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Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall tells Sheryl Sandberg that diversity progress is ‘too slow'

Airbnb’s most senior marketer, Jonathan Mildenhall has spoken to Facebook’s chief operating officer of progress of diversity agenda within the marketing sector, describing it as “too slow”.

In an exclusive interview within The Drum’s special issue guest edited by Sandberg and fellow executives at the world’s largest social media platform; Nicola Mendelsohn and Mark D’Arcy, he was asked a number of wide ranging questions about Airbnb as a community, his views on the developments as a result of mobile usage growth and his views on the creative community.

When asked about his thoughts on the growth of inclusion within the sector, a topic Mildenhall has long been outspoken about, he opened up about the work he would be involved in to help facilitate that during this year’s Cannes Lions festival.

“The industry has been talking about diversity and inclusion for as long as I’ve been a part of it, which is nearly 30 years. Yes, there have been advances with women in leadership positions, but progress has been way too slow.

“We must all stop talking about this and start doing things that make it easier for under-represented groups to access high-profile jobs and industry positions,” he continued.

“I’m incredibly proud coming to Cannes Lions this year and will be holding onboarding sessions specifically for women and people of colour, the aim being to start directly recruiting diverse creative talent into Airbnb.

“We’re also holding the agencies we work with accountable for creating authentically diverse teams at all levels. If more clients elicited diversity, we would see a rapid, industry-wide shift. To all the marketers out there reading tis please join me in challenging the makeup of your agency teams. It is through your pressure that agencies will act.”

The full interview between Sandberg and Mildenhall can be read exclusively in the July issue of The Drum magazine, which also features interviews with the founders of BBH and the new creative chiefs at R/GA as well as many other industry-wide features and insight pieces.

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