Random question at 3% Conference: How industry influencers view inclusion

At this year’s 3% Conference, we asked leaders in attendance one of six random questions around inclusion that focused on not just gender but race and more. The questions? Challenging. The answers? Thoughtful, interesting and illuminating.

In our second roundup of videos from the conference, we asked some of the industry’s influential talent about how they view where we are at the moment as an industry, what going beyond gender means and more.

We kicked off our interview series during the 3% Conference itself with Derek Walker, founder of Brown & Browner, who has long shared his bold and brave opinions about the racial divide in advertising.

Always working to push conversation to action, Walker, when asked whether or not there will be a day when conferences like the 3% Conference will no longer be needed, the response was not surprising.

“We’re still talking about this because folks are afraid to change,” he says. “It will be get better, but it won’t ever get to the point where 3% has to go away because…we’re human.”

Asked the same question, legendary industry journalist Stuart Elliott, also never one to keep his opinions at bay, agrees with the sentiment, but acknowledges that some external issues are in play.

“Clearly, what happened on the political front last year and what’s happening today with revelation on behavior suggests that there is a need for more discussion,” he notes. “For the foreseeable future, conference like the 3% Conference are still going to be needed.”

As it relates to going beyond gender, the theme of this year’s conference, the inimitable Luvvie Ajayi, author, speaker and digital strategist, who led an important and intense experiment on stage on the first day of the conference on privilege, believes it’s about the chorus and not individuals. She also believes that there are some bright spots.

“I see hope in the people who are acutely understanding the power of inclusivity,” she says. “I feel like people are finally getting why it’s important to have different voices in the room. It makes for better work, better campaigns, more interesting conversations.”

Further on the topic, Aubri Qian, talent associate and culture lead at DigitasLBi advocates for more progress, not just internally in the industry, but in the world at large and especially in what people see on screens.

“We've lived in a world where like the only people that you see on television or see in pop culture have been like cisgender, white, like stereotypical ideas of what people should be like,” she says. “It’s important that we break those boundaries and showcase folks that are different, because different people are real.”

Finally, God-is Rivera, director of inclusion and cultural resonance at VML, long an industry advocate, when asked about the challenges women of color face in the industry, feels it’s all about ensuring there is more empathy.

“There have been a couple of missteps in our industry, where people don’t know or understand, particularly, women of color,” she notes. “I think they’re not hearing or listening to us. I'm so excited to see Luvvie [at the conference], and see platforms and people who do have the platform and privilege and power to help us raise and elevate our voices.”

Wunderman proudly supports The Drum’s 3% Conference coverage. We believe true diversity does not check boxes, it checks itself. http://wunderman.com/

Search The Drum Jobs

Explore the best jobs in Marketing and Media industries
View all open jobs

Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug