Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit: The State of DEI in Advertising & Marketing


In this live session of the Minority Report Podcast, hosts Kerel Cooper and Erik Requidan chat with Elise James DeCruise, chief equity officer and Jazmine Brown, manager of diversity, equity & inclusion at Ad Council about the state of DEI in advertising & marketing, and the role we all play in impacting change.

Episode notes

The unfortunate events of the past 12 months have catapulted DEI conversations to the forefront within organizations. While the conversations are great, we still have a long way to go in terms of implementing real action. In this live session of the Minority Report Podcast, hosts Kerel Cooper and Erik Requidan chat with Elise James DeCruise, chief equity officer and Jazmine Brown, manager of diversity, equity & inclusion at Ad Council about the state of DEI in advertising & marketing, and the role we all play in impacting change.

Podcast Notes

A few Key Takeaways

The current state of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within advertising and marketing

  • "Numbers don't lie. And you know, we look at the data year after year, and the level of movement, that's pretty disturbing and sad. Considering that there is enough talent out there that identifies as black and brown and underrepresented. I think the industry as a whole underestimates the number of resources, both financial resources, human capital that is required of each of us to really be thoughtful and intentional about not only elevating the conversation, but taking action, and being in the space for, you know, over 15 years. It's like I shouldn't be surprised. But you know, by the lack of movement within this space, but I just think that we have an obligation not only you know, to ourselves, but to the industry as a whole, to really be thoughtful about how we're going to advance, advanced this work and get outside of our comfort zones, a little bit more, expand our networks a little bit more, because the talent is out there. We talked a lot about like the collective we about like the pipeline issue where you know, where the black people conference around that a couple of years ago, as well as underrepresented groups, but I just think it's, it's really a lack of awareness and a lack of confidence for some to have those conversations with people who might not look like them or might not have gone to the same school as they have. And that's what I'm referring to. We're talking about getting outside of your comfort zone like yeah, you really have to be a little bit more like a little bit more bold and courageous and step out there for that you're finding the talent. And once you find the talent, make sure that you have a culture that is inclusive, to keep them and develop them into leadership roles within an organization. So, you know, like having that access to experiences and people, yeah, that is going to help underrepresented groups thrive within the space and find their voice."

The progress for women in advertising and marketing

  • "I think progress is taking small steps every day, towards the results that you want to see and the world that you see yourself in, and the hope that you have for others behind you that are looking for space, and building confidence to take up space within our industry. I think oftentimes when we're looking at, like the utopia, the future of I just think we overthink it. You know, I think small steps can make progress with small steps. And I want to see a world in an industry that is reflective of the consumers that we serve, and the communities that we connect with every day through products or services or experiences. And that should include obviously women, but it shouldn't include everyone. And I think as an industry, we need to put more behind multicultural marketing efforts, and not have it as a separate silo, or line item on the plan. multicultural marketing is the plan for the future as far as I'm concerned. And as you know, as a woman, and as a black woman, I want to make sure that the experiences and products and services reflect my experiences. within the workplace, I want to make sure that there are more individuals that look like me, doesn't mean that they necessarily have to have the same story as right because you know, we have many intersections, no, and everyone has their own story in their own truth. But I want to see the industry, reflective of the world. And within the advertising space, like we have not only an opportunity but an obligation. And I think we need to spend more time thinking through what that looks like and the level of commitment and care That's required to make that happen. But I also recognize it's going to take time, right. And it is a journey. Like when we talk about diversity and inclusion, we talk about the journey that we're all on both personally and professionally. And we have to ensure that we extend ourselves enough grace, and we extend others enough grace, to walk this journey together so that we can accomplish these goals around di."

Advice for organizations to take action

  • "I think there's so much advice to give. And honestly, I don't know if anything I'm going to say is something that people who are listening to this podcast they haven't consumed already. So I think the budgeting aspect, like you, in order to put anything into action, you have to be very intentional about putting resources behind it. I feel like everyone who's ever worked in DEI has always said that and will continue to say it. I think that's a really big one. I also think culture is another huge one. I think Elise touched on something similar earlier, but making sure that you have a culture that's conducive of the environment that you want. And, you know, I think a lot of companies when they think diversity initiatives, their first sort of plan of actions will let's diversify, then, and let's recruit, recruit, let's get as many diversity, you know, head in the door as possible. And I think that's just a huge misstep. And it's also a short-term quick fix. Because as quickly as that talent comes, you see the revolving door suddenly, you because you don't actually have a culture that supports them, and elevates them and advances them and sometimes accurately paced them, you know, not to be morbid, but that's where you get into situations where it's like microaggressions, and it's like death by 1000 paper cuts, and like, you just push that out. And so I think that's another really big one."

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