Advertiser: The City College of New York
Agency: Branding + Integrated Communications program (BIC)
One month prior to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections, I had an opportunity to interview close to 20 agency level CEOs on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion in collaboration with The Holmes Report. Given the rich historical roots of The City College of New York in Harlem, where I reside as a tenure-track Assistant Professor, I thought it would be appropriate to take on a challenge that the industry was facing.
Little did I know, the journey I was about to embark on would challenge me, personally and professionally, and I would get my "arse" kicked, in this new era of polarization and post -truth. The truth is, no one was touching the the topic of diversity and inclusion in this way, for precisely this reason.
There is no one true perspective or definition of what diversity and inclusion is. People were afraid to make mistakes and not have all the answers, and face retribution. The risk of corporate reputation and agency–client relationships were at stake.