Many of us have spent the past weeks soberly reflecting on issues of inequity, race and justice in our community and country. As citizens and as leaders we’ve been identifying our own biases and looking for ways to educate ourselves and take action. The need is obvious. The path forward is less clear—unless you have a ready and credible source of direction in this arena.
An opportunity for social AND business impact
Over the past year, Spyglass has been working with and supporting The BrandLab, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit founded in 2008 that is dedicated to fighting bias and bringing more diversity to business, especially the marketing and advertising industry. After all, this is where the messaging that shapes culture (and drives commerce) is made, and if we don’t have representative voices and perspectives there, we are failing to reap the economic and societal benefits that true diversity can bring.
The situation is worse than you think
In 2014, The BrandLab’s annual survey found that there were only 6.4% people of color in marketing and agency roles in the Twin Cities. Today, that number has increased to 10%. Progress, yes, but incremental at best—when truly, a more seismic shift is needed, especially given that our state and country are becoming increasingly diverse. Here in the Twin Cities, the working-age white population will actually decline by 2040, while the working age population of color will double in that period. Will our companies be reflective of the beautiful tapestry of cultures, races and perspectives that will comprise their customer-base?
Two specific things business leaders can do TODAY
We invite any of you who are wrestling with questions of equity and inclusion in your organization to explore The BrandLab’s offerings. They can help you and your company (whether large or small) do two specific things right now:
- Support a young person of color and bring more diversity into your organization through a virtual internship (or position) during this time of remote working.
- Help your culture and working environment become more bias-free by offering their Fearless workshops, now available via Zoom.
Donate and get involved
If neither of these options are viable for you and your team right now, you can also make a difference by donating to organizations (like The BrandLab) who are 100% dedicated to systemic change. Giving to TBL is a direct way of supporting young, talented BiPOC professionals—who are already losing opportunities and professional progress due to COVID-19. Truly, these young people are at the heart of what The BrandLab is all about.
Let’s do this
Curious? Want to learn more? Check out their website. Watch our Spy5 interview with TBL’s Ghadeer Garcia. Or reach out to The BrandLab’s fearless CEO Ellen Walthour to learn more. Also, please share YOUR resources, stories and ideas for moving forward as we all seek to navigate the rocky terrain that is 2020. We are confident that if we keep making individual and collective effort—even if we stumble along the way—true change will be made.