Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Last Tuesday, AMA led a discussion with four marketing professionals about the state of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the industry. On the call were Betty Rhiew, Vice President of Marketing at NOVAVAX, Brandon Edwards, Integrated Marketing Specialist at Urban One, Logan Nelson, Senior Marketing Specialist at the Truth Initiative, and Christopher Cole, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the American Marketing Association. Panelists delved into a wide range of topics, from understanding colleagues with different backgrounds to advocating for D&I efforts with colleagues who don't understand its importance.
Rhiew started the conversation by stating that as an individual, you tend to be set in your way of thinking, so working on a diverse team allows for ideas to be challenged which ultimately leads to more concrete deliverables. She adds that it's also important to read body language in collaborative workspaces, be an active listener, and actively seek input from others. Nelson echoes Rhiew's sentiments, agreeing that when your team is compromised of people who lack sameness, you come up with better products that reach people more authentically.
However, sometimes colleagues don't always understand the importance of advocating for diversity and inclusion efforts. To navigate this challenge, Edwards shares that building relationships are key. Minorities are not responsible for shattering thousands of years of stereotypes, but having authentic conversations with colleagues can help others better understand why diversity and inclusion are critical. Additionally, Cole states that DEI isn't an ornament an organization's tree, it should instead be engrained into the roots of everything organizations do. As for the current state of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Edwards states that while it has progressed, there are still challenges present. He says, DEI is like a river, it's never going to stop moving.
The UMD chapter of AMA is grateful for the panelists' insights and thanks them for their time and the engaging conversation!