This article has been updated.
Almost a year ago, the 2020 class of The List—the group of 30-odd marketing, advertising and media leaders, assembled by Ad Age in partnership with Facebook—decided to confront unconscious bias by focusing on addressing the diverse talent crisis in the industry. The List chose its mission because, the members argue, despite companies’ sincerest efforts at enacting DE&I initiatives for years, biases—conscious and unconscious—continue to prevent many from advancing to the levels they deserve, and so these talented professionals end up dropping out of the industry. The resulting lack of diverse representation in leadership creates a negative feedback loop that perpetuates the status quo.
To battle these countervailing forces and to effect real change, The List recently announced the creation of a pilot mentorship program. The initiative will leverage members’ collective industry and leadership experience specifically to help advance underrepresented professionals who are three to five years into their career to leadership levels. To help promote the mentorship program and shine a bigger spotlight on the group’s core mission, Facebook and Ad Age have partnered to create the Generation Next event series.
A joint production of The List and Facebook Elevate, Generation Next will be a live quarterly event series hosted on AdAge.com focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry. Each episode will feature a conversation between host Judy Toland, Facebook’s VP and head of scaled solutions, global business marketing, and a List member as well as diverse guest voices from the industry. In Episode 1, "What Will It Take to Create a Truly Diverse Workforce," Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 11:30 EST, Toland will be joined by The List member Walter Frye, VP of global brand engagement at American Express, and John Dioso, editor of Ad Age Studio 30. To RSVP, click here.