A group of black creative strategists has launched an initiative to encourage greater diversity within the strategy profession.
BlackStrat describes itself as a “members collective and community of creative black strategists” who “exist to uplift black people interested and working in strategy – today and for future generations”.
It began as an informal WhatsApp group more than a year ago but has grown to include more than 100 members around the world in countries such as the UK, US, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Ayo Fagbemi, strategist at Mother and co-founder of creative studio Play Nice, started the group when he was a strategist at Wieden & Kennedy London. While working on campaigns such as Nike’s Women’s World Cup ad, he realised the adage that “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it”, he told Campaign.
Fagbemi joined the ad industry as part of The Kennedys, Wieden & Kennedy’s creative incubator programme to discover new talent. In the years since, he has observed an industry with strategy departments that are often “closed off and elitist”, he said.
BlackStrat is launching a mentorship scheme with the organisation Mentor Black Business to bring more diverse talent into strategy. People can apply to be mentors or mentees.
The group also plans to host a series of talks featuring speakers including We Are Pi strategist Paris Bethel, McCann London head of strategy Rob Scotland and others.
Fagbemi said: “I started this group last year after working on a project where we were talking about the fact that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. At that moment I thought to myself, I don’t know any strategists at a senior level that looked like me.
“The aim is for this group to be more visible to encourage more black strategists to join a discipline that we all know can be very closed off and elitist. We can’t wait to open some doors for people and showcase the amazing talent we have in our group.”