12th March 2020 No Comments
Johanna Niklasson

It doesn’t need to be International Women’s Day for Spoon to be immensely proud of the fact that all our six offices are led by phenomenal woman directors – but it’s a great reason to shout about it. Even though the creative industry is saturated with women, the heads of creative departments are usually male-dominated. As few as 3% of creative directors are female. A 2019 study led by Lean In found that women are 21% less likely to be promoted to management roles.

We took this opportunity to ask our female agency directors across all six offices about their roles leading Spoon offices. In this article, Gothenburg’s Johanna Niklasson discusses her experience as a leader of a creative agency.

What do you enjoy most about leading a creative agency? 

I love working with talented, curious and open-minded people. You learn a lot in an agency, you adapt to different perspectives and understand various motivations and challenges for both – your staff members and the businesses involved.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt managing multiple stakeholders and client briefs?

I am still a newbie on the agency side of the communications business. Six months in as an agency director, I have found it’s the indecisiveness of implementing proposed strategy that irks me the most. But remember – we seldom have the full picture of the clients’ challenges and strategic objectives. It is all about managing multiple perspectives, goals and stakeholders. My lesson is to stay calm, clear and confident in any proposal and disagreement.

Are there any changes that you would like to see to help more women to break into management within the creative industry? 

I believe that diversity in all aspects is key to optimising creative and financial results. We need to break free of the old-fashioned structures.

Looking back at your career, what hurdles have you faced as a female entrepreneur?

I don’t have a tendency to fixate on any limitations for long. I am aware and mindful about the shortcomings of my gender in our society. I am also fully aware of how it helps me in my career. These shortcomings make me resilient. As a woman, it’s easier to connect with other women and gain trust in areas where men cannot. Now, the onus is on me to share that privilege with other women.

Gain more insight from Spoon’s agency directors:

Spoon: Led by women, made for all

Spoon Oslo’s Marte Ramborg

Spoon Helsinki’s Lena Barner-Rasmussen

Spoon London’s Shelley Hoppe

Spoon Stockholm’s Maria Biesterfeldt

Spoon Malmö’s Divya Ostwal and Jenny Dernelius