While we firmly believe Black History Month is 365 days long, February’s national observance inspired us to dive deep and learn from trailblazing industry leaders, both past and present. We also moved ahead with our new internship program and are excited to welcome some industry leaders of the future to our agency this summer.
Here are some of our February highlights:
- To celebrate Black History Month, our Education subcommittee introduced us all to a handful of Black pioneers within the advertising industry such as Roy Eaton (first Black American prominent in advertising), Barbara Gardner (first Black woman to own an ad agency) and Carol H. Williams (the Pillsbury Doughboy giggle? She helped bring that to life.). We loved starting our Monday mornings growing our historical knowledge of Black leaders and trailblazers who helped pave the way to what advertising is today.
- In early February, we welcomed Tanya Blackmon – Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer at Novant Health – to kick off our agency-wide speaker series. She taught us how it takes courageous leadership to establish a culture that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion – but it’s necessary in order to fully support each employee and to be difference-makers within the organization. She spoke extensively about her own triumphs and struggles in this role, and she encouraged us all in our journey toward action. Coming up in our bimonthly speaker series: Alexis Agosto and Jacquelyn Green from the 4A’s Foundation.
- We’re thrilled to welcome our Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) Fellow, Camden Dukes, who will focus on social media, copywriting and account management. We’re also partnering with Johnson C. Smith University – Charlotte’s only HBCU – to identify a student-intern, and we’re working on coordinating a curriculum to ensure their success this summer.
- As we continued to develop our diversity scorecard – which helps us evaluate the impact of our initiatives – we had a lot of useful conversation about how to make sure employees, interns and applicants know we’re using the information we request as data to inform and intentionally grow our agency’s diversity and inclusivity.
We welcomed a couple of new faces to the RJE Task Force in February as we continued to talk openly about topics surrounding racial equity within our agency and industry, how we can ensure our mission becomes more engrained in LGA’s culture, and the progress we’ve made so far.
As always, the Task Force began each meeting weighing in on news, pop culture and personal experiences to engage the entire group in meaningful conversation. This month we touched on the racial disparity in COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, the Biden-Harris administration using the term “equity” instead of “equality,” the polarizing reactions to Rush Limbaugh’s death, Golden Globe nominees and Bridgerton.
We’ve been reflecting a great deal as the one-year mark of our journey approaches, and though we know our agency has come a long way – we still have so far to go.