Celebrating the life of an unforgettable leader, colleague and friend. Katie Blair: February 10, 1984 - November 1, 2019
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Advocating for Diversity and Inclusion in the Marketing Industry

Sasha Dookhoo

Earlier this month, I had the distinct honor of representing PAN Communications at the Advertising Association of America (4A’s) Face of Talent, a week-long calendar of events in NYC connecting hundreds of advertising and marketing leaders with the next generation of the marketing workforceNow in its ninth year, these events celebrated the 236 college students and recent graduates in the 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (maip). maip was established 46 years ago as a key imperative for the 4A’s to discover, develop and deliver diverse talent in the industrymaip focuses on driving change and championing diversity, equity and inclusion in the marketing industry. 

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) remain pillars in our industry that we are constantly striving to improve uponWhile the practice of PR in the U.S. has undergone dramatic changes and made significant strides over the last decade, a lack of diversity in communication fields unfortunately persists. Many studies indicate that PR struggles to attract young Black, Asian and Hispanic professionals – further contributing to the lack of diverse talent. 

But attending the annual maip Diversity Career Fair and the Face of Talent luncheon, it was amazing to be a part of such a tremendously diverse group of people. From various ethnicities to sexual orientations and backgrounds, maip connected about 750 creatives to share their experiences and celebrate their contributions to the industry. 

At the Diversity Career Fair, the class of 2019 fellows had the opportunity to connect with more than 60 advertising and marketing organizations located across the U.S. It was great networking with future industry leaders and sharing my integrated marketing and PR experience – as well as a few tips of the trade – with them. I was impressed by how poised these fellows were and their hunger for making strong connections and asking the right questionsAs numerous fellows also have an interest in creative, maip hosted a Greenhouse in order to get their creative portfolios in front of agency recruiters. 

In 2011, I was a maip fellow and interned at a B2C firm in Kansas City, MO. And, over the years, I have volunteered to mentor other fellows in the program each summer – providing guidance on their career path, advanced curriculum and additional opportunities they should seek while interning. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with my 2019 maip mentee at the Face of Talent after spending the summer videoconferencing with her. For my ongoing contributions to maip and the industry overall, I was honored to join the ranks of the Society of Excellence this year and be recognized as a 2019 maiper to watch. The Society of Excellence is an elite collective of executives, who have been identified by maip as individuals of distinction due to their high potential in their career and community. At the Society of Excellence reception, I was accompanied by Ryan Wallace, VP and GM of our New York office (PANhattan). There, we connected with maip alumni in the advertising, marketing and media industries and mingled with the 4A’s foundation team. 

At the Face of Talent Luncheon, the event kicked off with opening remarks from Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of 4A’s, highlighting how critical D&I is in our industry and how the 4A’s is helping to contribute to a more diverse culture. There was also a fireside chat with Miguel Marquez, CNN National Correspondent, and Simon Fenwick, EVP – Talent, Equity and Inclusion, 4A’s and 4A’s Foundation. They discussed how the media landscape is changing and how truth and transparency have reached new lows in America and what Miguel and his team are doing to stop it.  

The event capped off with award recognitions for the new members of the Society of Excellence. This year, two awards were established in honor of the late Sheldon J. Levy, a fellow of the inaugural maip Class of 1973. The Sheldon J. Levy Distinguished Fellow of the Year award recognized five maip 2019 fellows who demonstrated a passion and dedication and made significant accomplishments during their summer internships. The Sheldon J. Levy Legacy Award was established to recognize an industry leader who demonstrates a commitment to leadership, collaboration and community and this year, it was awarded to Marc Strachan, Chairman, ADCOLOR. 

At PAN we understand that building a world-class company culture requires hiring and mentoring a diverse employee base where different skill sets, backgrounds and opinions are valued and fostered. We know that when we create organizational diversity, we produce a fully stocked toolkit to continue delivering high-impact results for clients. And, when we practice inclusion, we become master craftspeople, building a company structure capable of standing strong, even in shifting industry landscapes.  

We’re committed to D&I and while we recognize that creating a more diverse workplace isn’t something that happens overnight, we’re dedicated to on-boarding more diverse talent and helping to move the D&I needle in PR. 

Topics: Industry Expertise

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