If you ever get a chance to chat with Derek Walker about the state of Diversity & Inclusion in Advertising, just know you’re going to get three things: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Not one for being shy about his opinions or experiences, Derek is known as one of the more passionate voices in the conversation of Diversity & Inclusion; with several published articles on the topic, and his most recent spotlight on talent of color for black history month.
The self-described “Janitor, Secretary, and Mailroom Person,” not to mention Owner of the Columbia, South Carolina-based agency, Brown and Browner Advertising, jumped into the deep end of the Fishbowl last month for a Q&A discussion on “What Should Change in Advertising.” During the chat, Walker offered answers on varying topics including promotions, culture fit and the “Lie of not enough.”
The Q&A immediately started off with a tough question, about how people of color can navigate the culture fit obsession in the workplace.
What can C-Suites do to support?
In addition to tasking leadership with the responsibility of addressing culture fit, Derek offered up some tangible suggestions that C-suite leaders can use to retain talent of color.
His suggestions included mentorship, being an angel to a person of color and updating evaluations to include talent retention.
Black History Month experiment outcome
One Fishbowl user asked for a followup on the success of his Black History Month spotlight on talent of color, inquiring if the campaign transitioned into opportunities, for any of the highlighted talent.
Walker noted that while there was no initial goal in mind for the endeavor, a couple did manage to find freelance work as a result.
Ageism is a valid issue
One question that sparked a bit of dialogue during the Q&A, was around the lack of meaningful steps addressing the issue of Ageism in advertising.
Derek acknowledged the validity of ageism in the industry, yet challenged that we recognize the distinction between the experiences of people of color in advertising and people who experience ageism. This sparked debate in the thread, to which Derek further explained the plight of people of color who experience barriers upon entry into the industry, in comparison to people who experience discrimination after having long careers in the industry. Derek noted that once employee training is valued again, there will be a change to ageism. Derek also proposed that there be a triage approach to D&i similar to that of an emergency room intake process addressing the most aggrieved first.
The Lie of Not Enough
Overall the Q&A with Derek Walker was informative, solutions-forward, honest and open. Fishbowl users asked the hard questions, and in true form, Derek provided the real and raw answers. The best way to summarize the tone of the conversation is through his post on “The Lie of Not Enough.” In this post, Derek emphasizes that a change in D&I efforts in Advertising is dependent on the industry doing away with the perception that minorities are not qualified, talented, experienced or skilled enough. Here he offered a simple answer on how to do this effectively…
Treat it like an advertising assignment
Read the full conversation on Fishbowl.
Written by Kai Deveraux Lawson. Find her on Linkedin.