Diversity Efforts Need to Continue All Year, Not Just Be Confined to One-Month Intervals

The Adweek Advisory Board shares what they're doing to make inclusivity a long-term priority

Instilling practices that support diversity will help it last in a long-term capacity in organizations. iStock
Headshot of Nicole Ortiz

During this year’s Black History Month, we had an overwhelming reminder that talent of color should be celebrated more often throughout the year and that initiatives should extend beyond just one month. While it’s great to go above and beyond for a month, the only way we’ll see change is by ensuring we actually listen to people’s perspectives and institute change from the top down instead of the bottom up.

With that in mind, here is what some of our Adweek Advisory Board members are doing to make inclusivity last through long-term efforts, such as diverse management teams, looking at diverse candidates for any and all positions and holding related events.

Baiju Shah, chief strategy officer, Accenture Interactive

We are a global organization where diversity is highly local, with the needs of our people and our clients varying wildly between countries and even cities. We strive to be globally united yet locally individual. To foster this environment, Fjord [Accenture’s design and innovation consultancy] has created a network of Studio Inclusion Leads that are responsible for understanding the cultural context and demographics of their city and interests of fellow employees in order to design events and learning opportunities that resonate locally. All of the leads ladder-up into our head of inclusion and diversity who connects them back into resources from Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity Center of Expertise to ensure we are also lockstep with the ambitious goals of Accenture globally. As one such goal, Accenture has committed to a 50/50 gender-balanced workforce by 2025. We [announced] our progress toward this goal during our International Women’s Day activities on March 8.

"No. 1 priority must be culture and diversity and inclusion. We start from the simple idea that a broad spectrum of perspective and lives forge the best thinking."
—Paul Woolmington, CEO, Canvas

Alicia Hatch, CMO, Deloitte Digital

We believe that fostering an inclusive culture unleashes the power of our diversity and that being a leader—by definition—means being an inclusive leader. As leaders, we always try to lead by example, and a great example is our alliance with the Female Quotient (The FQ). We have joined with them at many of the events we sponsor, as well as our internal events throughout the organization, to create positive atmospheres and spaces for dialogue. Conversations around diversity and inclusion help all of us find common ground, define meaningful differences and spark action and ideas.

Paul Woolmington, CEO, Canvas Worldwide

No. 1 priority must be culture and diversity and inclusion. We start from the simple idea that a broad spectrum of perspective and lives forge the best thinking. Our current staff across all five offices is 42 percent multicultural, and 47 percent of the management teams are women. We also take pride in our geographic diversity fighting to avoid “bubble” thinking.

We have also launched a series of partnerships and efforts to champion change. One notable is Canvas’ commitment and sponsorship of Miami Ad School’s D&I scholarship program across all its four U.S. schools, an amazing program from a premier ad school. … MAS has graduated some of the industry’s leading talent across many companies. In the last two years, it has enrolled 243 minority creative thinkers who will change the game.

Peter Naylor, senior vice president and head of advertising sales, Hulu

A big focus area for Hulu revolves around diversity, both behind and in front of the camera. We’ve invested in unique voices and perspectives as well as new generations of talent like Ramy Youssef and the cast of Marvel’s Runaways. We have even more coming down the pipeline with new Originals, including Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Shrill and Little Fires Everywhere.

"Conversations around diversity and inclusion help all of us find common ground, define meaningful differences and spark action and ideas."
—Alicia Hatch, CMO, Deloitte Digital

Most recently we invested in bringing powerful and diverse stories to the screen in celebration of Black History Month. In February, we debuted a new Hulu Original, Around the Way, featuring prominent black voices including musician Jermaine Dupri, the mayor of Compton, Aja Brown, and Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams, among others.

Michelle Lee, editor in chief, Allure

I insist that we always have a diverse pool of talent to choose from for any open role. And I will wait until we have it. The same goes for freelance writers, photographers, hairstylists and makeup artists who we use on shoots. It’s very important that we have a diverse crew working on shoots, stories, videos, etc. When we shot Rihanna for our October 2018 cover, we had a woman of color, Nadine Ijewere, shoot it. Likewise, we did a monolid makeup shoot and hired an all-Asian crew to work on it. I’m on the Diversity Council at Conde Nast and a board member at ColorComm, and we’ve been talking about different ways we can continue to improve inclusion.

Ben Lamm, co-founder and CEO, Hypergiant

Diversity is always top-of-mind because, simply put, it’s good business. Diversity drives creativity and innovation in a way that cannot be substituted. Beyond our recruitment goals, this is baked right into our process: product development or customer base. When we’re working through a project or concept together as a team, we frequently ask ourselves, “Whose perspective are we missing? If we could get another opinion from an outside source to make sure we have no blind spots, who would it be?” To go one step further, we work in an industry [AI] where bias is a constant consideration both in the workforce and the tech. While we know it’s going to take more than one company to tackle the problem, we commit ourselves in everything we do and build to be a part of the solution.

And in case you missed some of Adweek’s coverage centered around Black History Month, check out the following:

@neco_ornot nicole.ortiz@adweek.com Nicole Ortiz is a senior editor at Adweek, overseeing magazine departments such as Trending, Talent Pool, Data Points, Voice and Perspective.