In the marketing sector there has been little escaping the growing need to create a diverse workforce that reflects society. As part of this drive, BAME 20/20: Meet the Changemakers was created in order to shine a light on those from ethnic minority backgrounds succeeding in business.
The latest subject of the interview series documenting its ambassadors is Dare's chief executive, Michael Olaye.
How do you see the issue of diversity across the marketing sector in comparison to other sectors?
I must admit, there are changes happening in our sector in the UK. It’s happening because we now have champions on all sides challenging the status quo. Social media has been a great driver (sometimes forcing) change. May it continue.
If you were starting again in your career what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing! I have been fortunate enough to have worked under and with some truly inspiring people. I have of course felt the bad side of racial profiling and bias at work too, but I never let it faze me. My skill and the support of my family, friends and colleagues always takes priority. I actually prefer to know the devil
How do you see that issue being solved?
We must continue to act and be more inclusive across the board. Colour, gender, disability, sex, race, age... whatever! I argued this point at this years Cannes, backing for quotas to force change, at least in the short term. Sometimes those that can make change won’t as they themselves are part of the problem, refusing to accept the situation that exists.
What advice would you give to those of a minority background getting into the industry? What’s the best way to go?
Do not go in with a chip on your shoulder. Show your worth and challenge unfair situations with your seniors if you see/feel something is off. Don’t stay in an environment that does not see the value in you. Trust me, there are great people and companies out there that are breaking the racial bias.
How do you see the role of organisational culture in improving inclusion and diversity?
The leadership team of every organisation should reflect the diverse society around them. It really annoys me when I hear or see any demographic complain, but then they themselves do exactly the same thing by having people that look, talk and walk like them. Not cool.
If you could push agencies to do one thing, what would it be?
I really do believe in starting with simple things, such as blind CVs when hiring. Constantly being aware of what sort of teams (and cliques) we are building or working with.
This interview series featuring interviews with prominent BAME professionals from the MMC community will run throughout 2018. Previous entries can be found here.