Today, March 8th, we celebrate women everywhere  – those we admire, love, and hold dear, from close companions to distant inspirations. International Women’s Day serves as a reminder to recognize and honor women’s contributions and existence, despite ongoing challenges like gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. 

In this spirit, we sat down with Melissa Bohlsen, Chief Marketing Officer at mobile OEM advertising specialists AVOW to discuss her commitment to gender equality and gain her perspective on “Inspire Inclusion,” the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, and the importance of advocating for female leadership within the workplace.

What significance does International Women’s Day hold for you?

International Women’s Day is a profound reminder of our shared commitment to achieving gender equality. This year’s theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” resonates with me on a personal and professional level. It’s a call to action to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of life. Despite progress, we still face significant challenges in achieving true equality, especially in corporate leadership and decision-making.

Can you discuss the impact of exploring gender dynamics on your career progression?

“n my career journey, understanding an organization’s gender dynamics has been crucial. I’ve learned to ask about the ratio of women to men and the presence of women in leadership positions. This isn’t just due diligence; it’s a reflection of my values. There have been instances where I’ve declined opportunities upon realizing a company’s lack of commitment to enhancing female representation.

How do you approach championing women in leadership roles?

In senior positions, women have a unique opportunity and responsibility to advocate for more female representation in leadership. My journey has involved direct discussions with investors to push for more women on the board. These conversations are essential in shaping a diverse and inclusive future for corporate governance.


“We must continue to challenge the status quo, advocate for change, and lead by example”

What role do men play in fostering gender equality, in your view?

Gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue; it requires everyone’s commitment, especially men. In industries dominated by male CEOs, like the 90% running Fortune 500 companies, it’s crucial for men to actively support diversity and equality. Encouraging women in entrepreneurial ventures is important, but so is the commitment of male-led firms to embrace these values from the start.

How do you respond to the disparity in leadership and advocate for diversity and equality?

We fully embrace diversity at AVOW – and in terms on an executive level, 50% of our leadership team are women, which benefits our organization through broader perspectives, enhanced performance, and a more inclusive culture. I’m proud of our commitment to an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Can you talk about the importance of vocal advocacy for women’s empowerment?

Vocal advocacy for women in the workplace is crucial, even in the face of skepticism or criticism. Supporting women aspiring to leadership roles, regardless of potential backlash, is essential. It’s about remaining steadfast and calm, fostering an environment where women’s achievements are recognized and celebrated.


Women have a unique opportunity to advocate for more female representation in leadership.”

How do you champion women in your workplace?

Publicly acknowledging and praising the work of other women is vital. Recalling a senior colleague’s speech about a female executive’s achievements is a powerful example of how we can support each other, especially in demanding environments. This fosters a culture of respect and support among professional women.

Could you also elaborate on how AVOW embraces diversity and inclusion?

At AVOW, diversity and inclusivity are at the heart of our culture. With women in significant leadership positions and a management team from diverse backgrounds, we challenge the norms of corporate leadership. Balancing this demanding role with motherhood has taught me the importance of communication, resilience, and a supportive team. It’s a testament to our dedication to creating a multicultural and inclusive workplace.

What’s your perspective on balancing professional and personal life?

Normalizing discussions about family life in professional settings is key to dismantling double standards. I openly discuss balancing my career with family responsibilities, serving as a model for other women. It’s interesting that while women may hesitate to share family details, men often do so freely, highlighting the need for a more inclusive approach.

Do you have a final message you wish to share for this year’s International Women’s Day?

This International Women’s Day, let’s reaffirm our dedication to gender equality through our actions. We must continue to challenge the status quo, advocate for change, and lead by example. Embracing this year’s mantra, “Inspire Inclusion,” let’s integrate this principle into our daily lives. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for ourselves and future generations.

You can explore International Women’s Day further at  the official IWD website and join the conversation with #IWD2024 and #InspireInclusion on social media.

If you’re passionate about joining a team dedicated to equity and inclusion, explore current career opportunities at AVOW.