ADCOLOR, an organization created by Omnicom Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany Warren, has a goal of creating a community of diverse professionals who support and celebrate one another.

By championing diversity and inclusion in creative industries, ADCOLOR helps individuals and organizations RISE UP, and teaches new leaders how to REACH BACK.

This year, OMG had two employees selected as a part of the ADCOLOR FUTURES program. ADCOLOR FUTURES is dedicated to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders in the advertising, marketing, media, and public relations industries.

ADCOLOR FUTURES Aniqua Hendricks, Assistant Strategist at Hearts & Science, and Keyon Branch, Senior Media Analyst at OMD, share their experience at the annual ADCOLOR conference which took place in sunny Los Angeles this month!

Aniqua:

My name is Aniqua Hendricks and I am an Assistant Strategist at Hearts & Science in Atlanta. With a heavy focus on multicultural, I support my team members on a range of projects, from data collection to building out strategic planning decks for investment teams. I was originally drawn to the ADCOLOR FUTURES program because of its philanthropic mission that focuses not only on career acceleration but also on community and aiding those who are coming up behind you in the industry. The “Rise Up, Reach Back” mantra is one that I have always tried to live by, so it felt like a natural fit.

Keyon:

My name is Keyon Branch and I am a Senior Media Analyst on the Digital Investment team at OMD LA. I was excited to attend ADCOLOR because it provides an amazing opportunity to surround myself with like-minded peers, in addition to helping me grow as a diverse individual in the marketing and advertising space.

Day 1

Aniqua:

Here’s a picture of me [left] with a fellow FUTURE during our tour at 72andSunny. We worked on individual projects to visualize what we stand for, using the phrase: “I stand for ____ no matter ____.” My phrase was, “I take a stand for public transit commuters no matter the community equity.”

Aniqua:

When I first moved to Atlanta, I commuted 1 hour to work and 2 hours to get home. I met so many people from minoritized groups that relied wholeheartedly on the $2.50 bus fare/route for their livelihood. At one point, the city proposed to make major changes that would cut specific routes to lower income areas due to “lower ride participants” and instead pick up new routes near suburban neighborhoods so they could park and ride to work.
I wrote to the local municipality multiple times to reject the proposed changes.  Most bus riders would have to quit their jobs without access to affordable transportation. Thankfully, the new routes were rejected but I can’t help but think about the pattern across the country that is leaning towards this model for public transportation, neglecting low-income communities.”

Day 2

Aniqua:

Day 2 had what proved to be one the most influential events within the ADCOLOR FUTURES program – an amazing session with artist performance specialist KJ Rose in which she challenged us to think about three main points:
  1. Discover – What is your story?
  2. Connectivity – Why do you care?
  3. Personalization – What is your point of view?
KJ also urged us to “Go get your ‘yes’; never ask for permission,” which I think will always stay with me. It made me realize that, as individuals, the work is never easy and that you shouldn’t wait on someone to provide access. Most people don’t even know they need you until you make yourself known.

Day 3

Aniqua:

We spent the day at Deutsch talking about body language, music that moves, and what it means to be heard. My thoughts? “Being heard for me is much less about listening. It’s about intentionally trying to understand someone, whether they can audibly communicate or not. Being heard means that you can hear me even when I’m not speaking.”

Day 4

Keyon:

Day 4 was the “moment of truth” as we were given our official Hackathon brief and tasked with creating a campaign around the “Love Has No Labels” campaign, based on an assigned vertical. We were placed in groups of five and given exactly six hours to create the pitch, deck and presentation, judged by a panel of CMOs.
Overall, this was a very challenging experience as it pushed everyone in my group to think outside of the box while keeping our ideas feasible enough to impress the judges. I found it to be rewarding because it gave me the opportunity to partner with individuals from different business functions to create a collaborative solution.

Days 5 & 6

Keyon:

As the conference came to an end, we received our awards for completion of the week and networked with former FUTURES.  We also attended the 13th annual ADCOLOR Awards Gala which celebrated the FUTURES as well as individuals and companies that have impacted advertising by disrupting D&I with innovative campaigns.

Aniqua:

After a week of learning, storytelling, being challenged and speaking up, I can confidently say my greatest takeaway is that I don’t have to give up who I am to become the industry professional I am working towards. As a child, I remember the first time I realized I was different when the kids in my class asked me to repeat phrases in my Caribbean accent. I could feel the assumptions of teachers and peers that made me believe my accent made me less intelligent. I remember watching videos and teaching myself to speak with perfect diction, so I could blend into the blanket of “acceptable American.”
I wish I never equated my accent to my ability to do everything I knew I was capable of. I wish I knew how to celebrate my blackness and cling to my Caribbean culture. Experiences like this encourage us all to show up as our truest selves. Because of this experience, I gained a network of 29 leaders that are already creating ripples of change. I hope I can continue to stand up for those without a voice and advocate on behalf of marginalized groups. I am so grateful for this rewarding experience!

Keyon:

I can say this experience was truly life changing because I was able to connect with those who understand the trials and tribulations that diverse individuals experience day to day. The overall theme for the conference was “Take a Stand” and I can say the biggest takeaway for me was to continue to live in my true and authentic self while using the power of my voice to speak up against injustice for people of all backgrounds. I will cherish and remain close with my fellow ADCOLOR FUTURES forever. With more than 450 applicants and an 8% acceptance rate, I am so proud to have been selected.

Leave a Reply