Inclusion and diversity are two of the industry’s top concerns and a focus of this year’s Women Now Master Class, presented by the Advertising Club of New York for women of diverse backgrounds at various levels of their career. The conference covered a range of topics, from elevating women to the C-suite, to men in the “Me Too” era, to the misunderstood millennial. All of these topics are at the forefront of an industry going through major transition. It’s not just technology that’s a force for change – employees are demanding new policies and practices that align with their own beliefs, and leading companies are heeding the call.
Change starts at the top and telecom giant Verizon is at the forefront. This company is much more than a wireless carrier- it has transformed into a content distribution powerhouse and a substantial competitor in AdTech. And while competition is good for consumers, the need to hire and retain top talent continues to be a challenge facing large and small companies alike.
One way larger firms like Verizon are setting themselves apart is by cultivating their work culture to be more inclusive and diverse. After all, a more diverse workforce can lead to better business performance, innovation, and retention. According to a McKinsey study, for every 10% improvement in gender diversity, companies would see a 2-4% increase in profit. And 85% of companies say that a diverse and inclusive organization encourages different perspectives and drives innovation. Additionally, the most diverse workforces are consistently voted the best places to work, which helps with talent acquisition and retention.
On Branding: “Each industry and brand has its own idiosyncrasies that should be considered, but consumers are consumers. The basics around what it means to create a personal connection between a brand or product and the consumer are the same regardless of brand. All of the businesses that I’ve had the opportunity to work for had a strong emotional connection between the product and the consumer.”
On Diversity: “The two approaches that have worked for us, and that have been our guiding principles, are: 1) Are we recruiting the right way? 2) Are we recruiting through a lense of diversity? I don’t mean diverse only in terms of gender or culturally, but across the board. Are we recruiting individuals that bring diversity in? Are we creating the right conditions and the right environment within our teams for people that are diverse, for them to stay, and grow, to develop, and to thrive.”
On Millennials: “Never let little things hold you back. I never thought about my accent as something that would hurt me, I always thought about it as something that would give me an advantage. And the second thing, something that I’m seeing a lot of [young] people do is jump from job to job. It’s difficult to develop a career when you’re just jumping around so much.”
Co-Authored by Adam Cohen Aslatei, VP Marketing at Jun Group and Gina Grillo, President & CEO at The ADVERTISING Club of New York @adclubny