ADCOLOR was created 12 years ago by Tiffany R. Warren and started as a way to connect people of color and marginalized communities. Still holding true to why it was founded, today, ADCOLOR recognizes and rewards people of color and communities that are driving diversity and inclusion, encouraging disruption and innovation, and giving back through mentorship.
This year, ADCOLOR encouraged us to focus on the moments of truth that we face and see so that we can understand how they shape our individual purpose. Watch the opening reel that highlights some of the positive and the downright horrible moments of 2018.
For me, the best moments of 2018 highlight Black culture through a lens that is often missing, the Black POV. We also see the humanity of celebrities and brands through taking a stance against corruption and racism. These moments fuel me to be better and do more.
Here’s my list and not in chronological order:
- The Black Panther Movie Release *WAKANDA FOREVER*
- Advancement of Tarana Burke’s Me Too movement
- Beyoncé gracing us with Beychella and becoming the first black woman to headline Coachella
- Nike supporting Colin on his stance against police brutality
- Cardi B, being herself and owning her spot in the rap game
- LeBron founding ipromose school and partnering with Black Women designers
- Everything is love release by Bey and Jay
- Serena coming back from giving birth to her daughter, still dominating and giving space for the next generation
The Panels: Diversity & Inclusion in storytelling was one of the most relevant panels I attended. It focused on dispelling the myth that there aren’t enough people of color to fill creative and advertising roles at companies. Looking around at the conference attendees, it was clear that we are out here thriving, so what is the real issue? In my opinion, it is a combination of opportunity and retention. As a woman of color working in advertising, I understand first hand how it feels when it seems like you are the only one. At that point in time, it may feel like being silent is the easiest thing to do. Don’t do it! Speak up and share your perspective! It is so important for your voice to be heard. Sometimes, you actually are the only one (been there too). I remember a mentor of mine telling me “when you are the first, you create opportunities for the second and the third”. We as POC along with help from our allies have a job to do as individual employees. We must rise up and reach back to dispel the myth that talent isn’t available. Leaders at companies need to take it one step further and have retention strategies in place so different perspectives are appreciated and acknowledged. The speakers on the panel gave a few retention tips that can be used collectively:
- Always look to create a connection
- Ensure in the brainstorm and pre-planning stages diverse perspectives are at the table
- Junior staff need to be able to see and connect with leaders they identify with
- Pressure test ideas (this is what I’m thinking, what do you think? how do you feel?)
- Listen and allow space for authenticity
Mark Prichard, the CBO of P&G, hosted a keynote on leadership and privilege and it was truly the most heartfelt panel I attended! Everyone in the room was literally in tears. To quote Brene Brown, there was so much courage in his vulnerability. To hear someone share their story on perception vs. reality while navigating life was very deep. Mark also shared his stance on leadership, saying it really means “using privilege and influence for good”. We are all leaders and have privilege in our respective lives. Knowing this, we have to ask ourselves, how do we show up in those moments when someone could use the privilege we have? These are the moments that prove to staff and employees that leadership truly cares. Prichard encouraged us all to think about what we can be doing each day to give back and push forward. Watch his keynote.
The Award Show: One name: Bozoma Saint John! She is the Queen of Bad-Asssness, CMO of Endeavor and owns who she is with zero cares if people don’t like her. A woman after my own heart! Watching her host the award show in all her African glory and attire, while encouraging us all to go hard or go home gave me so much life. Instagram: Bozoma Saint John @ ADCOLOR
I enjoyed celebrating with nominees and winners! And cutting up at the after party in true POC, electric slide style.
Overall, I truly appreciate the leaders at Digitas taking a stance to ensure Diversity and Inclusion isn’t just another blanket and unfulfilling initiative to get behind. We have dedicated leaders and mentors positioning this work as a way of life that every single employee can be responsible and accountable for. Allowing me to attend ADCOLOR, network, and learn strategies to keep pushing inclusion for the company is huge and I am thankful.
Last but not least, my most favorite moment of the conference was getting to meet and form new relationships with my fellow Digitas Unicorn family; newfound sisters for life!
It’s blurry but you see us!