(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)
As the trade publications and blogs have spent little to no time covering diversity-related news from Advertising Week 2013, MultiCultClassics is left to spotlight an Adweek piece titled, What Paul Venables Learned from Maya Angelou. During a discussion on creative leadership, Venables, Bell & Partners Co-Founder and ECD Paul Venables referenced Maya Angelou by declaring, “People aren’t going to remember what you said. They’re not even going to remember what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. And that’s how you manage, from that standpoint of how are these people feeling?”
Can’t speak for anyone else, but Venables makes the MultiCultClassics editorial board feel ill.
Given that Angelou expressed unhappiness when the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. were rewritten, it should be noted that the famed poet’s actual quote reads, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Venables was so inspired that he forgot the exact words to a simple phrase? Maybe he also recruits candidates by saying, “I have a dream…a dream job, that is.”
Regardless, the true offense is when White admen who have typically done nothing to promote diversity recite the utterances of respected figures—especially figures who might not appreciate the industry’s record of exclusivity and discrimination. Wonder if Venables realizes that Angelou also said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” Stick that in your inspirational managerial insights file, Mr. V.
C’MON WHITE MAN!