{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Does strategy have a diversity problem? Any more than any other agency department?", "post_id": "5b75264485f77000185af3db", "reply_count": 13, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "58eed54c016cce0010bbe9fa", "bowl_name": "Strategy & Planning" }

Does strategy have a diversity problem? Any more than any other agency department?

likeuplifting
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I don't know about the MOST of all, but as a WOC I think it's a problem. Period. I'm often astounded that I'm the only POC in the research teams or overall projects. But what really takes the cake is when I bring up real concerns about how white-centric (or coastal or inaccessible) a team has made something because they run their focus group of one, they act so gobsmacked. It's almost like they've never worked with someone who didn't have the same upbringing...

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Strategy at my agency is the most diverse department - if anything white people are underrepresented .

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I agree. I think advertising in general is very white - probably also people from upper middle class backgrounds because in order to get into the field (at least before there were online resources) you have to somehow afford post college programs or internships in major cities. Strategy is likely even worse because it’s the hardest to get into with junior jobs a rarity, lack of training and probably 1 strategist for every 6 creatives & like.. 10 account people.

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My exec strat Director, on a pitch was asked by our cmo and new biz director to explain the importance of diversity and inclusivity on a sticky note slide. How can a company state this as their values without knowing how this will authentically apply? Charming, but this is something that shouldn’t need explaining. It’s like asking to explain respect. That’s why our industry continues to be a joke to anyone outside of it. We borrow clout and cool from POC who’s driving real stories and creativity and repackage it to brands and profit off it.

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Does advertising have a diversity prob- YES

likesmart

Preach. I feel the same particularly 'never worked with someone who didn't have the same upbringing'. Feels like, in London, there's a very small gene pool particularly as you get further up the strategy ladder.

likesmart

As someone who leads a strategy team at an agency which frequently gets culture-driven or oriented briefs, I’ve struggled a lot to find talent that I feel are the right casting to tackle these briefs. There are a lot of young white guys in strategy in NYC (I am a white woman) and seemingly not a lot of leadership that are invested in building up or mentoring a new generation that is more diverse. As our clients start to understand the importance of diversity in both their agency teams as well as acknowledging diversity in their consumers, it’s unsettling to not have a more representative talent pool out there to speak to the nuance of certain groups and deliver more credible thinking. I’m doing my best on my side to build out a team and department that feels more diverse, and i would suggest that other seniors in strategy need to make it a big focus to start to mentor and train talent that are more diverse so that we have a next generation that is more representative. I will add that this is definitely an industry wide problem. I also feel the traditional tension between creative and strategy/account is exaggerated and can become toxic in a way that doesn’t set people up to succeed when it is frequently a white male ECD pitted against a woman of color strategist, producer or account person (for example). Our industry needs to increase its EQ desperately across the board, in light of these incremental shifts. We have much work to do.🤷🏼‍♀️

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My last time of 5 the only white male was gay. My current team has three women (one of colour) and only one dude 🤷🏻‍♀️

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@OP I wouldn't know since I'm US based, but I've heard it's doubly hard there with how hierarchical the UK can be.

I’m the only strategist I’ve met from any state that’s not on the coast since living in nyc 🙃

@S2 me too 😑

It’s the most diverse department in my LA agency, by a long shot.

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