Women Leading Change Awards 2020: Women’s Leadership Program | New

Erica Kerner, SVP and Head of Marketing Strategy and Business Partnerships for ONE Championship, fought hands-on.

The two activities the brand is involved in, mixed martial arts (MMA) and esports, tend to be viewed as masculine by the public. It was logical to assume that people would also perceive the company’s internal culture to be one of testosterone saturation. However, the company actually has a long-standing culture of equal treatment, pay, and promotion for all of its female athletes. Additionally, ONE’s leadership team is nearly 50% female, although its male leaders tend to dominate in the public eye.

Kerner won the Women Leadership Program award at the 2020 Women Leading Change Awards for a program she designed to tackle this issue head-on. [email protected] aimed to reach internal and external audiences with the company’s equality story for athletes and staff.

The program included a wide range of initiatives and, under Kerner’s leadership, touched every part of the organization, driving fundamental shifts in team culture and actions.

The program included:

  • A series of internal events, as well as external events in all key APAC markets to promote and strengthen women’s equality and reach out to business leaders, agencies, CMOs and women’s networks of each market.

  • Outreach to business partners to counter the perception that ONE was only male-focused and therefore not a good partner opportunity for female-focused brands. This effort, which involved female leaders from many functions – media rights, analytics, business development, performance marketing and customer success – helped change the perception and signed many brands targeting women, including L’Oréal.

  • CSR activities promoting the empowerment of women and the fight against harassment. Initiatives here included an International Women’s Day activation and a partnership with Evolve Gyms to develop programs that help girls use the skills they learn through practicing martial arts to build confidence, awareness and strength. physical and mental.

  • Center female athletes in marketing and social media. As one of the only mixed sports to have female athletes as their title fight in many events, ONE frequently features female athletes as a key message in global communications, showing fans of all genders that female athletes are on an equal footing with men. . With 20 million Facebook fans and a typical audience of 30 million for event broadcasts, the company believes this is one of the best ways to help change attitudes.

The internal International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign mentioned above saw the [email protected] program leaders working with United Women (formerly UN Women) to participate in its global Everyone for Equality campaign. Kerner led the team to work with ONE’s internal CSR team to build the concept, his agency ONE Elite to recruit the best women and male athletes and its production unit ONE to film them all over the world sharing their support for female empowerment. The marketing team then amplified the campaign across all ONE channels.

The company claims that [email protected] had significant impacts both outside and inside the company. The program has changed ONE’s culture, which now sees inclusion as a fundamental right and has taken ownership of its power to change attitudes and bring about lasting change with its business partners and fans around the world.

Mara R. Wilmoth