ANA Educational Foundation (AEF) Launches Full-Court Press To Push Ad & Marketing Industry To Attract Diverse Talent

The ANA Educational Foundation (AEF) has announced a series of events, activations and commitments to advance its mission of making the advertising and marketing industries more diverse and inclusive.

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The AEF will present a high-profile panel at Advertising Week 2020 to directly tackle the central issue of why the advertising industry has largely failed in its mission to attract a critical mass of diverse talent.

The panel, “The Talent Disconnect: Are We Losing The Battle to Attract The Best and Most Diverse Talent to Our Industry?”, is scheduled for October 511:30am-12:00pm EST during Advertising Week 2020, a now-virtual event that has been reimagined for a global audience.

This keynote event is just one piece of the AEF’s aggressive agenda to help rebalance the advertising and marketing industry. “This year was a time of dramatic transformation for the ANA Educational Foundation, and its work has never been more important,” says Gordon McLean, President & Chief Executive Officer, the ANA Educational Foundation.

“Covid-19 completely disrupted university campuses, as professors struggled to adapt to online teaching and students had their career plans entirely upended. The subsequent economic collapse has forced the industry to pull back from its broader entry level recruitment efforts, but the reckoning around racial equality has catapulted diverse hiring and talent development to the top of every marketer’s priority list,” McLean added.

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The AEF recently named Chris Macdonald, Global President For Advertising & Allied Agencies, McCann Worldgroup, as its new Chair. “We’re glad to have Chris on board as our chair, and to have McCann Worldgroup as one of our agency partners helping us to realize the urgency of our mission to rebalance the industry,” McLean says.

Macdonald will moderate the AdWeek 2020 panel, which is comprised of a group of diversity advocates, including: Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express; Vijay Viswanathan, Associate Dean of IMC and Associate Professor, Medill SchoolNorthwestern University in Chicago; and Symirah Graham, a student in the Strategic Management Communications program at Howard University.

Macdonald said of his appointment, “The AEF really is the bridge that connects agencies and marketers  to academia and is uniquely positioned to help us attract the best and most diverse talent to our industry.  I believe passionately in this mission and am delighted to take the chair at such a critical time.”

The AEF agenda for 2021, McLean says, includes achieving more scale for all of the AEF’s talent and education programs by leveraging new virtual capabilities while advancing the ANA CMO Global Growth Council’s talent priorities by better connecting the industry to academia and achieving true diversity through the marketing talent ecosystem.

The AEF also plans to expand its Marketing and Advertising Education (MADE) internship program, grow the Campus Speakers Program, expand its virtual Visiting Professor Program, convene six Conferences on Campus, and increase online momentum with its Advertising & Society Quarterly academic journal.

The “Talent Disconnect” panel at Advertising Week 2020 will dig deeper than the disappointing numbers for diversity representation to examine the academic, cultural, agency and corporate environments that contribute to the lack of diverse representation in the advertising ecosystem.

Examples of issues that the panel may examine include: Why don’t students who are BIPOC see the advertising industry as an interesting or attractive career path? Do ad agencies and clients know how to work with colleges and universities to explain the real-world dynamics of the industry? How do agencies and clients present a picture of “a day in the life” in the advertising and marketing industry? How can companies whose leadership profiles skew 85% white males hope to reach BIPOC?

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