“Diversity and inclusion are not the same thing.”

In the past few months, we have seen numerous anti-Asian incidents, anti-racism protests, and Black Lives Matter movements around the world.

These events have created a #TimeOfTheCentury opportunity for people to wake up and take a serious look at how racism and inequality can hinder individuals’ and organizations’ growth as well as the creation of a healthy and sustainable society.

However, lack of benchmarking, coaching and knowledge in the marketing industry will be challenging for government and corporate leaders to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion genuinely in their strategies.

To remove systemic racism in the Canadian marketing industry, a deeper level of roundtables and educational resources by subject experts would be a good start.

Check out Media in Canada’s roundtable and hear what the agency experts say about fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in the marketing industry. Some action plans are highlighted below:

On creating an agency culture where everyone fits

“Any workplace takes the shape of its leadership team. Their characteristics, even down to their personal traits… that energy goes all the way down to the agency. I think it underscores the importance of diversity versus inclusion. Just having different faces at all levels, versus having them in levels where it matters, where the voices can be [heard] all the way from the top down.” – Bhatt

On hiring, internships and barriers to entry

“Within the conversation around racism and equity, we need to acknowledge the fact that there are very specific ways that it affects Black people and Indigenous people. When we talk about diversity and inclusion, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. When it comes to those two communities, the initiatives have to be very specific… I think hiring is the lowest common denominator. Even in the creative space, it’s crazy to me that Black people index so low when the Black community is the catalyst for culture.” – McDonald

On representation in creative

“‘Normal’ is still the middle-class white family that we saw in ads 20 years ago, and we’re [now] just re-inserting other people without bringing the culture that comes with it. And when you’re missing the culture, you’re missing what we really bring to the table. It’s not just our colour.” – Alexander-Huet

On how race and class intersections really play out in planning

“Because household income still plays into targeting online… when you’re part of a race that benefits from a higher socioeconomic standing, by default you’re excluding people.” — Alexander-Huet

On the small ways we exclude people

“Look at every single asset, piece of content, that is within your control and see if it reflects. Whether it be an onboarding manual that HR puts out, current content that you’re publishing or your image bank… If you have content in your organization that doesn’t reflect what people look like, then that’s an easy place to start. If I go on a company’s website and I don’t see myself, I don’t feel welcome.” — Harrison

On a simple, yet overlooked step toward inclusion

“I’ve had this conversation with casting with a lot of people. It’s often dismissed, like, ‘That’s too frivolous.’ I agree that it’s a very very small thing, and a very small step, but it’s one that has not been taken the way it should be. It begs for an easy fix.” – Bhatt

On taking the conversation beyond a single moment

“Pick something and commit to it long-term. There are so many elements to this conversation. There are a lot of things that need to be fixed, and it can be a bit overwhelming. I’ve seen a lot of knee-jerk reaction. My hope is that whatever is committed to is committed to long-term. If it’s prioritizing paid internships so that it’s removing the race and class barrier, then commit to that forever. If it’s looking at changing your senior leadership, then make sure that is a priority indefinitely.” – McDonald

Read full articles:
Roundtable: Why inclusion matters in marketing and media (Part 1)

Roundtable: Why race should be examined at every step of the way (Part 2)

Author: Bree Rody

Source: Media in Canada

As a pioneer in diversity communications and marketing, and working with considerable brands, private and public organizations in North America in the past two decades, Focus Communications has constantly been sharing common myths and misperceptions about diversity, inclusion, and ethnic cultures.

Read Forbes: 14 Tips From HR Experts For Successful Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Initiatives

If you share similar visions and expertise on the subject, we would love to hear from you.