By: Trevor Zaucha

An Outlook And A Problem

In an industry driven by the visions and values of millennials, shifting outlooks and dynamic change, understanding these complexities is of paramount importance. The same can be said of diversity. In an industry that aligns itself with messages of progress and inclusivity, the insight behind the Illinois American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) “Kaleidoscope: A Multi-Lens Perspective” is a disconcerting one: “diverse individuals are unable to see people like themselves within the current industry.”

As an occupation, advertising is typically defined by its youthfulness, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that 59 percent of all advertising industry employees fall between the ages of 25 and 44. While concerns of ageism have been raised on a number of occasions, this increased percentage of young people, along with a continued influx of millennials, suggests that the industry will receive further guidance from this exceptionally influential group.

According to’s “2013 Millennial Workplace Trends Survey” advertising and technology companies “were identified as the top industries for engaging millennials.” When millennials approach these opportunities, they’ll do so with their beliefs in tow. Of the many things that this group values, one aspect of great importance is the role of diversity, both in life and in the workplace. Valuing diversity and aware of the disconnect that diverse individuals “don’t feel welcomed or encouraged by the [advertising] community” AAF Illinois’ Pangaea provided a solution: “Kaleidoscope: A Multi-Lens Perspective.”

Bridging the Gap

As a committee, the Illinois AAF’s Pangaea (along with the recently created Diversity committee) strives to immerse its members into “the fantastic world of multicultural advertising.” Driven by current AAF Illinois Senior Vice President of Management Mefah Joyner, Kaleidoscope was created to break down barriers to entry and engagement by connecting University of Illinois students with diverse advertising professionals through a Google Hangouts speaker series. Its first chapter highlighted the role of creativity in the industry and featured Young and Rubicam (Y&R) Senior Creatives Guilherme Racz and Lucas Oliveira. The second chapter turned its attention to account management and featured Y&R’s Chad Oliver and Wunderman’s Kam Taitt. The final chapter highlighted project management and was made possible by Jean Middleton and Kaye Smith of Wunderman.

Pangaea 1 Pangaea 2 Pangaea 3

Of those who attended the event, an astonishing (combined) 90% of attendees said that they were likely (30%) or very likely (60%) to attend another portion of the speaker series. What Kaleidoscope did was encourage a process of developing understanding, and it’s an effort that did not go unnoticed.

Looking Forward

At its best, vision can speak volumes, but through its execution AAF Illinois has captured the attention of the National American Advertising Federation. As a result, the Kaleidoscope speaker series is being made available to all members of AAF who wish to attend.

This Friday, November 14th at 3:00 PM CST, Senior Creatives at Young & Rubicam New York Lucas Oliveira and Guilherme Racz will return to continue the series on a national level. Over the course of the webinar, the two will discuss their roles, backgrounds and what it takes to be successful in the industry. This is the first of three scheduled webinars in the Kaleidoscope series.

If you’d like to attend, it only takes a moment to register:


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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