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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Marketing Luminaries Weigh In


In today's business world, the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are more than just buzzwords; they represent critical components for innovation, creativity, and growth. But what do some of the industry's luminaries think about these pressing issues? Marketing Futures Podcast host Mike Berberich shares some recent responses to a question he asks every guest: "What are your thoughts on diversity, equity, and inclusion?"

Smita Reddy of Edelman believes that while the terms might feel overused at times, the underlying essence is about showcasing different perspectives. She says, "If we are not speaking to consumers that represent America or represent the world, we are gonna be missing a trick." Emphasizing the importance from a business standpoint, she asserts that diversity and inclusion are not just good but smart for building future-forward brands.

Leslie Miller from Unilever echoes these sentiments but brings in a different angle. Speaking from her experience as a first-generation college student and a working woman, she touches upon the challenges women face in balancing demanding roles. Miller feels that attention to mental health and the retention of women in the workforce are critical components of DEI, especially post-pandemic. Her heartfelt advice? "Just maybe ask how people are doing a little bit more these days."

Gonzalo Garcia Villanueva, the CMO at GfK, is passionate about the topic and believes that embracing a diverse workforce that is inclusive at all organizational levels results in better performance. He makes a compelling point that if a team lacks diversity in perspectives, it is set up for failure. He believes in the power of a team that encompasses not just gender and racial differences, but also age, experience, and more.

Margaret Ady of Huble succinctly captures the sentiment, giving it "two thumbs up". She reiterates that a mix of diverse individuals who are open and honest leads to more creativity, efficiency, and overall a healthier work environment.

Ivonne Kinsler from Avocados from Mexico brings a fresh perspective by highlighting the often-overlooked aspect of diversity of leadership style and personality. She believes that discussions around inclusion shouldn't just revolve around race, gender, or orientation but should also embrace different management and leadership styles. Kinsler opines, "There's very valuable people in every organization that don't meet the profile of the strong leader... but they are great, and they are themselves."

In conclusion, the industry leaders make it abundantly clear: DEI isn't just a mandate but a necessity. Businesses that truly embrace these principles are poised not only for growth but also for fostering a culture of innovation, empathy, and understanding. As we move forward in this ever-evolving landscape, it's evident that businesses which truly embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion will lead the way.

Click here to learn more about the Marketing Futures Podcast.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Michael Berberich is a senior director of content and marketing at ANA.

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