Building Change from the Inside-Out

March 8, 2023

Renee Weekes Duncan Renee Weekes Duncan

By Renee Weekes Duncan, Senior Vice President, Golin Canada

On March 8th we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day to recognize women and honour how they authentically show up every day. We also use today to engage in a dialogue around gender bias and the impact that it has on equity for women. I’d like to take a moment to recognize all the amazing self-identified women across Golin who feel empowered to show up every day as their authentic selves.

In our role as marketers, we have the ability, and the responsibility, through the brands that we work with every day, to impact equity-deserving communities. It’s the moment when we go beyond the client brief, to think about the current cultural context and use our creativity to create campaigns that help meet a community need with decisive brand action. It’s thinking about the difference that one word makes in a social post, because words matter; and as a former colleague once told me – it’s not about intent, it’s about impact.

This vital work to truly build equity extends beyond our clients – in order to be great partners, it’s important that we “walk the talk” within the walls of Golin as well. I’m proud to say that over the span of my 16-year career, I’ve never been part of a team that has had such a diverse mix of colleagues.

There was a fundamental shift, ushered in by the murder of George Floyd in 2020, that has shed light on the systemic barriers faced by all equity-deserving groups. As a Black woman, I now feel empowered to speak up and lead difficult conversations around those barriers, and there is something profound about being surrounded by colleagues where you feel not only comfortable to share those thoughts but encouraged to do so.

Sometimes, as a leader it’s about helping other women find their voice and grow their confidence, whether they are leading a client call for the first time or preparing for a big client presentation. It’s making sure everyone has not just a seat, but a voice around the table.

Whether it’s through our HR teams intentionally recruiting diverse candidate slates by including members of equity-deserving groups such as newcomers to Canada, or through Black women mentioning that they were motivated to apply for a role after seeing members of our senior leadership team who look like them – these are the moments that I truly live for. Moments that showcase the impact of the work we do every day. Representation really does matter.

I’m proud to work at an organization that is committed to supporting women from all walks of life in building meaningful careers. Through targeted and thoughtful initiatives, we support women during every stage of their employee journey, from how we recruit, the benefits we provide, to how we develop talent, ultimately equipping women with unique resources and varied tools they need to be successful.

If we truly believe in, value, and acknowledge we all start from different backgrounds and have unique journeys, then women are more likely to have access to what’s required to succeed. So, on IWD (and beyond), engage in those impactful conversations. Raise awareness. Help forge positive change for women.


International Women’s Day (IWD) has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in the world – in society, in politics, in economics and, of course, in the world of work. At Golin, we are celebrating and elevating the different experiences of women across our global network who play such a key role in making us the company we are today. Stay tuned to hear more rich perspectives throughout March.