Welcome to the UK Chapter of the International Advertising Association

Welcome to the UK Chapter of the IAA

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Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

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Our commitment to action on equality, diversity, inclusion & belonging

As the UK chapter of an international, multicultural network designed to be the compass that guides the media and communications industry, the IAA UK promotes, supports and celebrates diversity. Whether from the evidence of our own eyes, or the data provided by companies such as McKinsey & Company, we know diverse teams win. Organisations with a truly inclusive culture and a varied mix of talent, experiences and perceptions are inevitably the most innovative and impactful.

Recent events have again underlined the ongoing bias within our industry, and made us realise we need to do more to ensure we are adopting systemic, business-led approaches to inclusion and diversity regarding all underrepresented groups, but particularly the BAME community. We, as the IAA UK, commit to change; it is not enough simply to pay lip service to diversity and inclusion, there needs to be direct action behind the discourse and a commitment to intentional improvements that make a tangible difference. 

That is why, alongside committing to the Creative Equals initiative, we are outlining below our own actionable diversity and inclusion framework with clear and verifiable objectives, based on the three key pillars.

We do, however, understand that this framework is only an initial starting point, focused on short-term actions. We must come together as an industry to fundamentally change our approach to diversity and inclusion, so our long-term commitment is to continually review and evolve these actions, working with our members, partners and peers to ensure they are uniformly implemented.

IAA UK’s framework for change: 

Pillar 1: Grassroots talent outreach 

Objective: We will support diversity of talent entering the industry and will extend our outreach to a wider representation of educational establishments. 

Action: As an example, we are partnering with Brixton Finishing School (BFS) and a variety of media companies to support its ten-week digital media course for students from underrepresented  groups. Two graduates of the BFS course will be offered places on IAA UK’s PAC course free of charge, and it is also our intention to introduce an internship programme with IAA UK for one person from the graduating class at BFS.

Pillar 2: Ongoing career support

Objective: The IAA UK supports media professionals throughout their careers, and we will deliver specific provision for diverse talent, as well as raising awareness of diversity and inclusion issues to enable peers to become allies and activists. 

Action: We will ensure there is BAME and diverse representation on all our committees and in all our networks. We will develop a Diversity Inclusion Belonging (DIBs) steering committee to not only provide specific events and resources that will support ongoing career progression, but also to make sure DIBs is at the heart of everything we do and supports all underrepresented groups. This is already part of our existing programme and we will continue to expand on the agenda of recent activity including: 

  • A session for parents on home schooling neurodiverse children
  • A panel on closing the gender pay gap
  • An event around recognising unconscious bias
  • An online panel discussion entitled ‘IAA Voices’, with panellists sharing their own stories on diversity in business; the challenges they overcame and the successes they achieved.

Pillar 3: Representation at senior level

Objective: Embedding inclusion and diversity into the fabric of an organisation requires representation at all levels, especially in senior and leadership positions, and we acknowledge that, while we have gender balance, we need to actively increase diversity within the IAA UK board, and encourage this in businesses throughout the industry.

Action: We welcome our new VP of Diversity Inclusion Belonging, Fou Brown, Global Business Director at Mediacom, with duties including, but not limited to, overseeing the DIBs steering committee. In addition to focusing on ethnic and cultural diversity, the VP, along with the steering committee, will address other elements such as gender equality, age, neurodiversity, LGBTQ activity and socioeconomic inclusion.  

We are also recruiting for another board-level role relating to memberships and we will actively engage with the BAME community to encourage applications for both roles. 

We recognise these initial actions are just the first steps on a continual journey to create an ingrained culture of inclusivity and to promote diversity not just within our organisation but across our members, partners and peers. We will have ongoing conversations to ensure we listen and learn about the best ways to regularly review and update this framework, bringing in new, measurable actions to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the industry.    

We are committed to change in the form of direct action. We stand with the BAME community, women, the LGBTQ community, neurodiverse or disabled people, and any other groups underrepresented in the media industry, and pledge genuine, intentional change.

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