Media and Ad Communities Saved CES from Diversity Controversy

By MediaVillage Education Foundation Archives
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While CES organizers were widely criticized for the lack of diversity in their keynote speakers, diversity and inclusion took center stage as the media and ad community inducted eight companies and organizations into the Diversity Hall of Honors at the inaugural Advancing Diversity Honors event held at Caesars Palace. The event recognized companies and industry leaders who have activated change and inspired others through their dedication to attracting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

More than 300 attendees -- including educators from universities across the U.S and students from UNLV, Nevada State College and College of Southern Nevada -- heard successful strategies for advancing diversity from Aline Santos, Global Executive Vice President Marketing and Head of Diversity and Inclusion (Unilever’s Unstereotype initiative); Kay Koplovitz, Co-Founder/Chairman of Springboard Enterprises (Gender Equality Program); Michael Roth, Chairman/CEO and Heide Gardner, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer (IPG’s Industry Leadership); Randall Rothenberg President/CEO, IAB  and Megan Hauck, Director of the IAB Education Foundation (iDiverse initiative); Lisa Sherman, President/CEO, Ad Council (Love Has No Labels Campaign); Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen (Diversity Development & Retention Program); Megan Hobson, Americas Administration Leader and Hiren C. Shukla, Automation Central Leader/Americas ASA Program EY (Neurodiversity Program), and Ruth Hedges, CEO of Crowdfundingroadmap Inc. (Crowdfunding Education Diversity initiative).

Jack Myers, Chairman of Jack Myers KnowledgeExchange and MediaVillage and founder of the Advancing Diversity Honors commented, “Our community is eager to learn about diversity best practices and opportunities to showcase positive solutions for attracting and retaining talent that is reflective of the consumers and audiences we serve.  We effectively communicated our industry’s leadership to a tech community that is in desperate need of positive role models they can emulate.”  (Myers is pictured at top with Heide Gardner and Michael Roth of IPG.)

The audience was clearly impacted by stories from companies who are championing diversity -- sometimes in very personal ways.  “I was extremely moved by the EY honoree who spoke about hiring those with autism,” said Carolina Cast, a student at NSC.  “I think more often than not when speaking about diversity we remember to speak about women, people of color, different religions, etc., but we forget about those who are challenged either physically or mentally.  For Megan Hobson to say that EY is trying to change the work environment for these people instead of making them have to adapt to their workplace is nothing short of amazing.  My sister, who is 37 years old, does not work.  She is autistic, and though she was able to pass her schooling and classes she was let go of every job she had in the past.  This is extremely unfortunate for these people, who are looked at as ‘incapable’ or ‘unhirable’.  Change starts with one person.  I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that one company out there is trying to bring about change.”

The Advancing Diversity Honors event was supported by Title Partners Facebook, Google, Disney/ABC, Oath, Ascential/MediaLink and MediaVillage.  Pay-It-Forward Partners included IPG, Unilever, UM and Crown Media Family Networks.  Impact Partners were Cadent, AT&T Adworks, Viacom, Turner and Fox Networks.

The evening culminated in a #ChangeStartsWithUs Pop-Up Job Fair.  "Diversity and inclusion aren’t just nice to have; they are a necessity for successful business,” said Allison Allen, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development at Oath.  “The #ChangeStartsWithUs Pop-Up Diversity Job Fair aligned perfectly with this Oath company value.  We were proud to partner with this crucial initiative to help create more diverse and inclusive workplaces."  Over 100 students registered to attend the event and meet with recruiters from Oath, Facebook, Zappos, Caesars and Prohaska Consulting.  Additional partners were Google, Viacom, AT&T Adworks, Jam City and MediaVillage.  (Pictured below left to right are #ChangeStartsWith Us attendees Snehal Bhakta, Education Project Facilitator, Clark County School District Career and Technology, and  UNLV students Annaliesse Hoen, Ben Brikman, and Crystal Panganiban.)

“The talent pool exceeded our expectations,” noted Matt Prohaska, CEO/Principal of Prohaska Consulting.  “We have follow-ups scheduled with several candidates.”

Photos from both events can be viewed here. will be accepting nominations for induction into the Diversity Hall of Honors beginning in April.

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