'Supporting diversity starts at the college level': 8 questions with Terry City, SVP, brand partnerships at Dose Media

Editor’s note: ThinkLA’s DIG (Diversity, Gender, Inclusion) initiative has been created to celebrate and work towards greater diversity in Los Angeles. ThinkLA and The Drum are pleased to highlight African American leaders in the Los Angeles marketing community, their thoughts on the industry and how to build greater momentum for all.

Terry City, SVP, brand partnerships at Dose Media

Who was your role-model when you were younger?

My role model(s) when I was younger were actually my two older brothers. They were both great students, athletes and into music. They introduced me to everything that I love today and made going to college seem like a great option in a neighborhood where not many young people were making that choice.

What was your first job in advertising?

My first job in advertising was indirectly as a marketing representative for Anheuser-Busch. It gave me a great understanding of how advertising works from a national and local level - pre-digital. Working for one of the largest advertisers in the world and seeing the process behind the scenes was enlightening. My first job selling advertising was in newspapers for the LA Daily News.

What is most rewarding aspect about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?

Working with many brands and agencies and genuinely helping them solve problems and providing solutions. Also, providing and contributing to a fun, healthy and friendly work environment for those who work for me and my fellow colleagues within the organization.

What's the best compliment you've ever given?

I once told a young co-worker who was an assistant at the time, that they had the potential to run their own business and be a leader. They are now doing just that — running their own company.

What advice do you have for young black people in advertising?

Even though you don't see a lot of people who look like you make sure you're heard and have a point of view. Network with as many people as you can and never be afraid to seek out a roles that have not been previously been held by people of color. You never know who you are going to inspire once you get there.

How can we support more diversity in advertising?

I think supporting diversity starts at the college level. I believe that if you speak to and mentor black students early to let them know they have place in this industry, more and more will begin to get interested. Putting on more industry events that invite diverse professionals to get together. More diversity on panels on keynotes as well.

What's something about yourself that would surprise people.

I think the biggest surprise would be that I'm constantly inspired by people who have been in been in this industry for such a short period of time and who are lot younger than I am. I find am learning more from the younger generation than I do from some industry veterans.

What should our industry be talking about in 2017?

Our industry should be talking more about brands getting more accountability for their advertising dollars. We should be also talking about the surprising fact that budgets for digital /social are still under 15% of total advertising spends even though the data supports that it should be much higher.