A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to a MediaPost column by Richard Whitman, examining the new diversity initiative from IAB and AOL. IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg gushed, “The IAB is the natural choice to lead these efforts because we know exactly what the digital technology, media and advertising companies are looking for. Our certification programs have, in the space of just a few years, taught and credentialed thousands of experienced sales and ad ops people. Now we will be able to help an even larger number of people from diverse backgrounds obtain similar credentials and qualify for entry-level positions in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.” And would Rothenberg’s contention be based on the diverse makeup of the IAB Board of Directors or the Agency Advisory Board? Hell, digital hasn’t even managed to integrate into White advertising agencies—so what makes IAB think it can crack the code for cultural diversity?
IAB Teams With AOL Chairman Tim Armstrong to Tackle Diversity
By Richard Whitman
Well, this is cute. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for diversity in advertising. Except when the industry launches program after program after program and nothing ever changes. Sadly, every diversity-in-advertising effort is just one failure after another.
And so pardon me if I don’t get all that excited about the latest effort—a partnership between the Interactive Advertising Bureau and AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong. Together, we now have the IAB Education Foundation, “a new nonprofit organization to increase racial, ethnic, gender, and economic diversity and improve peoples’ skills in the digital media and advertising industries.”
Armstrong will lead the endeavor as Chairman of the Board.
Of the foundation, Armstrong said: “The IAB has a nearly 20-year history of solving the industry’s biggest growth challenges and will now focus on perhaps the most overlooked and untapped opportunity—recruiting and growing the talent and skill sets we need in our industry. We need a dedicated organization to focus solely on building a trained and professional workforce that includes all constituencies, many of which have been left behind through much of the digital revolution—minorities, women, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, and military veterans and their families. Under the leadership of Randall Rothenberg, the IAB Education Foundation will be positioned at the forefront of helping solve this issue that confronts our industry. I couldn’t be more pleased to help lead this effort.”
For his part, Rothenberg added, “The IAB is the natural choice to lead these efforts because we know exactly what the digital technology, media and advertising companies are looking for. Our certification programs have, in the space of just a few years, taught and credentialed thousands of experienced sales and ad ops people. Now we will be able to help an even larger number of people from diverse backgrounds obtain similar credentials and qualify for entry-level positions in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.”
The foundation will launch with a cross-country “town hall tour” to listen to various constituencies within the digital advertising and media industry with the aim of gaining insight about how to improve diversity in digital media, marketing and advertising.
“We are calling this town hall listening tour ‘Voices United,’ because we want to hear from all constituencies, not just the department heads or top executives,” said Michael Theodore, Vice President, Learning and Development, IAB, and project head of the foundation. “The new curriculum and certification programs can introduce many new faces to our industries, but unless there are transparent paths toward upward mobility, true diversity will remain unrealized.”
The foundation’s first partner is the Year Up program, a national nonprofit organization that provides skills training to disadvantaged young adults and places them in Fortune 500 companies. Year Up will work with the IAB Education Foundation to develop an entry-level ad operations training program.
I wish them well.