Wunderman Thompson has designed and created Magpie – an app that aims to connect women to female mentors based on various needs, ranging from maternity and motherhood to leadership, building a personal brand and managing stress.
Launching today on International Women's Day during an event by RISE – the agency's own network for women – Magpie's purpose is to "empower and connect women across the business" using a matchmaking style app based on each mentor's expertise and knowledge.
Originating from a conversation over a beer between RISE's two co-founders, Rebecca Pinn and Helen Lee, Magpie was born from the desire to create a "self-serve platform to form connections and support Wunderman Thompson's female talent, which accounts for 50% of the agency," as it's described.
"Magpie allows our women to connect with the right person for the right advice at the right time," explains Helen. "It gives our women not just one mentor but numerous, ensuring greater relevancy and fostering more relationships. In fact, we don't even like to think of it as 'mentoring' at all… that's far too formal!"
The Magpie branding was created by senior creatives Charli Plant and Laura Saraiva at Wunderman. Explaining the idea behind the name, the team said: "The Magpie platform lets our talent steal pieces of shiny advice from lots of different people, with different experiences across the agency. And for the superstitious amongst us, it just so happens that two magpies together bring good luck and joy."
The app integrates into the agency's existing workflow platform Microsoft Teams and features a directory of mentors, which can be searched by role, name or one of 15 topics. The mentor profile is inspired by the Top Trumps game, allowing users to explore their options and message the most relevant person to start a conversation.
The app will initially be available to women at Wunderman Thompson, with research by the Academy of Management Journal finding that only 69% of women have female mentors, compared with 82% of men having male mentors. However, there are plans to scale it across the whole company. "We know women thrive by having allies, other women who raise them up. After our period of physical isolation and with some wonderful new faces at the agency, there's a real appetite for us to help facilitate relationships, and we think Magpie is going to be a real asset," says Rebecca Pinn. "There is nothing quite like this in the industry, ditching the application forms and not forcing people to commit to a long-term process if that's not right for their situation. It's the epitome of peer-to-peer mentoring."