In the build-up to International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight the key voices and stories that make Whalar, Whalar.
Influencer marketing has long been heralded as a disruptive industry, and that disruption has brought with it a new era of equal opportunity. This is true both on the creator and marketer side, illustrated here at Whalar by our 50/50 gendered leadership team and majority female influencer community of over 6,000 creators.
For this article, we wanted to spotlight three fundamental voices at Whalar: Managing Directors Emma Harman and Jo Cronk (EMEA and North America) and Global Head of Whalar Stars, Lauren Sherry. All three women innovate this industry and inspire their teams on a daily basis.
The industry has the power to unlock thousands of creative voices from around the world that we would never have been able to reach via a traditional advertising model. With social media, we have seen creativity become democratised. As a result, the subsequent rise of the influencer marketing industry from these platforms have provided a clean slate for creativity and marketing practice. For us, the overarching theme is that we value creative talent above all else which, at its core, cannot be gendered.
The Whalar Voices...
Emma Harman, Managing Director, Whalar EMEA. Emma has over 15 years experience as a sales and marketing leader. Prior to Whalar, Emma set up and led Universal Music Group’s Commercial Partnerships division, pairing exceptional A-List music talent with global brands. She went on to join Talenthouse where she launched and managed the platform which is home to over 1M creators, with investors including ProSiebenSat1 and Reliance Communications.
Now, Emma oversees an international team whose headcount has more than doubled since she assumed the MD role. Alongside driving a dramatic increase in revenue, Emma speaks regularly at major industry events and is considered a true thought leader across her disciplines.
“Influencer marketing empowers female creativity in a way that simply didn’t exist 10 years ago. At Whalar, we unlock thousands of creative voices from around the world. Providing women of all ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities and socio-economic backgrounds with a platform to monetise their creativity, without having to compromise their family life or core values. As a new disruptive industry, fuelled by Whalar’s equally gendered international leadership team, we have the opportunity to shake off the gender stereotyping that has plagued advertising’s past and create a work culture that values talent above all else.
Moreover, the advertising industry should be providing opportunities for employees at all levels to have work-life balance and live happier and healthier lives. This comes in the form of an inclusive culture, personal development, flexible working conditions and fair pay - all things that we place a lot of value on at Whalar. I became a mum in 2017 and feel lucky that I've not had to make a choice between earning a living and having a family.”
Jo Cronk is Manager Director, Whalar North America. With over 15 years media agency experience, Jo has lead holistic marketing strategy and investment strategy for global brands including Cadbury/Mondelez, PepsiCo and Warner Bros. In 2013, Jo moved from London to New York and prior to joining Whalar was a Business Lead at PHD leading multiple high-profile new business pitches, managing HBO and incubator start-up brands, responsible for dozens of multi-million dollar billings.
She has been personally responsible for overseeing the dramatic growth in business, personal and talent that is coming out of Whalar’s US powerhouse.
At Whalar our mission is to liberate all creative voices. This liberation rings true for our creators, our partners and our teams. Alongside all of the stunning work, we see produced every day, one of the things I’m most proud of is the incredible group of smart, dedicated and inspiring women in our US Team. To be in a position to lead a team that is 96% female is a huge honour and privilege.
Our team is able to nurture a culture where all voices are heard, all opinions are valued and all team members are able to make an impact. Regardless of age, ethnicity, background or seniority - innovation, progressive thinking, clear decision making and flawless execution come from all corners of all our team. Influencer marketing has enabled a far more democratic and equal work structure where we are able to value talent and creativity above all else. Young women have a huge opportunity in this industry to progress and make a mark, and our growing team is showing us exactly how it’s done.
Our continued success is a constant reminder of the importance of inclusion, creativity and not being afraid of finding a better way.
Lauren Sherry has been at the forefront of Talent Management for over 6 years. Prior to Whalar, Lauren started her Talent Management career at Gleam Futures, overseeing some of the UK’s most influential YouTube Talent.
Now, Lauren is Global Director of Whalar Stars, Whalar’s in-house 360-degree Talent Management division. Stars’ mission is to empower, advise and inspire the best in class in international Digital First Talent Having been nominated for Talent Agency of the year in 2019, the Stars’ star is on the rise and is celebrated by both the Talent we represent and the clients we work with alike.
“We can certainly feel the disruptive effects that Influencer marketing has had on the advertising and Talent Management industry. On a surface level, the Stars workforce is 80% female and 40 of the 54 global Talent we represent are women. Stars empower a diversity of voices, from all backgrounds, and the multi-disciplined nature of our female Talent is truly inspiring. We work with Artists, Tastemakers, Brand Ambassadors, Platform Ambassadors, Award Winners, Foundation founders, Advocates, Activists, Journalists, Mums, Wives and Daughters - each of whom set their own rules and schedules. As long as the talent is there, so are we.
The past 12 months have featured groundbreaking milestones and have heralded a new era of entrepreneurial creativity. Moments such as Lorna’s (@lornaluxe) sell-out collection from In The Style, Anna O’Brien (@glittersandlazer) being selected for Dolce and Gabbana’s TikTok Launch, and Stephanie Yeboah driving full circle communications surrounding the culture of “fat acceptance” in National titles including VICE, The Guardian, Stylist, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and The Metro. All of these incredible achievements underpin the wealth of Talent we have the opportunity to represent.
For us, the female future of this industry is bright, progressive, and truly exciting to be a part of.”
Banner Artwork from Whalar Designer Allison Wisniewski.