Nearly everyone in the ad industry today would say that diversity, equity and inclusion is a business priority, even—or especially—during a global pandemic. But as we’ve seen recently, sometimes the distance between good intentions and tangible results is vast.
This is one of the main reasons The List—the advocacy group consisting of 30-odd marketing, advertising and media leaders assembled by Ad Age in partnership with Facebook—decided to help confront unconscious bias by directly taking on the diverse talent crisis in the industry.
When the 2020 edition of The List had their first meeting, in February, they discussed everything from environmental concerns and sustainability to tribalism and mental health. Ultimately—and unanimously—the group settled on an issue that unbeknownst to them would become even more pressing in the months to follow, as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the country’s physical, psychological and economic health and the rise of social justice protests against police violence brought about a long overdue reckoning on systemic racism.
Advertising Week 2020 and beyond
With such a fraught cultural climate as the backdrop, The List recently announced that it was launching a mentorship program focusing on helping mid-career BIPOC advertising and marketing professionals of color (as well as other underrepresented minority groups such as LGBTQ+) build a support network and address the specific challenges they face. List 2020 members Lauren Franklin, founder and president of Summerjax; Walter Frye, VP of global brand engagement at American Express; and Stacy Taffet, VP of marketing for PepsiCo's water portfolio, followed up the announcement by appearing on a panel during Advertising Week in The Female Quotient’s Virtual Equality Lounge to further amplify the group’s mission and mentorship program.
Ad Age Studio 30 Editor John Dioso moderated the panel, “Creating Opportunities for Diverse Talent to Advance.” Click on the video below to watch the conversation.