2020 has been a year of challenges – from wildfires sweeping continents to the tragic coronavirus pandemic – yet one of the greatest challenges we face is the fight for Black rights. This ongoing battle was thrust into the spotlight following the death of George Floyd at the hands of American police. This horrific event triggered a surge in hundreds of peaceful protests across the globe: Black people and Black allies demanding justice and equality.
Fuelled by this movement, we at Total Media took our stance against prejudice, vowing to look inwards and do more to combat inequality within our agency and our world of advertising. And so, the Total Media Diversity & Inclusion Council was born.
Our Council is formed of 12 passionate agency members, spanning across all our offices and including everyone from Apprentices right up to our CEO Guy Sellers, all determined to make Total Media a more inclusive and diverse place to work.
Our first step as a newly formed council was to sign up and commit to working towards the 10 areas laid out in Campaign’s Adland Charter which called for solidarity and action following the death of George Floyd. These areas include trying to widen our own circle, recognising our own prejudices, ensuring representation at all levels, and fostering and supporting an environment in which people can speak up about any racism or prejudice they’re experiencing – even if historically it might have been brushed off as ‘banter’.
Since the council’s inception in July, we have already made big steps to try and reach some of these targets. We have overhauled our recruitment process to ensure panel interviews and blind CVs, revamped our Equality Policy, and rolled out all-agency training on unconscious biases, micro aggressions, and recognising the struggles of ethnic minorities. Throughout Black History Month we also have an extensive list of events taking place such as inspirational guest speakers, further training including specific leadership courses for our Board and Associate Board, and anti-racism book and film clubs.
We know we still have a long way to go and this is not something that can be solved with quick fixes, but we hope that through our endeavours as a council, and through the support of the whole agency getting behind these initiatives, we can make Total Media a totally inclusive, diverse and accepting place to work.