ColorComm, an organization that promotes the advancement of women in marketing and communications, is bringing men into the fold. On Jan. 26, it launches Men of Color in Communications, an initiative it hopes can replicate ColorComm’s success with another underrepresented group in the industry.
"This is an industry dominated by women, and at the top are men not of color, "said ColorComm founder Lauren Wesley Wilson. "We’re really focusing on bringing men together to advance the visibility of men working in the space and to hear some of the stories of the men of color in leadership."
The inaugural event is a luncheon—ColorComm kicked off the same way seven years ago—at Charlie Palmer Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., featuring a keynote address from Arthur Collins, founder and managing partner of theGroup, a communications firm in DC. Future luncheons are planned for New York City, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities.
MCC will facilitate conversations about the issues people of color and men of color face while working at ad agencies, public relations firms and in communications departments at brands: "Where is the disconnect from advancement?" Wilson said. "What are we doing wrong? What are we doing right? How do we grow? How do we learn those things?"
It will also pressure companies to act rather than simply offer platitudes. "Those companies who are very serious about diversifying their team lead to better business practices. I think there are other companies who want to check the box, but when it comes down to it, a lot of people don't want to spend money to do so," Wilson noted.
To that end, MCC will function as a networking hub for men in the industry and highlight the achievements of people who have traditionally been overlooked. "The same group of men often are being honored for awards. It's like the same five people," Wilson said. "So who else is out there?"
MCC will also offer a centralized location for companies looking to improve their hiring pipelines, rather than relying on established personal relationships that can exclude people of color. "You have to be a little bit more creative if you want to target various positions for people of color. And we always push back and say, ‘Okay, well we have access to more than 40,000 people of color that you can't find."