Dani Batty on success, leadership and equality

Dani Batty is our Creative Director. Her career at Vista stretches more than ten years, and it’s been an inspiring journey of hard work, confidence-building and brilliant ideas.

As we look ahead to Q2, Dani shares her insights on strong female leadership, how challenge creates energy, and why being yourself is the best thing you can do.

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On success

My biggest achievement is the journey I’ve been on – I’ve worked my way up and I’ve earnt the right to be where I am. The work I’m doing now is driving real change, and that’s satisfying but I don’t think I’ve reached my biggest achievement yet. There have been a few great milestones on the way, but we’re not quite there yet.

The latest campaign we’ve worked on has been very memorable – working with tens of thousands of people to land a key strategy for one of the UK’s biggest brands. It’s been very different, very bold and brave, and we’ve had the autonomy to do that because we’ve developed such a great relationship with the client.

The best things about my role are the people who keep me feeling inspired and motivated, the ability to work on really meaningful stuff, and being at the forefront of creating lasting change for our clients. We move audiences, shift mindsets, improve environments and land important messages in a really engaging way. To be part of the intelligent creative solution for some of the biggest brands in the UK? You just can’t beat that.

On leadership

A great leader has many different styles – it depends on the environment, the people you’re working with, the constraints around you, the client, the brief. I’ve always aspired to people who see potential, instil confidence and allow other people to shine.

You’ve got to be a master of many styles. Some people might want a more diplomatic approach, sometimes you might have to nurture somebody’s potential, and sometimes you need to take the lead and be authoritative. It depends on the situation and the people.

On authenticity

When I first started meeting with clients and pitching, I got myself so worked up. I went into one pitch for a really big job, and every word went out of my head. I came out feeling really disappointed in myself – disillusioned – but I knew I had to get through it. I needed to know how to get better at this, and when it came down to it, the only thing I needed to do was be authentic and be myself.

I don’t have to sound as though I’ve studied for years and got a PhD – people buy into people as much as they buy into ideas. My biggest lesson was to allow myself to be animated and excited about the ideas that I believe in.

Don’t try and change for the room – bring the room for you. Remember that hard work pays off, and the only thing standing in your way is yourself and your own confidence and ability. Believe in yourself, trust yourself and don’t be afraid to say if you think something’s not right.

On equality 

Equality belongs to every human being. As a senior leader in this business, I hope the women working for us will always feel empowered, and never feel that gender is an issue. It’s the contribution you bring and the difference you make here. It’s not about what gender you are – and that’s the way it should be.

The world’s evolved, and in some instances the gender pay gap hasn’t moved with it. Where it exists, it needs to be eradicated – it’s ridiculous. If I’m doing a role, and I’m bringing everything that a male is bringing, then we should be on a par.

We have a responsibility to shift that ‘Boys’ Club’ culture. It’s sickening and saddening that it still goes on, and I would hate for anybody to be in a position where they felt like they had no power or control to stop a situation. There’s no on and off switch – it’s a massive cultural shift, an education for people to understand that this behaviour is not acceptable, it’s not okay and it’s not the norm.

Press for Progress feels action-driven. Now’s the time to move on, create change and start living the things we keep talking about – the cultural shifts, the mindset shifts. Let’s keep talking about it, but let’s do something about it. Carry on the conversation, but take action too.