Ad Age and Facebook partner on new virtual event series promoting diversity
During an Advertising Week 2020 panel announcing the mentorship program in The Female Quotient’s Virtual Equality Lounge, List member Walter Frye, VP of global brand engagement at American Express, said the issue that prevents BIPOC professionals from advancing in their careers lies in the talent pipeline, but the problem isn’t caused by a lack of talent. It’s in the pipeline itself.
“It is upon us as an industry to act now to put programs in place that drive meaningful change and ensure that this is not a moment, but a movement,” says Frye. “I’m thrilled to see that corporations are already taking a broader view, working to remove biases and supporting efforts that address systematic injustices in our society.”
The common goal: Elevation
After crafting a mission statement, The List formed task forces to build a curriculum for prospective mentees and conduct outreach to partner with existing industry diversity initiatives to find the most deserving and in-need candidates for the program. When it came time to build the platform for The List’s mentorship program, the natural partner was already in the room.
Not only has Facebook continued the partnership with Ad Age to support The List with the classes of 2019 and 2020, but last year the company resolved to support Black, Latinx and Hispanic communities via a newly created program called Elevate. Elevate resolves to provide access to capital and resources for business development, as well as provide space for Black voices and stories, and build a more diverse and inclusive workplace internally within Facebook. In October, Facebook launched a new Elevate site to serve as a platform and community that will be the primary destination for Black, Latinx and Hispanic audiences to learn about its offerings and related resources from the Facebook family.
The Elevate team also partnered with Ten35, an advertising agency with a unique cultural lens where 85% of employees are people of color, and launched its first-ever brand campaign to drive awareness of the digital hub. The team brought in Temi Coker, a talented Black photographer and graphic designer whose vibrant colors and textures infused the brand campaign with a distinctive character and palpable energy.
“The intersection of Elevate and The List’s missions align with the intention to hasten the pace of meaningful change for underrepresented communities,” says Irene Walker, Elevate’s program director. “Both of our programs set out with a thoughtfulness and sincere commitment to develop authentic experiences and to redirect support and funding that Black and Brown professionals, job seekers and students have traditionally lacked. Together, Elevate and The List can make the kind of generational change needed to accelerate this transformation.”
Shauna Sweeney, Facebook’s head of global industry marketing, co-created The List with Ad Age President and Publisher Josh Golden in the final months of 2018 out of a membership pool consisting of Ad Age award winners such as Women to Watch, 40 Under 40, and A-List and Creativity honorees. Visit AdAge.com/thelist, AdAgeTheList.com and facebook.com/fbelevate for more information on Generation Next, as well as other upcoming events and content—including the soon-to-be announced List 2021.
It’s a new year, but the work continues.