Six Key Takeaways from the Women’s Collective & Tech Week Auckland’s Diversity Talk

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Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by the Women’s Collective (in conjunction with Tech Week Auckland)  on the importance of diversity in advertising. Award-winning Google Creative Directors (and kiwi natives) Tara McKenty and Iain Nealie led the discussion, bolstered by the expertise and pragmatism of Cecelia Herbert, Google’s Head of Diversity.

As a social media manager representing multiple local brands, I spend a good chunk of my day refining various social “voices” and determining how brands can best communicate with their audience. I am one person speaking for multiple brands- arguably the antithesis of a diverse approach to social branding! Nevertheless, I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed at GRID AKL on a rainy Saturday morning, ready to join the discussion.

 

Key Takeaways:

Diversity is about everyone

Iain pointed out that “it’s scary as a dude to talk about diversity”. It shouldn’t be! In order to move forward, everyone needs to be a part of the conversation.

Inclusive leadership is essential

Monkey see monkey do. Leaders have a responsibility to cultivate inclusive norms and behaviours within their workspace, by actively showcasing the value each person can bring to the table.

Bystanders create change

All team members should be engaged in order to create a healthy, inclusive work environment. When problems arise, it’s up to the bystander, not the victim, to speak up.

It’s impossible to remain objective

Humans are intrinsically biased. In order to improve the state of diversity in our industry we need to first recognise the nature of our subjectivities and limit their influences in our work.

Diversity dilutes groupthink

Cecelia emphasised time and time again that diverse teams find the most innovative solutions to complex problems. A team of strong but similar individuals tend to repeatedly come up with the same tired ideas. What makes a high performing individual is different from what makes a high performing team.

And finally, diversity in advertising is especially important

…because the nature of the industry looks to shape culture. Enough said.

 

 

By Bridget on May 26, 2016
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