BLOOMFEST:  Turn it up

BloomFest is Bloom’s flagship event of the year, a day of provocation, up-skilling and coming together to overcome the barriers to women’s success in our industry.  Led by the real voices of women - and now the real voices of men too - this year, BloomFest  ‘Turned it up.’ We want to turn up the volume, turn up the pressure, turn up the pace of change.



BloomFest made its name in 2017 with The Booth of Truth, an inflatable confession booth in which women shared shocking stories of the barriers to their success, which  punctured the glossy facade of our industry and triggered a new dialogue about the urgency to shift the gender dynamics at work. After two years, six Booths of Truth and hundreds of confessions from women and men, we’re left asking - ‘what is our industry going to DO to change for the better?’


We’ve learned the hard way that mustering up the courage to take a stand on taboo issues and running head first into tough conversations is the only way for real change to happen.  


Thank you for joining us in turning talk into action - to face the heat, to stand up for what you know is right, to walk the untrodden path. Together we will tackle power, privilege, pay, parenthood and purpose in the only way we know how - through the naked truth. 


Bloomfest 2019 gave attendees the chance to:

- Training in key skills via interactive workshops

- Tips and advice on how to handle the real issues that impact your career

- Inspiration via both realistic role models and motivational speakers 

- Confidence to push for positive change in your organisation

- The opportunity to build your personal networks 

- The chance to share your story anonymously to provoke action


8:15am – Arrival, registration, breakfast networking

8:50am – Welcome from Bloom President, Stephanie Matthews

8:55am – A keynote by Lady Phyll

Lady Phyll - Co-founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride, community builder and organiser, the new Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, an Albert Kennedy Trust patron, Diva Magazine columnist, and public speaker focusing on race, gender, sexuality and class.

9:15am - The Exchange: Can a two-way mentoring pilot begin to close the gender divide in our


This year, Bloom launched The Exchange, a groundbreaking cross-mentoring pilot, which invited 20 industry-leading men to be matched with 20 Bloom women, to break down the barriers contributing to the gender divide in our industry. It aimed to open up a refreshingly honest dialogue between the sexes that could unpack stereotypes and forge a new way to look at gender in the workplace, making it more equal for all. This panel will reveal the promise and realities of the 2019 pilot of The Exchange, focusing on how ‘unexpected, confidential conversations between men and women from the industry’ can break through some of the cultural barriers that exist, one conversation at a time.

Co-moderated by one of The Exchange duos - Stephen Lepitak, Editor of the Drum

and Lara Izlan, Director of Advertising Data & Analytics at ITV.

It will feature research from Annie Auerbach and Adam Chmielowski, Founders of Starling

Strategy, and three Exchange duos - Stephanie Matthews, Bloom President & Danny

Spears, Commercial Director, The Ozone Project; Gina Hood, Senior Account

Director, Snap London & Dave Lowe, Strategy Partner, Digitas UK; Charlotte Bunyan,

Head of Strategy at Cult LDN/NY & Bhavit Chandrani, Partnerships Controller, ITV

10:15am – Comfort break

10:30am – Training workshops

11.35am -The Secret Self v. The Work SelfHow does our true mental health impact us at work? A Fishbowl with the

Marketing Society

This is an opportunity for everyone to take the stage, bringing their real voice to an open, honest, provocative conversation about a topic that is still considered taboo - but we feel should not be. The concept of the Fishbowl format is to bring together brave delegates for an informal, relaxed conversation where all attendees can become contributors by stepping into the fishbowl to share their story, challenge or experience on the topic. We want to make the invisible visible and understand how we as leaders can make a positive impact at work to help people deal with their own secret selves - their mental health - and those of others around them with compassion. In this BloomFest Fishbowl, we aim to explore how gender plays a role in our Secret Selves - what do we mask? And why do we mask it? Are our masks caught up in gender stereotypes? And how does that block our development at work and personally?

Due to the personal nature of the topic our Fishbowl will be conducted under

Chatham House Rule.

Hosted by Gemma Greaves, CEO, Marketing Society and all of you

12:35pm – Lunchtime

13:35pm – TimeTo: What's next in the drive to put a stop to sexual

harassment in our industry?

14:00pm – Training workshops


15:05pm - The Fork: To have (kids) or not to have?

This panel will explore why we choose to be (or not to be) parents, and how this decision impacts our careers. Join us for a provocative discussion, diving into a thorny question so often shrouded in assumptions, expectations and social norms –

rather than honest conversations about how we all live through this choice point.

Of course, implicit in this topic is the understanding that for some, the choice to have a child biologically is not theirs to make. We will deal with this reality delicately, yet honestly in our conversation. According to a US study, in 2019, one in five women are entering menopause without children. Figures of childfree women have risen from 9% to 17% over the past 30 years. This led to the question: Do the pressures of our industry impact our decision whether or not to have children? And how do these industry pressures conflict with the societal pressures to fit into the stereotypical role of being a woman’?

Moderated by Sally Keane, Head of Sales, Linkedin / Bloom COO and feature

Jackie Stevenson, Partner, Brooklyn Brothers and WACL VP;

Sarah Honeyball, Client Development Lead, Channel 4;

Meagan Bickerstaff, CEO & Founder, Inkwave

Han-Son Lee, Planning Director, Proximity and Founder of Daddilife

16:05pm – Tea/coffee break

16:15pm - The Future Fit Industry: How progressive are we, really? A new research study reveals the truth in

your words with UM London

To ‘Turn it Up’ this year, Bloom UK partnered with UM London to uncover just how

Future Fit our industry really is. We want to shine a spotlight on what a progressive

comms industry looks like, and the behaviours we’d need to adopt to truly deliver

that. Is it about being more inclusive? What does ‘inclusive’ really mean to us?

What really matters to us in the quest for diversity? What traits should the leaders

embody? What will the future workforce want? We asked you, and you told us the

stark truth. Let’s listen up to debate what should be next - and how we can future

proof ourselves and our companies to get there.

Moderated by

Sophia Durrani, Managing Partner - Strategy, UM London and features

Matt Adams, CEO, Havas Media;

Sarah Jenkins, Incoming MD, Saatchi & Saatchi London;

Zara Bryson, Innovation & Strategy Director, Publicis Media; 

Danny Pallett, Senior Creative, Dark Horses & Co-Founder of

17:15pm - The Booth of Truth:

Confessions Live

This panel is built around Bloom’s legendary Booth of Truth - the first industry platform giving the anonymous truths of our people a place to be outed, discussed and debated - first launched at BloomFest 2017


‘Truths’ slipped into the booth throughout the day at BloomFest, reflecting the anonymous experiences of attendees, will be used to provoke debate around the key topics of the day. We will tackle thorny truths from money & power, to sanity & secret selves, from paternity & parity, to privilege & bullying. We will discuss the truths as they come out of the Booth LIVE.

Moderated by Nicola Kemp, Managing Editor of Bite and feature Victoria Brooks,

Bloom Vice-President;

Adrian Walcott, MD, Brands with Values;

Susan ‘Spark’ Park, Head of Global Gaming Ads, Facebook;

Sereena Abbassi Global Head of Culture & Inclusion, M&C Saatchi Group

17:50pm – Closing remarks by Bloom

18:00pm – Drinks and networking

19:00pm – CLOSE

#TogetherWeAreBloom  #TurnItUp

All profits from Bloom's Panel events go to our charity partner Women's Aid, along with raffle proceeds (tickets can be bought on the night or in advance). 

At BloomFest, we champion real voices, so some of the subjects discussed are sensitive. For support, speak to NABS here.


With thanks to Bloom Partner IPG Mediabrands


With thanks to our sponsors

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© 2020 by Bloom UK | London

Bloomfest 2019

Image copyright: Bronac McNeill