By Doug Zanger, Americas Editor

December 4, 2017 | 5 min read

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 we asked were challenging and the answers were thoughtful, interesting and illuminating.

In our latest roundup of videos, creative leaders from around the industry dole out the candor and also show the opportunity in front of all.

For Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer and partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, there is a both a hope and a hunch. The hope? That there will become a day when conferences like the 3% Conference are no longer needed. The hunch? There will always be a need to lift up groups that need support.

“It will be only three percent of people with disabilities or people of color or another group,” she says.

Going beyond gender is an important consideration — and the theme of this year’s conference. Though continued strides have been made, Sandi Harari, executive vice president and creative director of Barker concedes that there is room to expand and grow her 70% female creative team.

“I think about a year ago we turned around and we were busy clapping that we had such great female leadership and we had just such great representation but then we turned around and realized we were all just a bunch of white girls,” she notes. “It dawned on us that we could probably raise the bar and do a little better in terms of diversity.”

Jason Sperling, senior vice president, chief creative development at RPA, also noticed the overt intention and theme of going beyond gender.

“When we talk about diversity, I think sometimes we get hung up on the very obvious black or white, man or woman,” he says. “And I think this conference is aiming to prove that we are way beyond that. That there are so many elements of diversity that either we're blind to, or just is sort of an unconscious bias.”

As far as the responsibility that men have, PJ Pereira, chief creative officer and co-founder of Pereira & O’Dell, shares one of his own stories and points to one key issue that is sometimes forgotten.

“I think the responsibility is to listen,” he says. “There’s nothing bigger than listening right now — I mean, listening with attention. Trying to get the point of view that you may not understand.”

Further on the question of what responsibility men have, Danielle Reubenstein, executive creative director, Possible Mobile, sees it quite clearly.

“Almost everything,” she says. “If you are privileged enough to not have to worry about some of those things [around diversity], you need to be one of the people helping to answer for somebody else whose voice might be a little bit squashed.”

To Bonnie Wan, director of brand strategy and partner at Goodby Silverstein and Partners, women of color are those who face different and more daunting challenges of inclusion due to the dominance of men in the industry.

“No matter how much progress we've made, and we have made a lot. I have to acknowledge that. But it is still a brotherhood in many ways — including our clients,” she says.

But what changes can be made? Rick Albano, executive creative director at Swift, believes that more work needs to be done to articulate and welcome people of all backgrounds into the industry.

“For me, living in Portland, Oregon, we have a large workforce that is Caucasian,” he notes. “I'm in the whitest city in America. And one of the things I notice is just a shortage of young, diverse candidates for jobs. So I think honestly one of the best things we can be doing is actually presenting or letting kids know that this is a viable job opportunity. As a creative, I want more people to be able to do creative for a living.”

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

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