- Walter Frye - Vice President, Global Brand Engagement & Design, American Express
- Judy Toland - VP & Head of Scaled Solutions, Global Business Marketing and Head of Office, Facebook Chicago
- John Dioso - Editor, Ad Age Studio 30
On Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 11:30 EST, Ad Age and Facebook premiered Generation Next, a new live event series jointly produced by The List and Facebook Elevate. In Episode 1, "What Will It Take to Create a Truly Diverse Workforce," host Judy Toland, VP and Head of Scaled Solutions, Global Business Marketing, at Facebook, was joined by List member Walter Frye, VP of Global Brand Engagement at American Express. Ad Age Studio 30 Editor John Dioso moderated.
Although American Express is well known as a corporate leader in diversity and inclusion initiatives, Frye, whose global brand responsibilities include oversight of American Express' multicultural marketing strategy, is well aware of the enormous historical and systemic challenges surrounding any attempts at improving the diverse talent crisis in the industry:
"The first step for any organization is acknowledging that we live in a society where racism is the norm, and where unconscious bias is ingrained into our society and therefore naturally seeps into any organization," he said. "That means you have to be proactive to build a diverse workforce and to build an inclusive culture. It's important to start in any organization with where are you in terms of diverse representation? When you have that baseline understanding, then you can start to put goals around programs that can be designed to specifically meet those goals and those needs."
In addition to her responsibilities at Facebook, Toland is also the executive sponsor of Elevate, the company's DE&I initiative to support Black and Latinx and Hispanic communities by providing access to capital and resources for business development, as well as providing space for Black voices and stories, and internally, building a more diverse and inclusive workplace.