Linda McGregor, Founder and Owner of All About Eve and Four Legged Sages is an Australian pioneer in the marketing to women arena, having started her business 15 years ago following a successful global corporate career as a Group Account Director in Advertising. Linda is a sought after speaker, expert and commentator on applied understanding around women.
In her newest endeavour Four Legged Sages, Linda has combined her love of horses with her understanding of human and team dynamics in a unique professional development offering. Using an experiential learning approach, horses provide honest and immediate feedback to participants and a living mirror of their subconscious and conscious behaviour. It’s an innovative approach to developing leadership and team behaviour in a safe and supportive environment.
You founded All About Eve 15 years ago to help companies more effectively connect with female consumers. Where do companies most often go wrong?
They don’t take the time to gather sufficient insights to understand their female audience in depth. By that I mean at a subconscious, triggers and drivers level – as well as the standard quantitative and qualitative research. Those real “aha” moments about your target. Then, because marketers don’t fully realise the why, often campaign content and placement can miss the bulls-eye on the communications and connection fronts with women.
How do stereotypes and unconscious bias play into ineffective marketing?
Good stereotypes, based on research and facts, are actually useful, allowing cognitive shortcuts that help initial audience profiling. Where it all falls down is when unconscious or subconscious thinking and bias comes unwittingly into play during the strategic planning stage. Then marketers make decisions, brand campaigns go to market, without understanding how the message will be heard or received by the very people, most often women, they are looking to influence!
In your gender diversity work with organisations, how do you create a bridge between prevailing organisational culture and initiatives to support women in leadership?
Carefully! The aim for us in our diversity consulting arm is always to get across the senior people first and expose them to the reality of gender bias, both by men and women. That’s often a real personal wake-up or “aha” moment for participants as it brings their behaviour into conscious view and makes them aware of their actions, intended or unintended. This foundation then leads to more enlightened cultural change plans and, interestingly, a rethink of how the company is running current Women in Leadership programmes.
Tell us about your Four Legged Sages program, and how it is disrupting traditional Corporate Teambuilding methodology.
Four Legged Sages is the product of my 2 passions, understanding what makes people tick and revealing the EQ wisdom of horses.
It is a training programme unlike anything people will have experienced before, cutting through traditional training apathy and responses of “been there, done that”. Why? Well, horses, through their size, presence, take people out of their comfort zone and open them up to new experiences.
Equine willingness to listen and give instant feedback then fast-tracks teams’ and leaders’ learning moments, often helping them gaining more aha insight about self-behaviour and its impact on others in a day than in a year of conventional training and job experience.
Aided by our certified facilitators, the lessons being learnt on the ground with the horses amidst the laughter are translated into effective workplace applications via debrief and reflection sessions. See it all in action, and scroll to the photo/video edit of a morning course. Or visit our website.
I’m really excited about the market response so far. So much so, we’ll be introducing a new Four Legged Sages course targeting current and future women in leadership. Drawing on our All About Eve knowledge of female leadership issues and combining it with our horse experience, we’ve designed a half day experiential workshop to provide women with the skills and confidence to lead their own way. By having them to witness, then feel first-hand, what leadership based on trust, choice and clear vision is like, and what it can deliver in terms of staff team loyalty and success.
What has been your greatest challenge?
15 years ago: challenging set beliefs to get the marketplace to realise that they needed to consider gender preferences to market effectively to women, and that this wasn’t sexist or stereotyping, just good audience insight.
1 year ago: Being brave enough to launch a second brand offering, at the age of 50. Especially when it was an out-of-the-box approach, using horses to teach corporates about human teamwork and leadership. Hopefully this time around I’m wiser as to how to break down set attitudes and change thinking!
What are you most proud of?
Two things, again.
Personally: giving back to the industry that gave me so much. From guest lecturing at University of Sydney, through being a gender diversity judge, to mentoring senior marketers and agency staffers.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Work with each other, not against each other. Create a unique offering then be confident enough in it to know you don’t have to put others down to rise to success. And as you guys at Femeconomy have so strongly established, use your gender for good, especially your consumer spending super power.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.