Internal Memo: McCann CEO Harris Diamond Addresses Diversity and Inclusion Measures

By Erik Oster 

McCann CEO Harris Diamond addressed a series of diversity and inclusion measures the agency is implementing in an internal memo this week, which was obtained by AgencySpy.

Diamond opened the memo by acknowledging that while McCann has focused on diversity and inclusion for some time, the last few months have made the agency take a deeper look at its efforts to date and realize that it must do much more to address these issues within the shop. He pointed to McCann’s workplace diversity data and employee climate survey feedback as evidence that the agency has not made enough progress. McCann was among a number of agencies to recently release its EEOC diversity data following a call from advocacy organization 600 & Rising for shops to do so.

The memo comes around two months after artist Shantell Martin criticized McCann agency M:United for an insensitive email asking if she would be interested in partnering for a mural in front of Microsoft’s Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan in support of the Black Lives Matter movement “while the protests are still relevant.”


In the memo, Diamond went on to explain that while McCann’s actions over the last few years, including a philosophy designed around “Conscious Inclusion” and initiatives such as “A Day for Meaning,” have laid the foundation, the agency must “continue to push forward in order to achieve real impact.”

As such, he said, McCann has created and introduced a series of programs with “real implementation, activation and accountability” as key components, he explained. This included establishing “Conscious Inclusion” as an organizing principle and philosophy driving its diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and prioritizing diversity and inclusion fundamentals such as unconscious bias training, employee engagement and inclusive leadership development sessions.

He noted that McCann also recently announced its support for the series of actions outlined in 600 & Rising’s “Call for Change” (which included releasing EEOC diversity data). Calling such efforts “a process for continuous improvement,” Diamond said that the agency’s initiatives were being adapted for the realities of the current work environment during the pandemic.

“We are confident in our ability as an organization to come together to improve our business and transform our environment—ensuring our network is a place where everyone feels proud, safe and respected,” he concluded. The letter was signed by Diamond and other members of McCann’s senior leadership team.

Here’s the memo in full.

To All,

As you know, we’ve been focused on Diversity & Inclusion for a long time, but in all candor, these last few months have made us take a deeper look at our programs, accomplishments and efforts to date. As I said in my last note to you, it is clear that there is much more we must do to address the issues. While we have been on a path to embed diversity values and practices into every aspect of how we do business, including through an extensive, multifaceted set of initiatives and programs, it is clear from a fact-based analysis of our workforce data, and our climate survey feedback from employees, that we have not made the progress that we all want to see.

While our actions over the last few years have laid the foundation—through a comprehensive Diversity & Inclusion strategy, our philosophy around Conscious Inclusion, and global initiatives such as A Day for Meaning—we must continue to push forward in order to achieve real impact in new and meaningful ways.

To date, we have created and rolled out multiple programs where real implementation, activation and accountability are key components. We established Conscious Inclusion as the organizing principle and philosophy to underpin our strategy and align our network and, as part of this, we prioritized laying the groundwork to cover the basics of unconscious bias training, employee engagement, inclusive leadership development sessions and other D&I fundamentals.

We will continue our work to identify and address the issues that perpetuate the cycle of inequality and the unequal balance of representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) talent throughout our ranks across our network. These remain the table stakes elements that are the bedrock of our D&I plans. The Call for Justice in society and the Call for Change to our industry have brought us to a critical inflection point as individuals and as business leaders. As part of our commitment to transparency, we have enclosed workforce diversity data for all levels across McCann advertising agencies in the U.S., and how our breakdown compares to the sector.

Additionally, as you know, we recently announced our support for the actions outlined in the Call for Change, created by the 600 and Rising organization, which have been, and will continue to be, a part of our D&I strategy and corresponding actions. Importantly, we’ve taken this opportunity to reset the D&I plans in each of our agencies—standing firm in our mission to move our D&I efforts from good intentions to actual impact.

One thing is clear—our commitment to everyone across all of McCann is a process of continuous improvement. Given the unusual working conditions, we are adapting our initiatives and programs to the world we live in and creating new ones to ensure we meet the challenge. We are confident in our ability as an organization to come together to improve our business and transform our environment—ensuring our network is a place where everyone feels proud, safe and respected.

Harris Diamond
Singleton Beato
Suzanne Powers
Bill Kolb
Marjan Panah
Devika Bulchandani
Rob Reilly
Nannette LaFond-Dufour
Chris Macdonald
Sean MacDonald
Jeremy Miller