At RPA, we know we need to do more to stand up as anti-racist.
To our Black colleagues, we will do better to see you, to hear you and to stand with you.
To the Black community, we will not just grieve with you, but take action to support you.
And to the brave front line thinkers that are putting their health at risk to peacefully protest on behalf of victims of brutality and inequality, we thank you.
We know that systemic change is necessary, and that talk is worthless without action.
While we’ve taken positive steps, we can still do better.
We will invest in education and training around all forms of diversity, racial bias and privilege.
We will do better to hire more Black professionals and People of Color through our recruitment practices.
We will be a beta partner in the industry-wide American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Mosaic InclusionTracker to help guide and measure our progress.
Because the pain and frustration of generations needs to matter.
And the clarity of this moment needs to last.
We can’t do everything, and we won’t get everything right. But we are committed, and we want everyone to be a part of the solution. We will chart a course and start sailing. We’ll continue to listen and learn as we go.
Our owners and Executive Committee have committed to supporting many initiatives. Here are the areas where we’ll start.
Open-door policies, public office hours and lunch & learns are important and will continue, but we need to create better listening among those that have not felt heard. There are very good solutions being developed now to help create safer forms of feedback from those who have held back in the past.
In addition, we have committed to be a beta partner in the industry-wide American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Mosaic Inclusion Tracker to help guide our efforts and measure our progress.
Education and Training
RPA has invested in and supported lots of training and education around diversity and unconscious bias. The application of that training and education has been scattered among those in management and those that raise their hand and say, “I want to learn about diversity and inclusion.”
One thing that this heightened awareness has brought us is that systemic racism isn’t a collection of racist people doing racist things. It is the acceptance of established patterns of behavior and practice that results in racial inequity. Not being racist isn’t the same as combatting racism. Nobody at RPA thinks they are racist. That doesn’t mean we aren’t allowing racism to exist.
We are currently researching unconscious bias training and education programs that will be applied across all Associates, not just those who raise their hands. The training will provide awareness and education that can help us all find our blind spots in multiple forms of diversity and inclusion. This will be only one part of an ongoing conversation about these issues.
Recruiting and Hiring
Our recruiting and hiring practices have been focused on fairness and equality. Advertising as an industry has been a very white place to work. We need to develop more interest in advertising as a career path for all. RPA can and will be more aggressive in actively recruiting people of color. We have changed our ratios and increased our diversity, but we need to go further.
We need to develop pipelines into deeper pools of talent. We will reach out to the universities and develop recruitment strategies to reach the people we are missing. We’ll broaden our recruiting programs to include more students in programs like African studies and Hispanic heritage programs, people who want a voice in the culture of our country but aren’t considering advertising as a place to use their voice. We are also looking at pipelines beyond colleges. All our Associates can have an active role in helping to recruit a broader cross-section of society to the industry and the agency.
Development and Retention
We also need to develop more diversity in our management and leadership. Listening to the voices isn’t the same as including them in the discussion. We have already begun to reach out to individuals outside our current leadership team to gather input. We need to develop and retain more leaders among the underrepresented groups within the agency.
We need to build a view through the windshield that looks much better than the one in the rearview mirror.