Ad Club of New York “I’mpart”s Diversity Training

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The Advertising Club of New York is committing $700,000 to “I’mpart,” an initiative to support training programs in high school, college and post-college to promote greater diversity in advertising and marketing, industries notorious for poor inclusion of blacks, Latinos and Asians. “Diversity in advertising has crept into the news again. The gorilla in the room continues to make noise as everyone tries to ignore it.” 

The 2010 census revealed that the U.S. now has more than 50 million Latinos, nearly 40 million African-Americans and almost 15 million Asians, and the paucity of representation and retention of these ethnicities in the C-level suites is alarming.[more]

The cost of the program is being underwritten by selling ads in print and online media assets donated by Fast Company, Essence, The Atlantic, Family Circle, Popular Mechanics, Time, Travel and Leisure and Siempre Mujer, along with CNNMoney, AOL, Daily Candy, Forbes and WhitePages.

“It’s about talking to everybody in the business and raising the issue of diversity in our business,” said Gina Grillo, president and CEO of the Advertising Club of New York. “[Diversity is] good for business and it’s good for the way we operate in our companies.” 

A report from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics last summer revealed that of 78,000 Americans in advertising and promotions managerial jobs, 9.6% were Hispanic, 2.3% were Asian and less than one percent were African-American. Of 959,000 marketing and sales managers, 5.9% were African-American, 5.1% Hispanic and 5 percent Asian.

Programs slated to receive funding from “I’mpart,” include the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media in Brooklyn, The Center for Excellence in Advertising at Howard University, Adcolor University, the Torch program for training high school students, and the Hyper Island Master Class training sessions.

A correlative study by Credit Suisse found that companies with at least one woman on board outperformed rivals with no women at the boardroom table 26% during the last six years. “Companies with female directors outperform on share price, show a higher return on equity, and tend to have less debt and higher valuations,” reports The Guardian, and, “ssince 2008, stocks with women on the board have strongly surged ahead.”

“Companies with women on boards really outperformed when the downturn came through in 2008,” said Mary Curtis, director of thematic equity research at Credit Suisse in Johannesburg and an author of the report, to Bloomberg. “Stocks of companies with women on boards tend to be a little more risk averse and have on average a little less debt, which seems to be one of the key reasons why they’ve outperformed so strongly in this particular period.”

Health-care is one example of a more inclusive industry with 73% having at least one female director. “Traditionally some industries have just never really been seen as the domain of a woman, like some of the mining industries or heavy-capital goods industries,” Curtis said. “Women haven’t generally been promoted through the ranks of those industries and then made it up to board level.”

Ever visionary and proactive, Virgin-in-chief Richard Branson this week tweeted about gender diversity on boards, “We are working hard with @Virgin companies to move faster in this direction http://virg.in/wbr” (A video from Bloomberg illustrates the effects as “Women as Directors Beat Men-Only Boards.”) 

The AWNY moniker “I’mpart” is acronymic (in part) for promote, attract, retain and train, a much needed initiative for an opaque glass ceiling that persists and now comes in several shades — and, importantly, implies involvement with “I’m part.”

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