Hermon Ghermay began her career at legendary advertising agency Leo Burnett in Chicago. As a liberal arts major at Harvard, her experience was quite different from her classmates as an international student cleaning toilets across the campus to cover her tuition costs. I avoided, in our Legends & Leaders conversation, making direct connections from those experiences to working in advertising. They would not only have been inappropriate but also inaccurate. But as part of her personal story, her experiences are relevant to why "culture" is the focus of her responsibilities as Chief Culture Officer for IPG Mediabrands.
Fifty percent of leaders' bonuses today at IPG are tied to representation and inclusion goals. In the U.S. IPG's focus is increasing Black talent, in recognition of the representation gap and where the most work is required. Her internal focus is on assuring that there is a welcoming environment where this talent can succeed. "For anyone who has felt they've been an outsider, that they haven't fit in," Hermon has a message, adding that being "other" is a central theme in her own story. "Don't let others tell you who you are; don't shrink to fit into boxes. When we are at our best in this industry, we challenge convention and status quo. When we do work that doesn't just reflect culture but adds to it, that to me is our industry at its best."
Learn about Hermon's truly unique story, her learned wisdom as a 22-year industry veteran on the front lines of advancing diversity, and her unique perspectives and guidance for all those who believe our industry culture is enhanced by diversity. View our conversation above.
Originally published October 6, 2022.
The media and advertising communities are hosting Black Talent Outreach Week October 17-20, live streamed at MediaVillage.com and AdvancingDiversity.org. Promote it to your teams and support the campaign with your recruitment initiative. Visitweek.advancingdiversity.org.