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Advertising Week 10th Anniversary Official Guide

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Page 249 of 333

248 TRENDING EXPECT DIVERSITY WHEN DEVELOPING AGENCY TEAMS Actively push for employees from under- represented backgrounds to take on leadership roles, and make regular prog- ress checks to ensure implementation is taking place. Verizon says it has purchased approximately $25 billion in goods and services from diverse suppliers since 2011, and $4.85 billion in 2016 alone. role in our campaign," according to Diego Scotti, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Communications. The ad received positive attention in the media, including publica- tions such as Fortune, as an example of diversity done right. While nearly all 21st century workplaces state a commitment to diversity and inclusion by expressing support for employees regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran/military status or age, rarely does a company make an effort to showcase to the world that its employees are, in fact, diverse. Even though Verizon's commitment to diversity and inclusion has a lengthy history, they recently unveiled a three-pronged approach they're using, which any organization in the ad industry can also employ and benefit from: Companies should also encourage professional development and mentoring initiatives for underrepresented minori- ties, which can include the establishment of internal employee support or resource groups. Such support groups can provide networking opportunities and forums for specific concerns to be addressed among peers. Verizon has nine of these such groups and Scotti says participation in them grows each year. Finally, a comprehensive diversity and in- clusion effort requires teaching employees of all levels to combat bias. All workers should participate in unconscious bias training to promote greater awareness as they partner with outside suppliers and buyers. The training should aim to show how one's potential bias can impair ap- proaches to a campaign and limit creativity. Once you establish an internal commit- ment to diversity by attracting, supporting and retaining diverse employees, along with hiring diverse suppliers, you can build those inclusive teams that can develop more creative and representative ad cam- paigns. That not only helps your clients' bottom line, it contributes to an ethic of authentic inclusion. It's a win-win. • SUPPORT COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND OTHERS ALREADY ACTIVE IN MULTICULTURAL AND DIVERSITY EFFORTS Instead of reinventing the wheel, larger corporations can help smaller agencies and brands beef up their efforts with an influx of resources. That can range from providing financial support to contribut- ing intellectual capital and participating in talent-identification programs for mem- bers of diverse groups. INCREASE THE TALENT PIPELINE Hiring diverse talent is an obvious first step, but reten- tion is just as important. Scotti says Verizon plans to launch a program in September to help younger employ- ees further their advancement within the company. "If we don't make our pipeline bigger, we won't see the payoff," Scotti explains. "We want to offer opportunities for growth and leadership."

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