March 27, 2020

Women’s History Month: A Word with Our Redsters

by Ellen Mallernee Barnes in News

As we’re all navigating the new normal in our personal and professional lives, we wanted to take a moment to recognize the end of Women’s History Month by celebrating nine incREDible women from our offices around the world. From the U.S. and the U.K., to the Philippines, Singapore and Australia, these Redsters answered questions about their work, their lives and their inspiration.

Stacey Simon, Account Supervisor, Social Media, Pittsburgh

AKA: “Social media strategist” “Local government official” “Wife” “New Mom!”

Stacey joined Red Havas in 2017, bringing more than 12 years of experience in social media, PR and healthcare communications. Outside of work, Stacey serves her community as vice president of council for East Pittsburgh Borough, where she lives with her husband, John, and 4-month-old son, Dominic.

Who is a famous woman in history who inspires you?

I’ve always admired Amelia Earhart, even as a little girl. She was the ultimate risk-taker and, though it ended tragically, her legacy inspires both women and men alike.

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

My mom, of course! She’s the woman behind the successes of our whole family. She is so kind and nurturing, and much more patient than most people. Now my son is lucky to be able to spend every day with her while I’m at work.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

Beyoncé is my go-to. She has too many good songs to pick just one!

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

There are lots of good ones, but I won’t be satisfied until our country’s government officials are represented by at least as many women as men. We need more women representing us across all levels of government.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

Frida Mom is a standout for getting extra real about life after having a baby. Many moms are caught off-guard when it comes to postpartum issues because for so long, nobody was talking about them. Frida Mom unapologetically promotes its postpartum care products without sugarcoating.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

Equal pay.

What’s a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

Pinkwashing needs to go away, like earplugs being marketed as “women’s earplugs” just because they are pink! Ridiculous.


Shailo Rasanayakam, Integrated Senior Account Manager, London

AKA: “Corpsumer PR gun” “Foodie” “Travel enthusiast” “Netflix addict”

Shailo is a media consultant with six years’ experience in public relations, specializing in corporate communication and managed services, with experience across key markets in Asia-Pacific, the U.K., Europe and North America. Her role in the Red Havas London office involves managing brand communications for large-scale, cross-border and global projects for multinational brands.

What’s a quote you always go back to?

“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” —Oprah Winfrey

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

My mum—she’s always taught me to do my best, but at the same time, work really hard to get to where I want to be.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“The Man” by Taylor Swift.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

The launch of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, in 2013. “Leaning in” became a global movement that continues to this day, with the phrase very much forming part of the everyday vernacular.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

Business Chicks. Their content and events are consistently inspiring and motivating, always bringing the message back to their core mission about every woman being capable of achieving brilliant things.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

The freedom to use her voice, openly and without judgment.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

I’d like to see female stereotypes retired—no two women are the same, so brands should stop marketing to us as if we were.


Pattie Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Pittsburgh

AKA: “Wife and mom” “Music lover” “Writer” “Problem-solver”

A reporter turned PR pro, Pattie’s strategic counsel in the Pittsburgh Red Havas office helps build brands and leaders. Her consensus-building and problem-solving skills support clients navigating complex issues management and crisis situations.

Who is a famous woman in history who inspires you?

The Notorious R.B.G. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)! While I was always impressed by her, it was not until I watched the documentary about her life that I became aware of all the obstacles she faced—and overcame—and how truly exceptional she is.

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

My high school English teacher, Georgia Johnson. Not only did she make English enjoyable—and even fun—but she also took a personal interest in her students. Early on she recognized my aptitude for writing and nurtured it. The confidence she gave me led to the career I have today.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

I equate female empowerment to a snowball rolling downhill, growing in size, momentum and impact. From the all-female spacewalk to the U.S. women’s soccer team demanding equal pay to women demanding justice for assault, each moment—important in and of itself—is part of something even greater.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

For more than a decade, Dove has tackled the complex landscape of poor body confidence and self-esteem.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

Equal opportunity and pay.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

I think a double-standard remains for women related to their looks and looking younger that you don’t really see for men.


Noelle Brasier, Account Executive, New York City

AKA: “Best friend” “Dog mom” “Daughter”

Noelle is an account executive on the consumer team in the New York office, with a passion for food-and-beverage and hospitality clients. She recently packed her bags and moved across the country from the Phoenix office to live in New York City. Before Red Havas, Noelle graduated from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, where she was a member of the Acrobatics & Tumbling team.

What’s a quote you always go back to?

“Here’s to strong women: May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” —Unknown

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

Easy: my mother. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say she can’t do something. She inspires me to do and be whatever I want, no matter what obstacles it might present.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” by Shania Twain.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

The U.S. Women’s soccer team winning their fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup in July, and then demanding equal pay for work of equal value to that of their male counterparts.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

Aerie by American Eagle, which was one of the first major brands to showcase models of all shapes and sizes and not airbrush its ads.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

Equal pay.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

Basically anything that’s “for her” or “for women” just because it’s pink. Objects don’t need to be pink for women to use them.


Rachael Sansom, Managing Director, London

AKA: “Boss” “Soho dive bar expert” “Mum” “Wife”

Rachael is part of the Red Havas global management team and lead of the London office. A strategic communications leader, she has over 20 years’ experience working with some of the world’s biggest brands. She has achieved multiple industry awards, including three Cannes Lions and multiple PRWeek awards.

Who is a famous woman in history who inspires you?

The queen—surely she’s the ultimate boss lady, an example of an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

Sally Costerton, former EMEA CEO of PR agency Hill & Knowlton and chairman of MHP during my time there. She rose to these senior positions when it was even harder than it is today for a woman to do so. She combines being one of the smartest people I’ve ever met with also being unbelievably fair and empathetic; you simply can’t talk to her without being inspired.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

Where it all began, with women receiving the vote in Great Britain and Ireland in 1918.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

Honestly, you can’t fault Dove. While we are seeing brands get better, you have to give Dove the kudos for being the first in market almost a decade ago to showcase women as their true selves.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

Women’s softer skills and qualities should be recognized for their real value in the workplace.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

We need to retire anything that objectifies women or makes them question their self-worth or appearance.


Stephanie Clarke, Vice President—Consumer & Lifestyle Practice Head, Phoenix

AKA: “Daughter” “Friend” “Dreamer” “Doer” “Team Leader” “Strategist” “Foodie”

A founding member of the Red Havas Phoenix office with over a decade of experience leading award-winning programs for consumer and lifestyle brands, Stephanie is a savvy PR and marketing pro who relishes going the extra mile to deliver the best possible results for clients. In addition to providing counsel and creative thinking for social media and digital campaigns, she specializes in the development and execution of strategic marketing tactics to support client initiatives.

What’s a quote you always go back to?

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” —Arianna Huffington

Who is a famous woman in history who inspires you?

Michelle Obama, who left a legacy of her own during her husband’s presidency. She has the ability to reach people in such a genuine and authentic way and is a true role model for women around the world.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“Flawless” by Beyoncé.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

When Emma Watson spearheaded the UN Women #HeForShe campaign—I was lucky enough to work on the campaign, and it’s a time in my career I’ll never forget.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

H&M’s She’s a Lady campaign was a powerful message breaking down gender norms—it was one of those campaigns that emphasized women’s empowerment and self-expression and wasn’t focused on traditional consumerism. It was a refreshing way to speak to consumers without a clear sales agenda.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

Fundamental human rights and a voice.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

I’m not sure it’s as much about retiring messaging as it is focusing on the future and how we continue to navigate the change ahead. To do that, we need both men and women. Nike Women just released a campaign that speaks to this perfectly: https://youtu.be/MzYYUGnmqLA.


Yasmine Gray, Executive Director, Brisbane

AKA: Yassie G

Yasmine has worked in media and communications for over 35 years, across several countries and continents. She founded her own agency in Australia in 2009, which eventually merged with the Havas Group in 2014 with Yasmine then taking on the role of Executive Director of Red Havas Brisbane. She is part of the national executive leadership team in Australia and is responsible for the successful development and growth of the business.

What’s a quote you always go back to?

“Nothing in life is free”―my father used to tell me this. It was his way of making me understand that you had to work hard for everything in life; and he was right.

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

Margaret Thatcher – the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain. As a young person I may not have understood all the politics of the time but what I did know was that I saw a strong woman standing up in what was then very much a man’s world, who was unafraid and was more than holding her own. That was so inspiring.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera -makes me feel like I could take on the whole world!

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

When women finally got the vote. Seems crazy now to think that we didn’t have a voice in society; that we had no say in how the world we live in would be shaped. Of course this is still a battle to this day in some countries; a battle that I hope for those women that will end sometime soon.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

Nike―from their Dream Crazier to What Will They Say About You campaigns―they consistently deliver ads that show women as strong and capable, that are not stereo-typical, can do anything, often defeating the odds in challenging circumstances, and are not afraid to give them a voice.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

A female mentor. It can make such a difference when you can see other women succeeding and leading the way. It gives you confidence to know that anything is possible.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

Yes, portraying women over 50 as content, home bodies that are doing well if they can walk round the block. There are many of us that are not only still working but are kicking goals AND are very physically active.


Vylvianne Devajothi, Senior Account Manager, Singapore

Vyl is a communications consultant with six years’ experience in corporate communications with experience across key markets in Asia-Pacific and the USA. Her role in the Red Havas Singapore office involves heading up the corporate/B2B technology practice and helping clients take an integrated approach to telling their stories in a meaningful manner.

What’s a quote you always go back to?

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” ―Sheryl Sandberg

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

My mom and two sisters. I come from a family of predominantly women (my dad is severely outnumbered), and despite our different personalities, I’ve learnt, and continue to learn, so much about the strength of a woman from each of them through their life experiences. My mom, in particular, inspires me to be a go-getter, daring and persevering in all that I do.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

Aretha Franklin’s Respect.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

To me, Malala has become synonymous with female empowerment as her work and advocacy embodies the struggle for gender equality and female education. Her age, her adversity, her cause, her courage―all of that set in motion a subsequent wave of milestones in the gender equality realm globally since 2012.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

Glossier. The brand is one that is created by women for women, and have truly disrupted the beauty industry―while proving that women, beauty and community can and should be taken seriously. They’ve done so by focusing on the needs of and empowering real women to be their best selves by enhancing the features we have rather than attempting to alter them, building a community around their brand and celebrating real bodies.

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

The elimination of unconscious biases and perceptions of them in the workplace. It is only then that great strides towards female equality in the professional setting can be achieved. 

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

What a woman should be. There are so many contradictions that society dictates to women through marketing: what they should do or be from a young age. And the conflicting messages that women hear constantly throughout their lives end up confusing and tearing them down, rather than lifting them up.


Janessa Tek-ing, Account Director, Philippines

A Redster since July 2019, Janessa brings over five years of experience working with clients from various industries. She’s passionate about creating meaningful stories for our clients, and feels inspired to work on campaigns that make a meaningful difference in the world.

What’s a quote you always go back to?

“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

Who is a woman from your history who inspires you?

My mom—her selflessness and dedication in her craft motivates me to also put my 100 percent (or more!) in everything that I do.

What’s your “Go get it, girl” theme song?

“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

What’s one moment you equate with female empowerment?

I’ve always been fascinated with the space! So every time I hear news about women taking the lead in some space exploration—like the most recent news of NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir completed an all-woman space walk—I’d always be in awe of what women can actually do.

What brand does a good job of empowering women or representing a real woman of today?

I’d champion my client, Canva, which I know personally is really doing a great job in pushing for diversity and inclusion in the workplace! They recently launched a new collection of design templates and free stock photography, featuring their very own female employees as models. How cool is that! They also promote a workplace that allows women to freely express themselves, even in the world of tech

In a perfect world, what would every woman have at work?

The confidence to speak up and the opportunity to be heard, regardless of who she is and where she came from.

Is there a type of marketing messaging angled toward women that can be retired?

I’d love for some brands to stop sensationalizing women and to get to know us in a deeper level, not just from the outside. There’s more to women than meets the eye.