Friday, June 13, 2008

5581: Executive Education 101.

Q. How do you get Adweek to publish news about diversity?

A. Seed the info into a special advertising section.

Not sure who bankrolled the insert, as it covers executive education—which is almost an oxymoron in our learning-resistant industry. The piece highlights the partnership between the 4As and Howard University.

“It’s become increasingly difficult to identify, recruit and nurture talented people with a bent toward creativity,” said 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill. “And I think the advertising industry needs to start fishing in a different pond. We need to cast a wider net to make sure we, as an industry, represent the diversity in our society. This partnership isn’t going to be solely about what people look like. It will be about their points of view and the skill sets they can bring to the table.” Of course, Hill failed to note the increased difficulty is rooted in a tradition of executives ignoring, rejecting and dissuading talented people.

4As Washington representative Adonis Hoffman, who played a leading role in orchestrating the initiative, said success demands full support from agency honchos. “Ultimately, what it will come down to is having CEOs out there issuing the mandate to their staffs and to their boards and to their recruiting firms that if the appropriate African American or Hispanic or Asian comes along and possesses all the right skills for leadership, that person must be hired,” declared Hoffman. “Otherwise, we’re just talking about it, and it’s all academic.” Um, somebody tell Hoffman that possessing all the right skills has never been a prerequisite for landing a job on Madison Avenue.

Finally, check out the advertisement hyping the Howard University program. Yes, you too can climb from your cubicle to a corner office. Ironically, the depicted figure is White.

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