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The importance of mentoring at every career level and stage


With statistics suggesting half of women will leave tech-based businesses by age 35, UpliftHER aims to help women elevate their careers by learning together, connecting, sharing and having honest and powerful conversations

By Jenny Priestley

Published: November 9, 2023 Updated: November 10, 2023

With statistics suggesting half of women will leave tech-based businesses by age 35, UpliftHER aims to help women elevate their careers by learning together, connecting, sharing and having honest and powerful conversations

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There's been a lot of focus on mentoring the next generation in the media industry thanks to organisations like Rise. But, for those already established in a company, it's just as important to receive that kind of encouragement.

UpliftHER aims to achieve gender equality and inclusion within the media industry by partnering with businesses who understand the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Social (ESG) responsibility.

TVBEurope caught up with co-founders Amy Mercer and Christina Graham to find out more.

Can you start by telling us about your background? Christina Graham: I began my journey in the VFX industry 18 years ago, immersing myself in a world where creativity meets technology. Throughout this extensive period, I have orchestrated and steered the post production of numerous blockbuster films, skillfully managing budgets exceeding 300 million and leading teams of 6,500 seasoned professionals. In this dynamic environment, I had the privilege of driving the post production efforts for two distinguished films that secured both Oscar and Bafta accolades, a testament to our collective dedication and passion. Presently, I am spearheading the establishment of a cutting-edge visual effects studio in London, a venture propelled by a prominent entity based in India.

Amy Mercer: I'm a mum, and I have 19 years of experience leading the talent growth of fast-paced creative tech companies. Previously, I led the talent strategy for seven brands and 10,000 people, drove large-scale growth of over 120 per cent, and built Technicolor's 2000-person global training academies and renowned recruitment brand, The Focus. More recently, I've been working independently, helping companies set up HR and recruitment teams and working with leaders on organisational design, change management and corporate and social responsibility.

Amy and Christina What inspired you to start Uplift Her? Amy: Earlier this year, on March 14th, Christina asked me to help her plan and host an event for women working in visual effects. It was evident from speaking to the women that things haven't changed, and as many statistics show, the working world and women's experience have worsened since Covid.

We have both been in senior positions and been active in creating access and supporting organisations building better workplaces. However, in my previous roles, I often found myself up against brick walls as organisations tend to be siloed in their approach and too focused on short-term operational needs, making it difficult to make the long-term changes needed regarding inequality, inclusion and business sustainability.

I've had first-hand experience navigating chronic talent shortages in the creative industry, costing organisations revenue, clients and reputation and stunting growth. Still, I often found companies needing to address or do some of the basics to retain women. Although we are now seeing more women entering the industry than ever, with statistics like half of women will leave tech-based businesses by age 35 and all the concerns around AI disproportionately impacting women, we are seeing women leave workplaces in droves.

Things have to change. So, shortly after the event in March, we decided to create a platform where women help empower and uplift other women. Then in June 2023, we started to develop programmes that help organisations address and take down the inherent walls for the betterment of all.

How does UpliftHer differ from some of the other female-focused organisations in the media and entertainment industry (Rise, GalsNGear etc)? Christina: Our approach is centred around cultivating a supportive community through events and resources, providing a platform for women to connect and navigate their careers with confidence. Simultaneously, we collaborate closely with companies to refine and enhance their internal programmes, making them effective in fostering the growth and advancement of women, allies, and those who have been historically underrepresented.

Within our internal company programmes, our primary focus is on empowering organisations to develop robust mentoring initiatives, inclusive workshops, and thorough audits. Research demonstrates that mentorship significantly amplifies opportunities for promotion, with individuals being 5-6 times more likely to progress. Furthermore, it enhances retention rates for women and minorities by up to 38 per cent, boosts overall productivity by 67 per cent, and substantially improves the well-being and job satisfaction of participants, with 9 out of 10 expressing increased happiness.

Despite being in 2023, persistent gender bias and inequalities persist in our society. We acknowledge the multifaceted nature of achieving gender equality and inclusion within organisations. Therefore, we actively engage with companies, offering our expertise to guide them in fostering a culture of equality. At the same time, we are committed to building a supportive community, recognising that progress is best achieved through collaborative efforts.

What is the goal of UpliftHer? Amy: We have two missions

Build a community of women who support each other and themselves to do better

Work with companies who need expert guidance so everyone ca
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