DraftFCB Carries the TORCH

Agency Makes Ongoing Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Empowerment

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The news stories are disturbing: We're constantly bombarded with headlines decrying the state of America's educational system. Our nation's kids—specifically students of color—have been failed at several turns by limited budgets, dwindling staff, overcrowded classrooms and limited mentoring opportunities. With the recent release of the critically acclaimed film documentary "Waiting for Superman" drawing focus to the crisis and its long-term ramifications, it's increasingly important to lend support to those people and organizations making a positive difference.

TORCH participants Sofia Henriquez and Willy Fung showcase their creative work in the exhibition room at the TORCH L.I.G.H.T. Awards held Nov. 10 in New York.
TORCH participants Sofia Henriquez and Willy Fung showcase their creative work in the exhibition room at the TORCH L.I.G.H.T. Awards held Nov. 10 in New York. Credit: Lawrence Chen
That's why DraftFCB has again partnered with TORCH (Together Our Resources Can Help), an organization that provides talented New York City high-schoolers with career training and opportunities in communications and the arts, all while orchestrating a meaningful way of increasing the diversity of the workforce. TORCH offers valuable hands-on industry access and experience to kids who didn't even realize a creative career was a possibility.

If you are interested in lending your time and talent to a truly worthwhile cause, just visit www.thetorchprogram.org/getinvolved/volunteer.html. Mentors are always welcome.

As one example of our ongoing commitment to increased diversity and inclusion, DraftFCB contributed to the TORCH L.I.G.H.T. Awards held Nov. 10 in New York. The awards recognize those who have made a difference in the lives of underserved New York high-school students and the community at large.

But it's not just a once-a-year commitment that attendees forget about until the next year's dinner. For our part, as a TORCH "Light The Way" partner, DraftFCB has made a financial contribution, sponsoring an agency internship and providing students with employee mentors to help them become viable candidates for a full-time position within our agency.

DraftFCB's involvement with TORCH is just one way we demonstrate our ongoing investment in and support of diversity and inclusion programs. We've put forth the mandate that diversity and inclusion must live and thrive throughout the organization. It must be fundamental to our culture and our business. Diversity should—and must—matter because including the ideas, insights and perspectives from a broader talent and supplier pool allows agencies to offer clients a distinct, competitive advantage. The ultimate aim is to have a depth of talent inclusive of all—regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or physical challenge.

DraftFCB also celebrates the contributions of employees of all backgrounds and cultures through our DraftFCB Employee Business Resource Groups. Launched in 2009, these six affinity-based employee resource groups support the Asian (Asian Heritage Group), black (Black Employee Network), LGBT—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (via DraftFCB's chapter of the IPGLBT), Hispanic (SOMOS), Draftfcb Vets and women (Women's Leadership Network) agendas.

More than just an internal initiative, these BRGs have significantly affected the way we engage with our clients. For example, our internal BRGs have partnered with client BRGs to offer U.S. Census registration and citizenship drives, as well as provided educational and mentoring sessions for women and minority vendors to gain a better understanding of the ad business.

Additionally, we provide funding, on-site mentoring programs and career development workshops for the Hetrick Martin Institute, the Adcolor Ad Futures program, the LaGrant Foundation and the American Advertising Federation, serving as a sponsor of its New York-based Mosaic Career Fair and the Most Promising Minority Students Program.

Think about it. Each time we provide more open industry access to young, diverse talent, we all take a meaningful step toward creating a more diverse industry for the future. We applaud the efforts of TORCH for the progress it has made in making this a reality, one student at a time.

Laurence Boschetto is president-CEO of DraftFCB.

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