BOSTON-Some industry executives believe Bethany Kendall, who will take over as president of the 7,000-member Advertising Club of Greater Boston on Jan. 1, should spend more time and resources promoting the region’s agencies and creative product and less energy promoting diversity in the workplace.
Kendall, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Crossing Association in Boston where she has worked for the past 15 years, last week said she had yet to devise any plans as to overall club direction or programs.
Asked about her views on diversity and business-building, Kendall said it would be “premature for me to answer that. That’s a very serious question that requires a fair amount of research.”
In general, agency executives praised the efforts of outgoing president Elizabeth Cook to promote ethnic and gender diversity in the workplace and agreed that in some ways, the ad club’s efforts in this regard serve as a model for other professional organizations.
Agency executives, however, advised Kendall to put her business background to use at the ad club.
“There is a lot of talent here, on a par with San Francisco and Minneapolis,” said Bob Hoffman, president of Gearon Hoffman in Boston. “A good trade association should promote the product of its members to help those members grow.”
Peter Kostopoulos, president of CC and D Communications in Boston, said, “The club could be more vocal to the general population about the good things ad people do.”
Another executive, speaking on terms of anonymity, said, “The ad club’s direction has been very specific. [Agency] owners have indicated to them they have a different view of what the emphasis should be.”
There is room for both diversity and business development at the ad club, insisted Carol Bolling, director of community service and human resources at WCVB-TV and outgoing chairperson of the Ad Club Foundation, which oversees internship programs. An African American woman who served on the search committee that selected Kendall, Bolling said she is proud of the strides the club has made to foster diversity. She agreed, however, that “for diversity to exist, you need thriving businesses.”
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