600 & Rising, the recently launched nonprofit dedicated to advocacy and advancement of Black talent in advertising, has appointed its board of directors. The 4A’s-backed nonprofit led by President Nathan Young, who is also group strategy director at Minneapolis agency Periscope, and VP-Partnerships Bennet D. Bennett, principal at consultancy Aerialist, says the directors will be instrumental in executing “its mission of dismantling systemic racism in the U.S. advertising industry through effective policy and zealous advocacy.” Notably, too, 600 & Rising says the board of directors are all Black with the exception of Allyship Chair Mira Kaddoura, which the organization points out is “the first of its kind in advertising-related nonprofits and one of the only such boards to exist in the U.S.”
“It’s important that Black advertising professionals deliver victory for ourselves, on our own terms,” Young says. “Only 2 percent of leadership in the advertising world is Black, and that statistic has remained relatively flat over the past 15 years. We aim to incite change; we are going to show the world just how effective and powerful Black leadership can be.”
In addition to appointing the board of directors, 600 & Rising—which began with 600 signatories, and now represents more than 2,800 Black members and non-Black allies—recruited a diverse Advisory Council “to help guide the organization’s movements” in the “critical early stages of growth.”
Alongside Young and Bennett, Gamelle Queen, VP of finance at Giant Spoon, is the third officer of 600 & Rising, serving as treasurer.
The board of directors are: Policy Chair Janey Griffin, chief strategy officer of Concreates; Membership Chair Husani Oakley, chief technology officer of Deutsch; Independent Agency Relations Chair Chris Witherspoon, president of DNA; Communications Chair Megan Tuck, VP of Bliss Integrated Communication; Education Chair Vann Graves, executive director of the VCU Brandcenter; Allyship Chair Kaddoura; and Held Agency Relations Chair Alima Trapp, senior VP of strategic planning at Doner.
The Advisory Council is comprised of Naj Austin, founder of Ethel’s Club; Jessica McGlory, head of growth at Verb; Santi Pochat, head of social lab at Google; Derek Walker, founder of Brown & Browner; Kat Gordon, founder of The 3% Movement; Kiana Pirouz, head of marketing at We Are Rosie; Steve Stoute, president of Translation; and Mike Warner, chief client officer of Egami Group.
“What you’ve witnessed in the first 30 days of our existence has been the result of two leaders forcing change in an industry that has been historically resistant to it,” Young adds. “Imagine what we will achieve with a team of 18. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”