Nancy Galanty is the Executive Director of WomenAdvancing.org, the largest national organization supporting women in media, advertising, technology and related fields."
Just this week, Germany was criticized for forming an anti-Semitism commission without including a single Jewish person. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Can a commission support a group of people without giving that very group a voice in the discussion? Critics of Germany’s eight-person anti-Semitism commission without Jewish representation say a definitive “no” and liken it to having a “round table on the discrimination of women without women.” Exactly.
This week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) held its annual Leadership Conference in Phoenix, AZ, gathering over 1,100 leaders in digital media and advertising. It was a well-executed event led enthusiastically by IAB President and CEO, Randall Rothenberg. The content was compelling, the location (and weather) was spectacular, and the community gathered was smart, thoughtful, collaborative and fun. The content addressed the digital media’s usual suspects: premium content, big data, measurement, mobile, digital video and OTT with speakers from GE, Starcom, Kraft Foods, Hulu, Google, Maker Studios, etc.
But, there was a new and significant addition to the content focus: racial and gender diversity in the digital media, advertising and technology communities. In his opening remarks, Rothenberg included diversity in his six most urgent issues facing our industry today. Rothenberg said our collective success depends on how we close the gender and racial skills gap and increase both diversity and retention. He spoke of our shared “obligation” to serve, train and retain the underserved and underrepresented in our industry: women and multi-culturals. Throughout Monday’s main stage agenda, almost every speaker took a moment to address and agree with the importance of “building a media industry with talent reflective of the audiences we serve.”
Now here’s the rub: The IAB announced its Executive Council and Board of Directors positions on Sunday evening, highlighting both Dave Morris, Chief Revenue Officer, CBS Interactive and Lauren Wiener, President, Tremor Video as the new IAB Chairman and Vice Chair, respectively. The list of executive council members and board of directors beneath was, well, absurdly male-dominated, and absurdly white. I counted. Of the 43 industry leaders at the helm of the IAB, there are four women, Lauren Wiener included. There are fewer multi-culturals included. Rothenberg announced the IAB’s Education Foundation to increase racial, ethnic, gender and skills improvement in the digital media and advertising industries. It’s lead by Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO, AOL. It probably goes without saying, but to make my point: Tim is a white man. Of the 18 featured speakers on the IAB’s Leadership Meeting site, only five are women and all are white.
In the “Girls Lounge” at 7:30am Monday during the IAB Leadership Meeting there was a robust female-only discussion on racial and gender inclusion and retention led by Shelley Zalis, Global CEO Ipsos. Sandra Sims-Williams, Chief Diversity Officer, Publicis Groupe, articulated the unique experience both women and ethnic communities have when we sit in rooms as the “only.” It’s an experience of difference white men do not experience with frequency in the media industry -- if ever. Freada Kapor Klein, Co-Chair, Kapor Center for Social Impact commented that to impact change, we have to identify and showcase leaders who represent the future, and who've had the unique human experience of being different.
So, I pose these questions to the IAB: Are you showcasing leaders who represent the future that you’ve stated we need? Are you trying to impact change with a group that cannot understand the experience of being different? Or, are you including the under-represented voices in an effort to include and serve them? Are you doing enough to find and engage those who you seek to attract?
Nancy Galanty is the Executive Director of WomenAdvancing.org, the largest national organization supporting women in media, advertising, technology and related fields. She oversees business affairs and the fulfillment of WA’s mission across chapters in nine cities. WomenAdvancing.org offers an inclusive environment to women at all career stages, promotes and supports both gender and racial diversity and enables dual-mentoring and the personal and professional advancement of women. Nancy is also Vice President, Community and Content at MyersBisNet, where she is responsible for the strategic development of MyersBizNet’s B2We Purpose Driven Communities and media platforms including WomenAdvancing, Media Legends, Media All-Stars, First5, MediaBizBloggers and Lunch at Michael’s. Prior to joining MyersBizNet, Nancy held executive positions at Rhythm NewMedia, iMedia Communications and CBS Interactive.
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