Among the many lessons that emerged in 2020, one of the most critical for our agency was the importance of actively studying and improving upon Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Our agency has championed many women in creating and maintaining a career in an industry that has, unfortunately, often been known for the opposite. While being women owned and led will continue to be an important part of our agency culture, our history on gender diversity is not enough. So, we’re going further. At the same time we seek to diversify our team and our work, elevate equity, and foster inclusion, we must also create a sense of belonging for every person.
Belonging is the less measurable, more long-term, and tremendously important component of human well-being that’s occasionally left out of the DEI conversation, but is nevertheless a rich entry point for nearly every individual, agency and brand. And, a critical part of creating this sense of belonging is transparency. We must openly acknowledge where we stand, what impacts our efforts are creating, and how we, as an agency, can continue to be better.
In the spirit of transparency around our commitment to improvement, here’s a look at both the ethnic and gender distribution of the Vladimir Jones team as of January 2021:
Creating a safe place for diverse thinking to thrive goes beyond just WHO we hire and requires new behaviors. Some practical examples of our commitment to DEI & B are:
Expanding our parental leave policy to accommodate parents of all genders and types to exceed both State of Colorado and national standards.
Establishing the Jim and Nechie Hall Scholarship at the Denver Ad School to allow a student who otherwise could not attend to enter this industry and thrive.
Actively participating in the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Equity and Inclusion Congress, which was created to bring the best minds, knowledge, and ideas to work as one to create a better industry for all.
Engaging in conversation with diverse individuals beyond our organization to expand our knowledge and understanding of key issues, which we make publicly available on our blog and social channels.
Creating a cross-discipline, voluntary discussion group, which meets regularly and is led by our president. Through this group, we discuss what we, as an organization, can do to fully investigate how our DEI & B initiatives impact the way we work.
This group’s recommendations have, so far, resulted in:
Prominently including VJ’s EEO statement in all of our job descriptions and postings for recruiting purposes, which closes with this language: Vladimir Jones is committed to building a diverse staff and encourages applications from minorities.
Changing our recruiting process to include submitting resumes to our hiring managers/directors as “blind resumes,” with names and personal information removed, thus narrowing our focus to the candidate’s skill set.
Implementing DEI & B training for all employees on an ongoing and on-demand basis, including mandatory sessions within our new hire orientation.