Diversity Inside the Organization


How can I ensure my organization embraces diverse and inclusive talent?


Fostering and embracing equality and inclusion within an organization itself starts with hiring and retaining diverse talent, as well as establishing an internal culture that values providing support and developing change. 

For marketers to reach people authentically and support people of all backgrounds, and make the world a place where all are seen and valued, having the right team is the first step to creating outstanding and life-changing advertising. 

Su-Jin Lee, VP and general counsel at POPSUGAR, described how to foster a diverse work community, stating, "For me, mentorship is about the ability of someone to provide challenging opportunities for your mentees. Challenge them, give them those stretch roles where they can flex their muscles to show you, your peers, and clients what they can do. Expand and expose — expand them to networks. Bring them to your pitches. It's those opportunities to develop exposure, whether it's in meetings that you're having, in front of a judge, pitching, etc. I want to hear from them and I want to hear their perspective."

Moreover, building an inclusive and diverse team takes time, passion, and redefining what growth is not just for the company, but for employees. Netta Jenkins, VP of global inclusion at The Mosaic Group and Ask Applications, stressed this, stating that companies should be "helping yourself grow, not just the company grow." 

She also noted that inclusion is "about bridging the gap — and making sure everyone at the company is part of the conversation."

Below are resources for fostering diversity, inclusion, and equality with your organization. Don't forget to check out our reports, Diversity in Marketing and Supplier Diversity.

Best Practices and Trends

  • Recruiting Diverse Candidates. ANA, March 2021.
    The Co-Chairs of the Talent Working Team – Julia Goldin, Chief Product/Marketing Officer, Lego, and Elizabeth Rutledge, CMO, American Express – led a group of Growth Council CMOs in a candid discussion on how to implement systems and processes that enable the successful recruiting of diverse entry-level candidates; as well as how to circumvent internal barriers or challenges. See also Key Action Steps to Improve Diversity in the Marketing Department.

  • A Diversity Report for the Advertising/Marketing Industry. ANA/AIMM, November 2020.
    ANA's Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing concluded that women overwhelmingly comprise the bulk of the marketing industry's workforce, and at the senior leadership level female representation is now likely at an all-time high. However, ethnic diversity continues to be poor, especially for African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino. See AIMM's other eBooks and reports here.
  • Taking a Stand on Systemic Change. ANA, August 2020.
    To help end systemic inequality, marketing organizations are starting on the inside. With consumers increasingly expecting brands to take a stand against racial injustice, keeping silent is not an option for many companies. Brands must also ensure their messages are authentic and consistent with their actions to be more than just performative gestures, and this is where many organizations fall short. To regain the trust of employees and consumers, companies must speak through action and resolve the problematic practices that exist within their own houses first.

  • 5 Marketing Leaders Talk About How to Be Inclusive. ANA, February 2020.
    Inclusivity and diversity aren't just buzzwords, but a way to reach people authentically and personally, support people of all backgrounds, and make the world a place where all are seen and valued. And inclusive marketing doesn't just stop and start with a timely ad, it starts within the team itself, a company's hires, and internal culture. Here five marketing leaders and experts weighed in on how to be a supportive and inclusive leader — and how to foster a diverse community.


    • McDonald's Plans for Agency Diversity. ANA, February 2021.
      Inspired in part by America's response to the killing of George Floyd, by marches calling for racial equality, McDonald's was moved to intensify its dedication to its longstanding value of inclusion. More specifically, it set out to pursue three related goals:
      • Accelerate cultures of inclusion and belonging, for instance, by capitalizing on McDonald's share of voice to amplify others' voices.
      • Dismantle barriers to economic opportunity, for example, by auditing, benchmarking, and setting goals for working with minority-owned media vendors; conducting an annual minority-owned media summit; auditing pay for vendors to ensure equitability
      • Represent the diverse communities McDonald's serves, for instance, by implementing the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) to score and guide its 2021 creative plan; ensuring marketing supplier teams are reflective of the communities they serve by implementing a three-year goal.

        McDonald's expanded on this last item, explaining how the organization was setting ambitious objectives for itself. By 2025, it aspires to have 35 percent of its U.S. senior management reflect underrepresented groups, and by that same year it hopes to have 45 percent of senior roles filled by underrepresented groups among its worldwide employees.
    • Building an Inclusive Organizational Culture at R/GA. ANA, May 2020.
      For many agencies and companies, having a presence at tentpole industry events focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has provided a simple, highly visible tick mark that shows others that they're allocating resources to this critical business initiative. While having a presence at these events can be useful, attendance and sponsorship don't always lead to changes that impact company practices and shift behavior. R/GA's Carl Desir shared ways the agency has been working toward creating an equitable, diversified, and inclusive environment for its employees that will have long-lasting impact.

    • 2 Women in Marketing Share Their Tips on How to Create Diversity. ANA, January 2020.
      This highlights two episodes of the Marketing Futures Podcast that featured women in marketing discussing diversity and inclusion. The first is from Lisa McKnight, global head of the Barbie Brand at Mattel, who discussed revamping Barbie for the modern world; the other is from Netta Jenkins, VP of Global Inclusion at the The Mosiac Group and Ask Applications, who stressed the importance of hiring, training, and empowering underrepresented employees.


  • The Verizon Adfellows Program: Galvanizing the Industry around Diverse Talent. ANA, March 2021.
    There's a gap when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the advertising and marketing industries. Verizon's Adfellows program was designed to address this gap by creating a space for new players in the industry. In this webinar, Deirdre Robinson, Senior Director, Social Responsibility/Marketing Capabilities, Verizon, shared how this program was developed, how companies can get involved in this fellowship, and home they can join organizations such as American Express, AB InBev, McCann Worldgroup, and Momentum Worldwide to build a diverse talent pipeline.

  • Linking Inclusion to Business Outcomes: Results from ANA's My Voice Matters Study. ANA, March 2021.
    The ANA Educational Foundation collaborated with industry marketing, agency, and publishing partners to develop a study that links inclusion to business outcomes. The study, My Voice Matters, measured inclusion across a variety of dimensions including when business decisions get made, when promotions are being decided, and overall sense of belonging in the industry. In this webinar, Elliot Lum, EVP, Growth and Community at the ANA Educational Foundation, shared the results from the study and discussed the implications of these results for different constituencies within the industry. See also this other webinar from the AEF, Recruiting Entry-Level Diverse Talent: What You Can Learn from Brands, Agencies, and Publishers.

  • A Community Conversation: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). ANA, December 2020.
    Nonprofit organizations and their agency partners are on the front lines of the most pressing issues of our day. But how are they advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion from within their organizations? This discussion focused on where we are and where they need to be in 2021 and beyond.

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

  • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
  • Connect with our Ask the Expert team in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
  • Participate in conversations with the Marketer’s Edge research program to create solutions to the current issues facing marketers.

Submit a request to Ask the Expert here.


"Diversity Inside the Organization." ANA, April 2021.