4A's Partners With 600 & Rising To Combat Racism, Promote Inclusion
Nathan Young, co-organizer of 600 & Rising
Progress also being made in disclosure of diversity data at ad agencies
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Since being founded just a couple of weeks ago by Nathan Young, group strategy director at Periscope, and Bennett D. Bennett, principal at Aerialist, 600 & Rising, an organization designed to give a strong voice to Black advertising professionals, advocating for their hiring and advancement, has already made significant inroads. 

For one, 600 & Rising has partnered with the 4A’s. Marla Kaplowitz, 4A’s president and CEO, said that the organization has come together with 600 & Rising to help ensure that Black voices at all levels “play a role in guiding the industry forward.” The 4A’s--which serves more than 600 member agencies across 1,200 offices in the U.S. (collectively having a hand in more than 85% of total ad spend in America)--will support 600 & Rising in a concerted effort to get agencies to hear, hire and promote Black professionals, as well as advocate that advertising be inclusive.

The 4A’s said it is committed to 600 & Rising’s call for agencies to:

  • Provide a transparent path to elevate Black employees
  • Listen to and support Black ERGs (Employee Resource Groups)
  • Implement zero tolerance policies on racism
  • Release a detailed action plan showing accountability to drive diversity

Diversity data
In their original letter which brought 600 & Rising to the fore, Young and Bennett wrote that their collective of more than 600 Black advertising pros would push for the release of diversity data and the adoption of policy reform. Agencies, they contended, needed to reveal how many people of color they employ. Without such data, it is impossible to track progress or measure the effectiveness of agency diversity and inclusion efforts.

In addition to now securing the backing of the 4A’s, 600 & Rising in its brief existence has thus far gotten 30-plus agencies--and counting--to commit to compiling and releasing this diversity data, including such high profile shops as Wieden+Kennedy, R/GA and 72andSunny.

4A’s initiatives
In announcing its support for 600 & Rising, the 4A’s also called on its members to consider several initiatives to drive meaningful change, including:

  • Participation in the 4A’s Diversity Survey. The 4A’s will conduct an annual Diversity Survey that will gather high-level statistics around Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Level and Location. This data will be confidential--similar to other benchmarking and survey work led by the organization—and the 4A’s will aggregate the data to formulate industry benchmarks. Participation in this survey, stated the 4A’s, is “critical.”
  • Join the many agencies that support the 4A’s Foundation’s MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Internship Program) to help drive more diversity into the industry. Agencies can participate in the Fellowship program, educating and exposing interns to opportunities at their organizations. The MAIP Alumni community allows agencies to interact with over 4,000 MAIPers spanning 47 years experience, the largest multicultural cohort of professionals in the industry.
  • Be part of the inaugural VANGUARD Program designed for the industry to provide an opportunity to expand what mid-level Black employees see as possible for themselves while setting the stage for leaders and their organizations to have transparent conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion. A transformative program, generating real change. The program will help identify and address: Mismatches in perceptions of racial equality across the organization; Underscore where the “myth of the meritocracy” is most alive; Spotlight leaders as champions of change; Equality and a level playing field for all voices to be heard; Opening channels of opportunity for the development of future Black leaders; and preparing the next generation of Black industry leaders through a series of initiatives, exposure, events, and opportunities
  • Participate in the inaugural 4A’s Equity & Inclusion Congress—Change Tomorrow Today on September 21 and 22. Bringing together D&I, HR, and CEO leader practitioners from 4A’s members focusing on industry equity and inclusion challenges for Black people and People of Color in three key areas: Development and retention of Black people and people of color; Equity of Black people and people of color; Shared Diversity, Equity & Inclusion planning and ideas. The Equity & Inclusion Congress will feature evidence-based sessions, providing real experiences and valuable practical information that will equip individuals with the information and tools they need to have impact in their own organizations.
  • Embed the 4A’s Workplace Enlightenment Certification (WeC) into your learning curriculum. WeC is designed to move an agency toward the highest standards of diversity, equity and inclusion. It impacts all levels of the organization—from the C-Suite to entry-level—and helps address a range of needs from building a diverse talent pipeline to ensuring equitable practices across the agency. The program includes a five-session workshop for agency executives, with additional digital training and resources for managers and individual contributors. The program focuses on inclusion across the following six areas: Race/Ethnicity, Gender, LGBTQI+, Age, Differently Abled, and Faith.
  • Furthermore, the 4A’s will be launching “Equity & Inclusion in Action—Advancing the Diversity Conversation,” a guide designed to help leaders, HR and D&I professionals in the industry address the most challenging issues and maximize the opportunities facing their organizations today given the COVID-19 and race pandemics across America.
  • And the 4A’s is launching this week a webinar series entitled Talent Talk. A series of conversations around the critical topics addressing DE&I, Culture, HR and Learning & Development with executives and practitioners across the industry.


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