At Dulcedo, we are fortunate to have a company comprised of a majority of brilliant women! From administrators, to project managers, to agents, to human resources, and everything in between... let's just say that our company would not be where it is, if it wasn't for the dynamic talents of our female workforce.
We want to celebrate today by shining a spotlight on some of our female staff-- seasoned and new! We sat down with Kris, Julie, Bianca, Claudia, and Pénéloppe to talk about their careers, the female experience, and what today means to them.
How did you break into the industry? Did you always want to be a model agent? I became a model agent by happy accident. I was travelling through Europe with my friend and we were in London for a week. While on a double decker tour bus, there was a newspaper on my seat and it was opened to the Wanted ads section. I read "top international modelling agency needs administration" and initially, I thought it was a front for an escort service!
My friend dared me to call for an interview and I'm not one to turn down a challenge, so I called and got an interview. I walked in and I saw the magazine covers on the wall and I thought to myself "holy crap, this is legit!"
I went through with the interview and got the job on the spot! That agency was Storm Models and I'm so blessed to be trained and mentored by a strong and brilliant woman, Sarah Doukas. My work ethic came from her training. I'm the agent I am today because of Sarah!
I was fortunate enough to have a career fall into my lap, so no, I didn't always know that I wanted to be a model agent. Prior to getting on that London bus, I had no idea that such a job even existed.
As you have reached the top of your career, what advice would you have for women still climbing the corporate ladder? Firstly, I don't feel that I've reached the top of my career, this industry keeps evolving and changing. I'm still learning and adapting to the changes that the industry and society throws at us.
My advice is to be a sponge and have an open mind! Soak it all in and file it in your memory banks, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, you will use it one day.
During your time in the industry, have you noticed a positive shift in terms of gender equality within the workplace, for models on set, dealing with clients, etc.? I'm fortunate enough to work in an industry where women dominate. It's one of a few industries where women make more money than men. Female models work more frequently and also have higher rates than men.
What is one piece of advice you wish you were given before you started your career? I'm not the type of person that looks back and says "I wish"... that's just not me. Life is all part of a big learning curve.
On a personal note, what does IWD mean to you? It's awesome that there is an International Women's Day. It's been a long time coming! Having said that, I feel women and their accomplishments should be celebrated every day!
Who are your personal female heroes? Of course the women in my family, especially my grandmother, mom and aunt. I can only wish that I live up to them.
An industry hero would be Sarah Doukas, owner of Storm Models, I was fortunate enough to be part of the early days of Storm and got the chance to see the rise of Kate Moss and I was lucky enough to work with supermodel icons such as Elle Macpherson, Carla Bruni, Sophie Dahl, Waris Dirie-- just to name a few. To see the agency that Sarah built from a phone in her bedroom to the powerhouse that Storm is today, still floors me! I owe my career to Sarah Doukas.
How did you break into the industry? Did you always want to be a model agent? I've been working in the fashion industry since I was 18! The luxury/fashion industry has always fascinated me. I worked in retail for ten years for several brands in France (where I am originally from) and in Australia before I moved to Montreal.
I ended my career as a store director, feeling it was time for a change-- so I didn't even think I could be a model agent! In Paris, let's just say that it's a very small circle. You have to know someone who knows someone and so on and so forth. I first heard about Dulcedo when an agent gave me her card but I didn't really pay attention until two years later when I was looking for a new career, and I saw a job advertisement for the position. I thought "this is a sign!"
I applied thinking I would never get the job but I took a chance! You just never know. Dulcedo called me the day after and you can say that the rest is history...
As you have reached the top of your career, what advice would you have for women still climbing the corporate ladder? I wouldn't say I have reached my top... the sky's the limit! But my only piece of advice would be: be confident and stand your ground! Ask for what you want and go get it! Don't take no for an answer.
During your time in the industry, have you noticed a positive shift in terms of gender equality within the workplace, for models on set, dealing with clients, etc.? The modeling industry is a rare one where women generally earn more than men and at Dulcedo, we have more women on the team than men!
However, the shift I have noticed is the rise of body and ethnic diversity-- FINALLY! Dulcedo was one of the first agencies to promote "in-between" models!
Representation matters from gender, to skin colors to body shapes. The Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 had a big impact on the industry. Brands and agencies were called out for the lack of diversity and representation. There is still a lot more work to do but we are steadily getting there.
What is one piece of advice you wish you were given before you started your career? Move out of your comfort zone -- this is valid for every aspect of your life!
On a personal note, what does IWD mean to you? For me, IWD is everyday! We shouldn't need a "special day" to celebrate womanhood. We are freaking goddesses! And we should rule the world!
Who are your personal female heroes? I have many! But to keep it short-- my mama, her sister, and Maya Angelou!
How did you break into the industry? Did you always see yourself in this type of role? In regards to a Project Management role, these qualities were always instilled in me and my personality. I've always had a very strong passion for planning, organizing, and executing projects, regardless of the industry. I was introduced to Dulcedo in my last year of school through an internship. I was given the opportunity to test out many roles at the agency, and the team had given me the opportunity to fulfill a full-time Project Management role after my internship was completed.
From the very start, the role was very aligned with all of my interests! There was a mix of fashion and beauty campaigns, and on the flip side of it, I was executing collaborations for brands I adored, and was so ecstatic to be introduced to such a different world and career environment. The digital team was still fairly new at the time, and we were just starting to grow into what it has become, so I took this as my opportunity to grasp and learn as much as I could from the team and my director who had an extensive amount of knowledge about the industry. And to this day, I absolutely adore my role, and could not see myself doing anything else! With time, I grew into more extensive roles within the company, while always being able to keep my role as a Project Manager, which is where I really found my place.
As someone who's grown into a senior position in their profession, what advice do you have for young women climbing the corporate ladder? I think it's very important to identify your career goals, determine exactly what you're seeking in a position and role and what you envision long-term. It's very important to surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, whether that's in your work environment, or your personal life. And know that mistakes are okay, there will be days you thrive and days you struggle, but that's the fundamental part of the process and growth, and most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the process!
Working with brands, have you seen a positive shift in how marketing is geared towards women? If so, what are the differences between now and then? I’m extremely lucky to spend most of my day-to-day and work-life surrounded by extremely strong women, who inspire me daily, which has been the case from the very start of my career in this industry. From my team internally, to my clients, I work with an extensive amount of intelligent and inspiring women, who fulfill me, who work with me to create female-based oriented campaigns, female-empowering events, and an overall environment where we have created a foundation where we are highlighting female creators in all their glory within our campaigns and everyday work.
What is a piece of advice that you wish was given to you before you entered the workforce? To enjoy the process and to say yes to the opportunities that scare you! I think as individuals, we always seek the highest and best for ourselves and envision ourselves being the most fulfilled once we reach our set milestones or goals, which is completely understandable, but to get there, it's a work in progress! Small milestones lead to the big ones. Life is quick, life is temporary, and it's so important to enjoy each day and to know that growth comes with growing pains, but that's all part of the journey.
On a personal note, what does IWD mean to you? International Women's Day is an opportunity to look back on and celebrate the many positive changes that have been made in regards to creating equality. It's about celebrating and appreciating the powerful women in our lives and all around the world. It shines a bright light on women, and highlights them and all their glory.
In addition to this, International Women's Day is also a day where we must educate ourselves and others on many more changes that are needed to be made. It’s truly a day where we must reflect and discuss further improvements while acknowledging the positive changes as well.
How did you get into the industry? What sparked your interest? My nickname around the office is Sports Claud, and it's super appropriate because I always have been and always will be a sports girl. I grew up playing soccer and hockey and always knew that I wanted to end up on the agency side of things - I was fortunate enough to have gotten my foot in the door so early.
Working in a male dominated profession, have you had any experiences where you felt that you weren't heard or validated? If so, how do you overcome that? I have had all too many of those experiences, unfortunately. Luckily, I'm someone who has a thick skin and isn't afraid to speak louder if I feel like I'm not being heard.
What tips do you have for women wanting to break into the sports industry? Sports, let alone athlete representation, is a very niche industry, so explore all opportunities that might help you get your foot in the door! This includes internships and unpaid gigs! From there... network, network, network! Get your name out there, and build your circle so that when the time comes, you have a good foundation of experience, and peers that can vouch for you.
As someone who's opening doors for other women to break into this industry, do you feel any pressure to be a role model? As my career picks up steam, one of the things I'm keeping in focus is how I can create opportunities for young women to break into the field. When I was starting out, there really wasn't much in terms of job, or even internship availability, and despite my research, I didn't find a big pool of women of whom I was able to reach out to for advice and feedback.
So how ever I'm able to be that support figure now, whether that's connecting on LinkedIn, or having a virtual coffee meeting to discuss the career path, I'm more than happy to be a part of it.
On a personal note, what does IWD mean to you? It means a lot, but I think what means more to me is that women are finally on the cusp of equity in the sports field. We're not there yet but it's great to see increased opportunity for women to break into the industry, whether that's on the media side, representation side, broadcasting space, player space, or even just as a supporter - we're getting the opportunities, exposure, and funding that the rest of the sector is getting. And yes it's overdue but we're picking up steam, and that's what's important!
Who are your personal female heroes? My all time female hero/role model would be Beyoncé. Aside from being an incredible artist and performer, I've always admired and continue to be in awe of the way she's been able to build and grow her brand to spaces outside of music. She wears so many hats and is successful in everything she does because of a drive and work ethic that's just as strong as her talent.
How does Dulcedo encourage a culture of support and equality amongst its staff? Dulcedo is a place that really values equality. We walk the walk and talk the talk. But in general, we want to have fun! Yes, work is work but we make it fun! Of course, we have protocols and standards in place and discrimination does not fly! But I am proud to work for a company that values everyone and employs an incredible team of females. Everyone is validated on their work, talents, and what they bring to the table.
As someone who's grown into a senior position in their profession, what advice do you have for young women hoping to reach the pinnacle in their careers? I think the goal is to think outside the box and try to be creative in anything. A Human Resources position could sound boring and be heavily administrative, but if you see your job as a creative one, you will always have fun! And when you have fun and are optimistic, you will find the best solution to any problem... and people will appreciate you for that! Then, naturally you have positioned yourself as a leader without even knowing it!
Over your career, have you noticed a positive shift in workplace dynamics in terms of gender equality? Yes, of course! I started my career advising men in the Human Resources sector, and I am still doing that. But even though I am a young woman, I have always felt respected by everyone at Dulcedo. In my personal experience, I truly have never really felt a difference due to my gender. I'm very fortunate for that and recognize that it's not always the norm.
On a personal note, what does IWD mean to you? It's a day to celebrate women for who they are and who they want to be!
Who are your personal female heroes? ... Buffy the Vampire Slayer!