AAAAs and Howard University partner to increase inclusion in advertising


Nancy Hill, CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, announced a new partnership with Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications to establish a comprehensive center to address challenges, eliminate barriers and identify opportunities to achieve a more diverse and inclusive ad industry workforce at middle to senior management levels. The announcement was made during Hill’s remarks at the 2008 AAAA Leadership Conference, which concluded yesterday.

By a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors in January 2008, the AAAA committed 250,000 to begin the planning of this national center with a four-fold mission:

. To provide professional development, leadership training and resources to increase and strengthen the impact of individuals of color in middle- and senior-level management across all disciplines in advertising

. To provide the advertising industry with research, analysis, strategic and tactical consulting, and policy input to attain diversity and inclusion goals and objectives

. To benchmark best practices and solutions to increase the quantity and quality of persons of color in the industry

. To increase the retention and management-promotion opportunities for people of color.

The Board also pledged that the AAAA would provide industry leadership and financial support in developing the Center’s curriculum, research and programming and assisting the university in raising an additional 750,000 annually to support the Center.

Within its first year, the Center will produce an extensive industry report about the status of diversity within advertising, which will also serve as a foundation for five proposed professional development modules targeting:

. C-Suite Advertising Leaders, to engage and support them in making a critical investment and commitment to diversity, based on a sound advertising business case

. African American advertising professionals, to develop strategies for career mapping, networking, and addressing challenges and perceived roadblocks

. Current managers and supervisors of all races seeking to increase team productivity and inclusiveness

. Potential mid- and senior-level African American professionals transitioning into advertising, and

. Historically and Predominately Black Colleges and Universities to collaborate and assist in strengthening the diversity pipeline.