DK Bartley, Senior Vice President, Head of Diversity and Inclusion of Dentsu Aegis Network, interviewed Jack Myers, Founder of MediaVillage and Advancing Diversity, prior to the 2019 Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors, held January 9 during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Myers and Bartley discussed the history of the Advancing Diversity Honors and the event’s unique format this year -- an immersive Creative Tensions experience in partnership with Sundance Institute.
Now in its second year, the Advancing Diversity Honors evolved out of Myers’ having co-founded the Las Vegas Women in Tech Awards and market research he was conducting. “It really began with research I was doing on the impact of the Internet," Myers said. "When I looked at the generational impact and saw the advances that women were making coming up out of the educational system -- 60% of high school and college graduates being female -- and recognizing that, as an industry, we needed to recognize the opportunities and the need to attract women and serve women and support women and their careers.” (Learn more about the evolution of the event.)
Myers’ focus on gender diversity then expanded. “Also, as I looked at the generational shifts, the dynamic that the young people coming into our industry offered a lot to us and we needed to learn from them as much as we needed to support and mentor [them],” Myers said. “And then as the initiatives around gender diversity became clear … we really needed to expand into multicultural diversity, veterans, autism, disabilities and so many other areas.” (Listen to Myers’ thoughts on pay equality.)
In developing the program this year, Myers completely reshaped the concept of an awards show to have a more engaging design -- and, he hopes, a lasting impact. “One of the things we're doing very differently this year is there are no speeches. No talks. The inductees, the honorees, their messages are out there. We've published their interviews … the industry knows what their positions are, and we can have a voice through MediaVillage of communicating the best practices,” Myers said.
“But the message that came through as I spoke to all the Inductees is that everyone has to participate, from the most senior executives to the most junior executives, to the young people in colleges and high schools who aspire to come into our community,” Myers said. “We need to reflect it. So, our whole message at this event is everyone's engaged. We have the Sundance Institute Theatre program here leading a Creative Tensions about ‘otherness.’ Everyone is saying, ‘This is my responsibility to be engaged and involved.’"
Bartley concurred. “That's a powerful message because, from a Dentsu Aegis perspective, one of our core values related to diversity and inclusion is that it's not just the responsibility of the executives and HR," he explained. "Diversity and inclusion are the responsibility of everybody within the organization.”
Myers shared his plans to support and elevate companies’ own diversity and inclusion initiatives with a custom Advancing Diversity Live Experience. “We believe that there are opportunities for companies internally to recognize those who are taking a leadership role in advancing diversity and inclusion. Both senior and junior [executives] to be recognized, to be inducted into their own company’s Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors.” (Click here to hear more about Advancing Diversity Live.)
Myers and Bartley discussed the intersection of technology and innovation with diversity and inclusion. “What I've heard at this CES, that I have frankly never heard at a CES or anywhere … is the idea that technology needs to serve humanity, and that if technology does not ultimately serve humanity, then the technology -- the innovation is not going to be successful." (Clickhere for more on the future of technology and its impact on diversity.)
The Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors recognizes individuals, companies and organizations that have made consistent and successful commitments to advancing diversity and inclusion. 2019 Inductees included Kat Gordon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The 3% Movement; Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G; Ricardo Marques, Group Vice President of Marketing, Budweiser; Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer, Verizon; Liliahn Majeed, Vice President - Diversity and Inclusion, NBA; Bob Liodice, Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers; Madonna Badger, Chief Creative Officer/Founder, Badger & Winters, and Alma Har'el, Filmmaker/Founder, #FreeTheBid.
Click below for additional videos from the 2019 Advancing Diversity Honors Hall of Induction Experience hosted by DK Bartley, SVP, Head of D&I, Dentsu Aegis Network:
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