Advertising Week 2007

Making Strides in Diversifying the Workplace

Talk at AAF's Mosaic Awards Shows a Cautious Optimism for Change in Ad Industry

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NEW YORK ( -- Workplace diversity is a journey, not a destination, said the panelists at this year's American Advertising Federation's Diversity Achievement and Mosaic Awards.

"One of the key things about diversity is that it's a progression," said Constance Cannon Frazier, exec VP of the AAF's Mosaic Center and Education Service. The AAF celebrated this year's winners yesterday with two forums on diversity in the workplace and a luncheon in their honor, part of Advertising Week 2007.

In the morning panel, Rochelle Larkin Ford, associate professor of advertising and public relations at Howard University, presented preliminary findings on a diversity study underwritten by the Mosaic Center. The results, based on surveys and interviews with the AAF's most promising minority student honorees of 2007, advertising recruiters, human resources departments and C-suite executives from media and advertising companies and marketers, showed cautious optimism about diversity in the advertising industry.

While perceptions about inclusiveness and acceptance are changing, Ms. Ford found that a more holistic approach to is needed. She noted that while 87% of companies interviewed had diversity programs, only 12% were fully developed. The full results of the study will be released in February.

"We're on the road, but we need to pay more attention," Ms. Ford said.

This year's winners, listed below, were honored at a luncheon later Wednesday afternoon.

Industry Career Achiever: Beatriz R. Perez, senior VP-integrated marketing Coca-Cola Co. North America
Industry Influential: Diego Scotti, VP-global advertising, American Express
Role Model: Madhu Malhan, minister of culture, Ogilvy
Trendsetter: Julius Pryor III, VP-global diversity, consumer and personal care group, Johnson & Johnson
Educator: Baruch College
Corporate Leader Agency: DDB Worldwide
Pioneers of Diversity: Tom Burrell, Founder, Burrell Communications Group, Earl Graves Sr., founder, chairman-CEO of Black Enterprise Magazine, John H. Johnson, founder Johnson Publishing Co.
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