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Promoting Diversity and Empowering Voices in the Advertising and Marketing Industry

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Diversity Collective Takes Center Stage at Cannes Lions, Championing Inclusion and Equity

A Movement for Change in the Creative Industry

In 2017, the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective (CC:DC) was founded by Adrianne C. Smith as a response to the glaring lack of diversity at the renowned Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and within the advertising and marketing industry as a whole. CC:DC has since evolved from a mere concern into a powerful advocacy group, providing a transformative learning experience and a safe haven for diverse creatives and industry leaders who were previously underrepresented.

This year, I had the privilege of joining esteemed DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) leaders Tasha Gilroy, Chief Equity Inclusion and Belonging Officer at VMLY&R; Tope Ajala, Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Ogilvy; Christena Pyle, Chief Equity Officer, Americas at Dentsu; and Tony Hobley, Chief DE&I Officer at Omnicom Precision Marketing Group at Inkwell Beach Cannes for an engaging panel discussion titled « You Can’t Make This Shut Up. »

During the session, we candidly shared our collective journeys, highlighting the substantial progress we have made, the challenges we have encountered, and the necessary steps to further evolve our leadership roles and foster inclusive and equitable workplaces. The personal experiences we shared consistently emphasized the vital qualities of persistence, adaptability, and unwavering commitment that are essential in effecting the changes we all aspire to witness.

The panel discussion served as a powerful platform to address the systemic barriers and biases that have hindered the progress of underrepresented individuals in the industry. By openly discussing our triumphs and tribulations, we aimed to inspire a transformative shift in leadership practices, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

The stories we shared resonated with the audience, reflecting the shared experiences and aspirations of many attendees. It was evident that progress had been made, but we acknowledged that there is still much work to be done. Through open dialogue, we identified the need for ongoing commitment and intentional action to dismantle barriers, challenge unconscious biases, and cultivate an environment where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued.

The collective wisdom of the panelists underscored the importance of collaboration and allyship in driving meaningful change. We emphasized the significance of creating spaces that foster dialogue, learning, and growth, enabling individuals from all backgrounds to thrive and contribute their unique perspectives.

As the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity embraces the call for diversity and inclusion, the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective stands as a beacon of hope and catalyst for transformation. CC:DC’s tireless efforts, along with the commitment of industry leaders and organizations, have paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable landscape within advertising and marketing.

In conclusion, our panel discussion shed light on the ongoing journey towards building diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. The personal narratives shared exemplified the resilience and determination required to drive lasting change. As we collectively strive for progress, it is vital to recognize that the path to inclusivity is not linear, but rather one that demands continuous learning, introspection, and collective action.

The Cannes Can: Diversity Collective remains steadfast in its mission to empower underrepresented voices, challenge the status quo, and champion the transformative power of diversity and inclusion in the creative industry. Together, we can build a future where every individual, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to a more vibrant and impactful advertising and marketing landscape.

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