Tuesday, July 23, 2024

16716: SHRM SMH SH*T.

Digiday Media’s Worklife and Fast Company reported on the decision by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to delete the E from its DEI strategy, and even reorder the remaining letters to I&D—emphasizing inclusion ahead of diversity.

 

According to Fast Company, the SHRM CEO explained the decision as follows: “We’re going to lead with inclusion, because we need a world where inclusion is front and center. And that means inclusion for all, not some people. Everyone has a right to feel that they belong in the workplace and that they are included.”

 

Worklife also quoted the SHRM CEO as follows: “I’ve concluded that I think what happened is the full definition of inclusion must encompass equity. Fairness, equity, decency, civility, and belonging are inherently virtues of inclusivity.”

 

Adland will undoubtedly embrace the opportunity to further diminish racial and ethnic equity. Indeed, the systemically racist industry has in recent years prioritized equity, extending it—in descending order—to other groups including White women, White LGBTQIA+, White people with disabilities, White neurodiverse individuals, Old White Guys and Gals, White conservatives, White people without degrees, and White house pets.

 

Yes, the ruling majority at White advertising agencies will declare the full definition of inclusion encompasses equity. But equity will be awarded in unequal portions—and the exclusive will define inclusivity.

 

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Worklife Content

 

‘A deeply unequal act:’ HR execs alarmed by SHRM’s decision to drop the ‘E’ from ‘DE&I’

 

By Cloey Callahan

 

HR professionals have reacted in horror at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s decision to drop the word “equity” from its diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.

 

The decision, announced by the primary national trade group for PR professionals on Jul. 10., follows a widespread rollback of DE&I programs across corporate organizations, in the last year or so.

 

The SHRM claimed the change was prompted by numerous surveys with employers and staff which showed that the word equity caused more confusion than diversity and inclusion. But the move has caused uproar in the HR community, with people turning to social platforms to air their disappointment. Some HR execs have canceled their SHRM memberships, while others withdrew speaker proposals from SHRM’s Inclusion Conference in November. A petition opposing SHRM’s decision was also signed by hundreds.

 

“By removing the very element that addresses systemic disparities, SHRM is sidestepping the uncomfortable but necessary work,” said Amira K.S.Barger, executive vp, health communications and head of DE&I communications and advisory at Edelman. Others have called it a “glaring betrayal” which will weaken DEI initiatives and stunt progress.

 

WorkLife recently compiled a state of DE&I by the numbers, helping show just how uncertain businesses are about how to approach the topic. For example, more than a third of business executives said their organization is facing uncertainty regarding how to move ahead with their DEI programming in the wake of increased challenges to corporate diversity programs, according to Littler.

 

But the SHRM news felt like a nail in the coffin for most HR executives, especially ones who have been approaching their roles progressively. SHRM is the leading society for HR professionals, and after that organization made a clear statement, HR leaders were left wondering what to do next.

 

“SHRM knew there would be disagreement with our decision to lead with inclusion and diversity,” said SHRM president and CHRO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. in a statement to WorkLife. “We welcome differing points of view and we value diversity of opinion. We are encouraged that we’ve received significant interest from HR and other business professionals who have become SHRM members and have registered for Inclusion24 in Denver this past week because they understand our steadfast commitment to equity principles while we lead with inclusion and diversity.”

 

WorkLife spoke with Taylor last week following the announcement. “The fact that we are not using the full array of letters in the various acronyms that have evolved over time does not mean we don’t think belonging and accessibility matter, we do,” said Taylor in that interview. “I’ve concluded that I think what happened is the full definition of inclusion must encompass equity. Fairness, equity, decency, civility, and belonging are inherently virtues of inclusivity.”

 

We asked a range of people leaders to share their perspectives.

 

Answers were edited for clarity and flow.

 

“I find SHRM’s decision to remove ‘equity’ from DE&I troubling. Given the organization’s influence across the HR community, their decision could have ripple effects across the business world.” – Jennifer Risi, founder and president of The Sway Effect.

 

“SHRM’s decision to remove equity from its approach to DE&I sends the wrong signal to companies and leaders. Equity is essential to the success, productivity, and DNA of a successful modern workplace. By taking it out of the equation, SHRM is essentially telling companies that equity doesn’t matter; it’s communicating that we should focus on hiring diverse people, but not treating them fairly or addressing the imbalances that they are experiencing. We need to do better for our people, and HR organizations need to lead the charge in making sure we are celebrating and investing in diversity and inclusion, but making sure that equity is never pushed to the side.” – Sarah Reynolds, CMO of HiBob.

 

“SHRM’s efforts to acquiesce exemplify what I coined the ‘Red Rover Effect’ – a common pattern where initial solidarity from well-intentioned institutions and individuals turns to apathy when they encounter discomfort and the daunting magnitude of the task ahead. By removing the very element that addresses systemic disparities, SHRM is sidestepping the uncomfortable but necessary work. This move not only weakens DEI initiatives but also hinders genuine progress.” – Amira K.S. Barger, executive vp, health communications and head of DE&I communications and advisory at Edelman.

 

“SHRM’s decision to remove ‘equity’ from DEI initiatives is concerning. It undermines the need to address underlying disparities and will risk the progress being made in workplace inclusion efforts. It is time for HR professionals to look at more progressive human resources organizations that take a bold approach towards HR’s role in building an equitable world.” – Rashim Mogha, CEO of eWOW.

 

“SHRM’s claim of ‘Better Workplaces. Better World’ seems questionable in light of this move. I have decided to withdraw my SHRM Inclusion Conference speaker proposal due to this decision, which I find misaligned with my values. It’s heartening to witness many individuals with SHRM credentials distancing themselves from the organization. If equity and justice are not the end goal in your DEI framework, I don’t see the relevance.” – Nika White, CEO and founder of Nika White Consulting.

 

“It is profoundly disheartening to witness the SHRM actively downplaying, and possibly plotting to scrap, their commitment to equity. As a staunch advocate for truly inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplaces, I view SHRM’s recent pivot not just as misguided, but as a glaring betrayal of everything human resources stands for the comfort of those whose organizations who wield power, privilege, and choose performative measures over systemic change. SHRM’s shift appears to be a political maneuver, a capitulation to external pressures that have no place in the realm of human-centered advocacy. By sidelining equity, SHRM is effectively choosing to minimize advocacy for those who are marginalized the most. This is not just disappointing; it’s unacceptable. As such, I am canceling my SHRM membership. We need human resource organizations that fight for the equity of humans with vigor, not ones that withdraw in times of challenge.” – Rocki Howard, HR advisor to Textio.

 

“I’m a little wary of how much a name change can realistically bring about SHRM’s stated objective of addressing ‘the current shortcomings of DE&I programs.’ To my mind, the mention of ‘societal backlash and increasing polarization’ suggests that this is just a re-branding to make it more digestible and less provocative to those who oppose the concept of equity — which won’t address any actual problems of implementation. I see this move as potentially being a distraction.” – Caroline Fox, global DE&I strategy lead at Tenth Revolution Group.

 

“Despite SHRM’s best intentions, this sends the wrong message as removing the emphasis on equity only perpetuates the structural and institutional biases against underrepresented groups.” – Neil Costa, founder and CEO of HireClix.

 

“SHRM, understandably, wants to focus on inclusion because it’s the most actionable part of DEI. Equity is hard to define, hard to deliver. It’s also expensive. For all those reasons, few organizations know how to make it more than a word. But not knowing isn’t reason enough for not doing it. And taking the word out of the work takes accountability and awareness with it. Equity is how organizations get ROI on I&D. Equity is how they sustain all those efforts they’re standing and expending resources for, equity is not fair people, but fair systems. How can an organization prioritize systemic change if it doesn’t even name the thing it’s trying to change?” – Janet M. Stovall, global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the NeuroLeadership Institute.

 

“SHRM’s decision ultimately shows us that DEI as an acronym isn’t working. In the organization’s eyes, it’s too complex and needs to be simplified; in my mind, it’s too simple for people to understand what DEI initiatives seek to achieve. However, making this statement in the current climate feels like a misstep, considering the incendiary language being used by DEI critics like Elon Musk and those trying to introduce ‘MEI’ as a replacement. By HR professionals dropping the term DEI, it somewhat endorses the semantics of that group, which is growing ever louder. Changing an acronym is not going to make the noise go away.” – Emma Obanye, CEO of OneTech.

 

“Ultimately, the goal should be to create meaningful change rather than simply adhering to acronyms. Our experience of delivering company-wide initiatives has taught us that it’s about bringing people with you and good implementation. Whether we call it DEI, I&D, or something else, the focus should remain on tangible actions that result in inclusive environments, celebrate diversity, and promote fairness in opportunities and outcomes.” – Tim Mart, co-founder of Know You More.

 

“I think the push-back against DE&I could be an indicator of people being generally overwhelmed with the volume and level of detail of information they’re constantly confronted with. And given it’s difficult to tie to ROI, it’s understandable that brands then pull the plug on their DE&I programs because they just see it as cost rather than creating value. But that’s not true. It’s more that brands just need to do the right thing AND do it right.” – Ralf Waterfield, director of sustainability, Pearlfisher.

 

“The effectiveness of this new direction will depend on how SHRM communicates and implements it and whether employee engagement and experience are kept at the forefront. There is significant potential for more nuanced and effective HR practices, but there must be strong frameworks and goals in place. Without these, there could be confusion and inconsistency in how organizations achieve diversity and inclusion.” – Dan Buckley, CEO of Cognexo.

 

“I believe it’s a bad philosophy under the guise of good business. Many enterprise organizations have been walking back their commitments to DEI, which were often performative, since 2021 and have been loud about it since 2022. I have no doubt this pivot is about retaining corporate relationships/revenue and as a hedge to the upcoming election. I think SHRM taking the position as a more palatable partner ‘for all,’ as opposed to being a steadfast advocate of the work itself, is a valid consideration for most businesses, but not for one that’s historically been entrusted to be the industry’s leader and voice. SHRM’s place amongst HR professionals has been eroding for a decade. Corporate revenue aside, they’re still a member-based organization and I’m hopeful they have a strong enough strategy to withstand and repair the fractures they’ve caused amongst their members with this change.” – Chris Hagood, CEO at AstutEdge.

 

“The irony is SHRM taking equity out of its semantics is a move to make DE&I more palatable to those who are offended by the idea of making work fairer. That is a deeply unequal act, which shows that they were never practicing equity in the first place. Not every voice can carry the same weight, when it’s been unequal for some for so long. You can’t pander to the ones who have been privileged and still achieve equity. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. SHRM is an HR lobby, not an DE&I lobby. HR’s role is to support companies, not the humans. And who runs the companies, by and large? It’s successful branding that coined the term Human Resources.” – Marisa Thomas, CMO, Good-Loop.

 

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Fast Company Content

 

SHRM, a leading HR organization, is no longer focusing on ‘equity’ in its DEI approach

 

The group’s switch to the acronym ‘I&D’—which stands for inclusion and diversity, but no longer equity—has sparked strong pushback from some HR and DEI experts.

 

By Pavithra Mohan

 

This week, SHRM, a leading organization for HR professionals, announced that it would no longer be using the term “equity.” In a LinkedIn post, the organization—formerly known as the Society for Human Resource Management—shared that it would now use the acronym “I&D,” which stands for inclusion and diversity, stripping away the “equity” portion of “IE&D.”

 

SHRM noted that while its “commitment to advancing equity remains steadfast,” the organization believed that leading with inclusion would catalyze “holistic change” in the workplace and beyond. On LinkedIn, SHRM also quoted president and CEO Johnny Taylor, who had introduced the change during the organization’s recent annual conference: “We’re going to lead with inclusion, because we need a world where inclusion is front and center. And that means inclusion for all, not some people. Everyone has a right to feel that they belong in the workplace and that they are included.”

 

To outside observers, this might seem like a minor distinction, just a matter of semantics. But the decision was met with immediate criticism from HR professionals and DEI experts across social media—many of whom said it was a mistake—and a step backwards, for SHRM to distance itself from the language of equity.

 

“I find SHRM’s decision to remove ‘Equity’ from DEI deeply troubling,” one HR executive and SHRM member wrote on LinkedIn. “Incorporating equity into HR processes is not just important; it’s essential. Without it, can we genuinely claim to be advancing DEI(B) work?” An HR consultant said she would likely distance herself from the organization going forward, despite years of being a “card-carrying member.”

 

Others claimed that the move was disappointing but not much of a surprise, citing the costs associated with SHRM’s certification program—which is often a requirement or preference for HR positions—and arguing many of its resources were not particularly helpful or up-to-date.

 

In an interview with Fast Company, Taylor claimed the change to I&D was part of a broader evolution and had grown out of conversations with workers and HR experts who expressed confusion over what the “E” in DEI terminology represented. “We started hearing this noise about the E that had become a big deal,” he said. “It wasn’t that people were anti-equity. There was confusion around: What did it mean? We couldn’t get agreement even amongst DEI professionals. We would hear this from HR professionals and frankly employees, who would say: Is it equal opportunity, or is it equal outcome?” It had become a “divisive issue” in trainings, according to Taylor. “Ultimately, our efforts are intended to unify people and not divide them,” he added. When it comes to inclusion and diversity, however, he believes there is “universal or near universal agreement” on what those terms mean.

 

Taylor expressed surprised at the vociferous pushback on LinkedIn, though he argued the response had been somewhat split. He also claimed nobody in the SHRM network had canceled their membership yet, though he noted that could change in the coming months. “There’s a chance that people will not join [or renew], but there’s also a chance that we will increase memberships,” he said. (He added that SHRM’s membership and certification fees were on par with market rates, and that the majority of member dues were footed by companies.)

 

Many critics also saw SHRM’s decision as yet another instance of an organization walking back its commitment to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion amid a wave of anti-DEI sentiment. SHRM acknowledged that backdrop in its LinkedIn post, albeit without pointing the blame at politicians and business leaders who have helped stoke it. “By emphasizing inclusion-first, we aim to address the current shortcomings of DE&I programs, which have led to societal backlash and increasing polarization,” the post read.

 

Taylor told Fast Company that if SHRM was in fact capitulating to anti-DEI crusaders, the organization would have scrapped those initiatives altogether. “I think some of the comments suggested that we were under pressure on politics or from groups who were anti-DEI,” he said. “If that were the motivator here, we would have killed this whole thing. Like, why talk about it at all?”

 

Still, the outcry over SHRM’s decision seems to underscore the precarity of DEI efforts in the workplace. Since the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action in 2023, corporate DEI initiatives have faced lawsuits and legal attacks from conservative activists. As Fast Company has previously reported, companies had already quietly disinvested from DEI work prior to the ruling. Over the last year, however, major corporate players have dropped language like “anti-racist” from their regulatory filings and altered policies that tied compensation to DEI metrics.

 

Meanwhile, anti-DEI business leaders like Elon Musk have embraced a new acronym—MEI, which stands for merit, excellence, and intelligence—in an effort to undermine DEI principles. Given its influence in the HR industry—and the fact that DEI roles are often situated within the HR department—SHRM’s decision could have ripple effects across the business world.

Monday, July 22, 2024

16715: Recruitment & Retirement.

 

Job Leads is diversifying, now offering its services to Old White Guys…?

Sunday, July 21, 2024

16714: National Ice Cream Day In Adland.

 

Today is National Ice Cream Day. Adland celebrates with scoops of vanilla in White bowls on White tables…

16713: Mars And Snickers Showing Poor Taste And Poorer Judgment?

 

Here’s an additional reaction to the Women’s Equality Party advertisement spotlighted in previous posts.

 

Did Mars—manufacturer of Snickers—approve and support the concept? Or does the company have grounds for a copyright infringement lawsuit?

 

Then again, Mars and Snickers once staged a patronizing promotion in 2010 to address hunger in America, as the following CBS News report revealed, ridiculed, and ripped…

 

Feeding America One Snickers at a Time: Mars’ Ridiculous Anti-Hunger Promotion

 

By Melanie Warner

 

Snickers is teaming up with celebs like David Arquette and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch to launch an absurdly ill-conceived promotion aimed at helping alleviate hunger in America -- a problem that isn’t ever going to be solved with candy bars.

 

It’s hard to understand why Mars, which owns Snickers and a dozen other candy brands, chose to adopt hunger as its cause when there are so many other worthy and meaningful charitable endeavors that don’t come with boatloads of irony and contradictions. Maybe they just couldn’t resist the punny appeal of the “Bar Hunger” tagline.

 

The problem with a candy company professing to care about something like hunger is that the people in America who are considered “food insecure” these days (the government stopped using “hungry” in 2006) are also the same people who are eating too many Snickers and other ultra-available, non-nutritious snacks. As cheap, quick, calorie-dense food has become more and more ubiquitous, it has fueled a seemingly contradictory phenomenon in which the Americans who suffer the most from hunger are also the fattest.

 

This strange correlation plays out in places like the South Bronx, where people can’t afford and don’t have easy access to the right kind of food. “Hunger and obesity are often flip sides to the same malnutrition coin,” Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger told the NYT. “Hunger is certainly almost an exclusive symptom of poverty. And extra obesity is one of the symptoms of poverty.”

 

How people can eat too many calories and also be hungry is still something of a mystery to nutrition researchers, but the prevailing theory is that diets high in junk food deprive people of nutrients, leading their bodies to crave more food in an attempt to get the nutrition it needs.

 

In other words, the last thing someone who’s overweight and food insecure needs is a Snickers bar.

 

The marketing staff at Snickers seems to be oblivious to this. Working with the non-profit group Feeding America, Snickers says it is giving away 3.5 million meals, which means Mars is donating funds to the organization and then translating that into equivalent meals. As part of the promotion, David Arquette will appear in GQ touting Snicker’s efforts and Kyle Busch now rides a SNICKERS ‘Bar Hunger’ race car.

 

Although [Feeding America] is a worthwhile organization that delivers a decent amount of non-junk food to needy families, Snickers’ Facebook page indicates that the promotion is all about selling more Snickers bars:

 

Every time you eat a Snickers, you can help us bar hunger in America. Just enter your wrapper code and we’ll donate a meal to someone in need. It’s the tastiest way to do some good.

 

Snickers marketing has long been about alleviating hunger of the more trivial sort, that grumbling in your stomach between meals. It should stick to that. When it comes the profound, interrelated problems of obesity and hunger, there’s no way Snickers is going to satisfy.

Saturday, July 20, 2024

16712: Parody For Poverty…?

 

Here’s a delayed reaction to the Women’s Equality Party advertisement spotlighted in a previous post.

 

The responsible agency—Quiet Storm in the UK—purports to being an inclusive and culturally competent firm, yet can’t help but wonder about the thinking behind the concept.

 

After all, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” To make light of people experiencing poverty and hunger with candy bar references is insensitive at best—and insipid, inane, and inexcusable at least.

Friday, July 19, 2024

16711: Considering Cookies & Crumbs.

The trade publications—perfectly reflecting ever-exclusive Adland—generate lots of content, concern, and commentary for cookies. Yet there’s virtually zero consideration for crumbs being swept at non-White people, projects, and promotions.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

16710: Ripping Off Candy Bar Campaign To Fight Hunger And Poverty Is Nuts.

 

Quiet Storm in the UK is responsible for this Women’s Equality Party advertisement parodying the popular candy bar campaign. Sorry, this concept induces snickers and fails to satisfy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

16709: Heat Shields Delivered Daily.

 

Adweek reported—or published performative PR—on DEIBA+ stunts at Ogilvy and Fitzco.

 

According to Adweek, “two agencies are doubling down on their DEI efforts, and making a business case for them.” Okay, but “doubling down” on historically minimal efforts does not exactly equal full commitment, responsibility, and accountability; that is, 2 x 0 = 0.

 

The Ogilvy heat shield—dubbed the Modern Exchange program—connects staffers from across the global network, allowing them to figuratively join hands and symbolically sing kumbaya in DEIBA+ unity.

 

The Fitzco heat shield involves a Creative Inclusion Panel (CIP), whereby diverse staffers can evaluate client work in early stages, allegedly assessing stuff via an inclusivity standard. Sounds like a not-too-clever twist on asking the resident mailroom attendant and/or custodian of color to evaluate work.

 

Always amazing how an industry boasting breakthrough creativity consistently delivers contrived, clich├ęd, and crappy concepts to address systemic racism. 

 

Ogilvy and Fitzco Are Connecting People and Driving Business Through DEI Efforts

 

The programs enhance communication within the agencies as well as inform the work

 

By Kyle O’Brien

 

There is an unfortunate backward slide on DEI efforts happening in marketing, after a surge following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Consumer backlash has curtailed many programs at companies ranging from Bud Light to Target and most recently Tractor Supply, while agencies and businesses alike have scaled back their internal DEI agendas.

 

However, two agencies are doubling down on their DEI efforts, and making a business case for them. Ogilvy is helping its employees and clients connect through a program that reaches across offices and countries to ensure that everyone gets to know each other through their differences and similarities. Fitzco has created a diverse panel to review its work before it goes out to the public to make sure it supports inclusivity.

 

These aren’t the only agencies making a business case for diversity and inclusion, but programs like theirs highlight the need for the marketing world to stay the course.

 

A modern exchange of ideas

 

Ogilvy promotes a concept called “borderless creativity,” part of which is manifested in the Modern Exchange program. The idea came from Barbara Polanco, art director at Ogilvy’s Los Angeles office. She initially asked Tope Ajala, the agency’s global head of DEI, to connect her with other senior colleagues within Ogilvy, as well as clients, to spark conversations that would help inform her work.

 

That served as a challenge to the executive team to better connect their people globally.

 

“Six months after, [Polanco] came back with a big proposal: ‘I think the best way we can do this is to have something called the Modern Exchange,’” Ajala told ADWEEK.

 

That proposal led to the team gathering junior and senior level talent across the business and connecting them in a series of video conversations with candid dialogue.

 

An employee originally from the Dominican Republic talked with someone in the U.K. and found similarities through food, while Ogilvy’s CCO in Germany had a two-hour dialogue with a junior creative, and they’ve become partners and sponsors.

 

Having people and ideas come together helps the agency celebrate diversity, but also uncovers connections that might lead to better work and more progressive business practices. Ogilvy leaned into its commitment to DEI, utilizing a minority-owned company to do the production on the Modern Exchange video project.

 

“One of the key commitments we have is a 10% partnership with diverse suppliers globally. That is the ambition for us as an organization and as a business,” said Ajala, adding that organizations that lean into their employees and cultural nuances are the ones succeeding.

 

Ajala said this is one way employees can feel like the agency is invested in them and cares about them. In addition, Ogilvy wants to expand the program and invite clients to the Modern Exchange to talk about their commitments to DEI efforts, and encourage people to double down on employees and diverse suppliers.

 

Ogilvy is also making Modern Exchange public through its social channels and platforms, and possibly on YouTube as well.

 

“I want to emphasize the importance of connecting as humans and learning about each other, regardless of your title. When that is fostered—when the environment is rooted in respect for humanity—the work is better,” Polanco told ADWEEK.

 

A double check on inclusion

 

Having a campaign falter because it’s tone deaf on inclusion and diversity efforts can make for brand embarrassment and a loss of dollars. Atlanta-based agency Fitzco is making sure its creative doesn’t go out into the world unless it’s dialed in on DEI.

 

Over the past year, Fitzco created a Creative Inclusion Panel (CIP), which allows anyone in the company to form a team to evaluate Fitzco’s client work before it gets released to hold it to an inclusivity standard.

 

The open forum invites the most junior to the most senior talent to participate in the creative process for both existing and new prospects. It’s a feedback-driven initiative designed to ensure that Fitzco is supporting inclusivity from end to end, whether that’s challenging audiences defined by demographics, making media investments that support a more balanced approach, or ensuring creative work is inclusive.

 

“It’s not about approving or disapproving work, it’s not about thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s really about challenging the work and making sure that from the eyes of our agency, the work is being as representative as it possibly can be,” Evan Levy, CEO of Fitzco, told ADWEEK.

 

The panel has worked well so far. Levy said the agency has won pitches that have been influenced by the Creative Inclusion Panel, and most of the work that Fitzco has put out into the world has gone through the CIP before it’s reached clients or the production process, including recent work for Welch’s Sparkling.

 

“It’s been really informative. It’s been educational. The agency has been proud of it, our clients have been appreciative of it. And it’s been a no-brainer addition to how we think and work,” said Levy.

 

Levy said the CIP is still a work in progress, and the earlier the panel sees the work, the better, but it can come in at any point during the campaign process.

 

“The panel can be initiated by anyone, so it could be prompted by an account lead, by a producer, by a creative director. There’s not a lot of formality in terms of who can ask or recommend that the panel come together. It’s very democratic, in that sense,” said Levy, adding that it demonstrates to clients that there’s a rigor that goes into the creative process.

 

Both Ogilvy and Fitzco have had inclusion programs for years and have no plans to scale them back. Fitzco was a founding member of Advertising for Change Atlanta, a coalition of agencies committed to developing and mentoring young, diverse talent.

 

“Atlanta agencies can come together to help work on, solve, challenge each other, share best practices around [DEI]… and that’s good for all of us,” said Levy.