This Way Up

Smyle launches This Way Up leadership programme to shatter glass ceiling in experiential industry

Award-winning creative agency Smyle has launched a leadership and career accelerator programme called This Way Up for all women and non-binary employees. The initiative comes from a recognition of the existing gaps in relatable leadership for women within the creative and experiential industry and the urgency to address these disparities.

Designed to shatter the glass ceiling, This Way Up is run in partnership with AllBright Alliance, a global collective of businesses and thought-leaders committed to creating unlimited possibilities for women’s careers through data and insights, development of leadership skills at every level, and a focus on gender equity for all.

Twenty-nine Smyle female and non-binary employees will participate in the Career Accelerator course, designed to enhance career opportunities and teach leadership skills. The AllBright digital platform is also open to those not on the course, brimming with mentorships, events, and ongoing support.

This Way Up emerged from Smyle’s Springboard initiative, which encourages employees to pitch ideas to directors at the agency. Suggested by Smyle strategist Sophie Hulf, who then worked in collaboration with Emma Gardner, Smyle’s executive design director, to embark on a partnership with AllBright.

The programme was announced on International Women’s Day and was originally designed to benefit 20 women and non-binary employees. However, the overwhelming quality and volume of applications led to offering places to all 29 applicants.

Keith O’Loughlin, group CEO at Smyle, said: “This is not just a programme. It’s a testament to our commitment to fostering inclusivity and diversity. We believe in empowering our female and non-binary talent, and we’re excited to see where ‘This Way Up’ takes our amazing employees, as well as the difference it can make to the agency.”

Ella Vize, head of academy and learning rogrammes and co-founder of AllBright Alliance, said: “AllBright is thrilled to welcome Smyle to Alliance. Seeing their commitment to empower, nurture, and elevate leadership skills among the incredible women at Smyle has been inspiring. I’m sure that together, we’ll be paving the way towards a more equal and equitable future for all.”

This Way Up will run two cohorts, one starting in September 2023 and the second in January 2024. The partnership with AllBright will continue, with the opportunity for more women and non-binary employees to take part in the future.