1. Start inside
Multicultural makeup: Are your team’s members reflective of the U.S. population overall?
Representation at all levels: Do you have gender and multicultural representation goals across all leadership levels?
Safe spaces that foster an inclusive culture: Do you provide educational training to your team that inspires dialogue and leads to understanding?
2. Use your voice
Advocate for change: Review what has been created by small agency coalitions, including Building Leaders and Creators (BLAC), a group of independent creative agencies that provides Black creatives with hands-on advertising experience. The Marcus Graham Project provides diverse marketing and media aspirants with the exposure and experience necessary to solidify careers within the industry.
Reward inclusive behavior: Champion those individuals or teams who are making a difference.
3. Change the system
Ensure equal representation in your advertising, in front of and behind the camera: There are many organizations dedicated to helping you find diverse talent. These include:
• Free the Work, a curated talent-discovery platform for underrepresented creators behind the lens in TV, film and marketing.
• Streetlights, a nonprofit organization that trains qualified ethnic minorities to work as crew members on video productions.
Implement goals to increase access, opportunity and investment with suppliers that have a diverse leadership: You might engage with the following partners: WBENC, which provides the most widely recognized certification for women-owned businesses in the U.S.; NMSDC, which advances business opportunities for certified minority-business enterprises and connects them to corporate members; and WeConnect, a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers.
This is just the beginning of the long journey to achieve equality and inclusion in all your creative activities. The above steps should provide the stimulus to start or continue the journey.
Importantly, this cannot be done alone. Clients and agencies need to continue to work together and use our collective influence on critical, systemic issues. So, next time you’re meeting with a long-standing or new client, be sure you mention your E&I action plan and ask them to share theirs as well. And if our paths ever cross, I’d love to hear how this has worked for you.