Diversity and the Rosoff Awards in Ad Age, as written by Andrew Graff

  • 15 May 2009 1:48 PM
    Message # 174524

    Diversity efforts need to aim younger

    Click Here to view the article on the AdvertisingAge website.

    Dan Wieden's swerve to talk diversity instead of his planned presentation at the Four A's Leadership Conference took the audience by surprise. It was a good surprise. And it was a challenge we all needed to hear. Like Dan, I have not frequented the annual conference, although not for the same reasons. I was glad that I took the time and funds to attend the conference this year.

    I was heartened to realize, that, like Dan Wieden, I am with an organization that is making strides on diversity in our industry.

    For the past 13 years, the Boston Ad Club has recognized workplace diversity via the Rosoff Awards. This year we upped the ante. Partnering with corporations and universities, we gave $100,000 worth of scholarships to Boston high-school students. We don't just write a check and send them on their way. By capturing their interest in advertising at a young age (high school vs. college) and assigning them a mentor in the industry to keep them on track, we are working to cultivate diversity. Marketing mentors from agencies and the client side will check in throughout a scholarship recipient's college career to help him navigate the world of internships and, hopefully, the first job of many in our field.

    While attendance is down at many industry events because of the economy, we had double the attendance at this year's Rosoff Awards. We also have a commitment from a major corporation to help fund our effort and implement a training program.

    As Arnold Rosoff (the founder of Arnold) said at the Rosoff Awards this year to Kathy Kiely (president of the Ad Club) -- and I'm paraphrasing -- it is too bad that we still need to do this.

    But we do.

    Andrew Graff
    Chairman, Ad Club of Boston
    CEO, Allen & Gerritsen

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