Chief Executive Officer at Cirkle / co-Chair of the Alliance of Independent Agencies
I think many in our industry would do well to heed these words when it comes to diversity. It also sums up my personal experience of applying for Blueprint status, and some of the more uncomfortable and challenging conversations and reflections we’ve had as part of the process which has led to us securing Blueprint Ally status.
The Blueprint is not an ‘award’ to be achieved, but signals a fundamental decision to dismantle old assumptions, practices and processes that may have appeared to ensure parity, equality and inclusion, but have not gone far enough to deliver real positive change and often keep the status quo.
To reach either the full standard or ally status, agencies must take a deep dive into their EDI policies and practices, as well as signing up to 23 commitments – from recruitment to working culture – aimed at promoting ethnic diversity and real accountability at every level of the organisation.
The immediate benefit for the agency is access to more diverse talent and a more inclusive culture, but more importantly, if every agency were to apply and ‘do the work’, it would mean a thriving, and more inclusive industry.
And it’s not easy. As Maya’s quote alludes to, there is a huge education piece to be done internally and externally. I don’t for one moment think that as an agency we have got it right, yet. But we are committed to change, education and know we must do better.
But many agencies are not taking that first step, and others just don’t feel ‘ready’. But if not now, when?
My challenge to those considering applying – do it, and do it now. There is no better time, there’s no option to try and ‘improve’ your processes and principles before you apply. By taking the first step you are already beginning a much need journey that will have fundamental knock-on effects on the industry and those within it.
So, for all of those agencies thinking ‘should we apply?’ Yes, yes, you should.