‘I have a passion for influencing more diversity in the industry’: Beyond the Brief featuring Dorion Taylor, Carmichael Lynch
Starting in 2013, as the director of new business and a partner at Carmichael Lynch, Dorion Taylor has been working to lead the agency’s efforts to expand its client roster.
Before Carmichael Lynch, Taylor served as manager of marketing for Target Corp. for just over three and a half years. During that time, he led a team of project management professionals whose responsibilities included delivering consistent Target brand experiences to guests through multimedia advertising campaigns. He also co-chaired the retailer’s African-American Business Council.
He began his career at local agencies Campbell Mithun (now McCann Minneapolis) and Martin Williams Advertising, where he helped manage brands such as Burger King, General Mills, Birds Eye, Andersen Windows, GlaxoSmithKline and Marvin Windows.
As exciting as the work is, Taylor feels that diversity in the industry, and in the workplace, is just as important to him.
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“I have a passion for influencing more diversity in the industry,” Taylor said.
People of color make up a little more than 6% of employees in Minneapolis’s advertising market. That is less than the racial diversity of the overall population and lower than the nearly 23% of the broader national workforce in advertising, public relations and related services who are nonwhite, according to a study published by The BrandLab.
The BrandLab is committed to making a change and Taylor has been a part of that. Acting as a mentor, talent manager for interns, and a panelist, Taylor has worked to help The BrandLab get its mission across: “To change the face and voice of the marketing industry by introducing, guiding and preparing diverse students for careers in marketing and advertising,” he said.
In addition to his work with The BrandLab, Taylor also gives back to his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, serving as a member of the university’s national diversity advisory board. In that role, responsibilities include advising the office of equity and diversity's leadership team on next level practices, challenges, opportunities and community responses. Additionally, they serve as advocates for the University of Minnesota's equity, diversity efforts and to identify opportunities for the university to advance its diversity and community impact.
Dorion Taylor is not only a business development leader who is pushing the boundaries of the advertising world, especially in Minneapolis, but his commitment to mentoring young people and furthering diversity in the workplace, shows why he is a fantastic example of living beyond the brief.
What is the moment that you knew you wanted to be in advertising?
I knew at an early age, I wanted to be in advertising. And, it was not because I loved TV commercials — and had suggestions for making them better. It was because I loved to draw. In the 6th grade, I was asked to research a career that interested me. My teacher suggested becoming a commercial artist. I had no idea what that even was. After tons of encyclopedia research, many horrible drawings and interviews with local professionals, my heart was captured. I’ve been in love with it ever since then.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned in your advertising career?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my advertising career is learning how to craft and tell my story. I had a mentor tell me that you can never assume others understand what’s important to you and where you want to go. You should control/influence that as much of that as you can. Since then, I’ve made it a point to articulate and cater my story to whomever is willing to listen.
Outside of advertising, what is your passion?
My passion outside advertising has to be cooking and entertaining friends and family. If I was not in advertising, without any doubt, I’d be a professional chef. There are so many great moments inspired by amazing food, and a good bottle of wine.
Where is your happy place?
Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My family and I have gone there for spring break skiing and snowboarding for the past five years. [I] can’t even think about going any place else, as tempting as a beach vacation would be for a family living in the harsh Minnesota winters.
To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? We’re interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.
To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.