There is a noticeable lack of black women in our industry. In fact, according to a 2018 report card from the Institute of Communications Agencies, only 2.9% of the Canadian advertising industry identifies as black. As leaders in the industry, it’s our responsibility to not only shine a spotlight on the imbalance, but also to be part of the solution as we move forward.
On February 27, in honour of Black History Month and International Women’s Day, McCann Toronto hosted “Your Work Goes Here: A Networking Event for Black Women”. Designed for black women in advertising and marketing programs or those interested in learning more about the industry, “Your Work Goes Here” provided students, industry professionals and clients with an opportunity to connect with and learn from more than a dozen black female professionals in our industry, ranging from junior copywriters to executives.
Alyssa Dominique, McCann account supervisor and co-creator of the event, explained the reason for the event. “Often I look around the office or I go to a conference and there are 250 people in the room – and I’m the only black person. Or, if there are other black people, they’re all men,” she says. “I want to be a part of changing that.”
“The intent with ‘Your Work Goes Here’ is to help position marketing and advertising as a viable career choice for young black women. I’ve been trying to be mindful of how I extend a hand to black women and let them know there is a space for them here.”
The event grew out of an initiative, called “Women of Worldgroup” (WOW), spearheaded by Kristie Baxter, our VP of Operations. A monthly gathering of women within the McCann Worldgroup family, WOW was established last fall with a stated ambition of retaining, grooming and supporting women within the network.