Advancing Diversity Honors During CES 2018 Unites Industry

CES 2018 was backdrop to the first annual Advancing Diversity Honors for media, advertising, marketing and technology leaders recognized for advancing inclusion. During the opening remarks, Karla Chrzanowski, Executive Director, Advancing Diversity teased, “tonight’s going to be a little bit different…it’s going to make you think, it’s going to make you feel and it’s even going to make you a little bit uncomfortable at times.”

Honorees selected for successfully activating change and inspiring others in the workplace included UnileverNielsenIPGAd CouncilEYIAB Education Foundation iDiverse InitiativeSpringboard Enterprises and Crowdfundingroadmap Inc.  MediaVillage was a Title Partner, along with Disney|ABC, Google, Facebook, Oath and Ascential/MediaLink.

Seven key strategies and best practices for achieving the goal of eliminating unconscious bias were identified by the honorees, including:

  1. Rewarding employees for reaching inclusion and diversity goals like any other annual performance objective
  2. Understanding that diversity of thought and ideas is required to connect with consumers
  3. Recognizing the tremendous value of the media and advertising platform that our industry directs; leveraging this platform to eliminate bias and change character portrayals in real-time
  4. Partnering with other organizations, as solutions are often best activated together
  5. Providing proof points through analytics to validate strategies
  6. Rethinking recruitment and operational practices to unlock new talent pools
  7. Changing rules and eliminating other obstacles that are barriers to action.

The strategies shared by several of the honorees and presenters that led to success can be enacted immediately both individually and within organizations.

Here are some of the questions posed to attendees of the event:

“Are we supporting tomorrow’s business with yesterday’s teams”. To keep up with an everchanging world, Megan Hobson, Americas Administration Leader for EY believes that traditional recruiting creates barriers to securing diverse talent. Working with Hiren C. Shukla who leads EY’s automation efforts and Neurodiverse Account Support Centers of Excellence, the company has successfully broadened its talent pool and modified the work environment to embrace diversity of thought. They now hire people on the autism spectrum who have strong math, science and technology skills and employ neurodiverse teams that are excelling in innovation. This strategy provides EY with a competitive edge, Hobson pointed out, and has earned the company reputational capital in the marketplace.

“Should we incentivize our employees and management teams for meeting diversity and inclusion goals? If not, why not?” Michael Roth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Interpublic Group  believes that “IPG is being honored for doing what we should be doing.” Roth was recruited to lead IPG in 2005, in part, because as a Board member, he challenged IPG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion given its all-white, male leadership team. Though was told when he came on-board that Human Resources was taking care of diversity and inclusion he nevertheless immediately introduced performance goals for diversity and inclusion based on focus group learning, employee surveys, hiring metrics and more. Business units learned quickly that they would be held financially accountable for meeting related goals.

In 2011, Roth expanded IPG’s commitment to inclusion as it held the first women’s breakfast for creatives at Cannes. Roth exclaimed that “the impact is resounding. We walk the walk and diversity is positively impacting our financial performance.”  Roth also shared that IPG’s Diversity Agenda is being expanded and that its next imperative is to improve representation of people of color.

“How can systemic change help create opportunities for inclusion”: We are all familiar with the expression “it would take an act of Congress” and, for Ruth E. Hedges, CEO and Industry Pioneer, Crowdfundingroadmap Inc., that was true.  At the height of the 2009 recession, Hedges and her colleagues lobbied Congress to change the way startups were funded. Crowdfunding (as we know it) did not exist until April 5, 2012 when President Obama signed the JOBS Act, which included three crowdfunding bills enabling underrepresented entrepreneurs to raise capital. To raise awareness, Hedges partners with Microsoft to educate women, minorities and veterans and other diverse business owners about how to fund a startup.  She was honored for spearheading the Crowdfunding Education Diversity Initiative.

There are more success stories and strategies to share from other honorees, presenters, guests and Job Fair participants. This is just a sampling of how the Advancing Diversity Honors instilled a sense of community and started conversations full of hope, inspiration, solidarity and progress. Jack Myers, Founder of Advancing Diversity and the Jack Myers KnowledgeExchange reports “we set an ambitious goal of establishing an industry voice to clearly communicate our commitment to advancing diversity and that we acknowledge and honor those who are at the forefront of progress. While I’m very pleased with our inaugural event and the associated Pop-Up Job Fair,” inspired by Oath and supported by several companies, we learned a great deal that will help us carry forward with our mission. Myers also acknowledged the partnership of Disney | ABC, Google, Ascential, Facebook and Oath along with several leading media companies, agencies and marketers.

Photo above – L to R: Karla Chranowski, Advancing Diversity; Heide Gardner, EY; Michael Roth, IPG; Ruth E. Hedges, CrowdfundingRoadMap; Angela Talton, Nielsen; Kay Koplovitz, Springboard Enterprises; Lisa Sherman, Ad Council; Randall Rothenberg, IAB; Megan Hauck, IAB; Jack Myers, Jack Myers KnowledgeExchange.

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