Creative Equals launches six-month BAME leadership 'boot camp'

Creative Equals panel includes: Lengthorn, Sarpong, Robinson, Siddiqi, Davis, Alder, Abbassi, Amoah, Myers-Lamptey, Beale, Matadeen, Turner, Carter, Robb, Hutchison, Patel, Santos Farhat
Creative Equals panel includes: Lengthorn, Sarpong, Robinson, Siddiqi, Davis, Alder, Abbassi, Amoah, Myers-Lamptey, Beale, Matadeen, Turner, Carter, Robb, Hutchison, Patel, Santos Farhat

'The make-up of leadership in the industry doesn't reflect either consumers or society in general and that is a big challenge for the bottom line.'

Creative Equals is launching its first-ever programme focused on getting more black, Asian and minority-ethnic people into positions of leadership – as it warns the IPA will fall short of its 2020 diversity targets.

Lydia Amoah, learning and cross-cultural director at Creative Equals, told Campaign that the IPA would not hit its five-year diversity target of achieving at least 15% of non-white people in leadership positions by 2020. 

IPA research found that only 5.5% of adland's C-suite, and just 13.8% of all employees, come from a BAME background – and five years ago it set a target to increase those figures. Currently, these figures show that 97% of the industry’s advertising and media chief executives are white.

People from multicultural backgrounds feel ads do not cater to them

At the same time, separate research, The Black Pound, has shown that 66% of BAME people feel dissatisfied with the current ethnic representation in TV ads, Amoah said, compounding the need for committed change.

Launching in February, the scheme, called Accelerate, will offer training to 30 senior BAME/multicultural employees who are on the path to leadership. The initiative comprises six sessions over six months, on topics including how to "harness untapped power", how to get what you want and overcoming barriers and bias. 

The sessions will be delivered by top figures in their field, including Unilever chief diversity and inclusion officer Aline Santos, BBC diversity director June Sarpong and Spotify UK head of sales Rak Patel, among others, and aim to give people the skills to excel. 

The scheme will be supported by an advisory panel of 17 industry executives from companies including the BBC, Campaign, DazedMediaCom, News UK, Oystercatchers, Spotify and Wavemaker.

Young BAME people are being put off this industry 

The 30 participants will then share their learnings with 60 rising stars at the next phase of the programme, creating, according to Creative Equals, "a movement of 90 people".

"Employees from multicultural backgrounds are prohibited from having any kind of real promotion and moving up the career ladder. We have 3% of CEOs from multicultural backgrounds – that's quite startling because the industry has done so many programmes," Amoah told Campaign.

"It seems that people from multicultural backgrounds have to double-arm themselves psychologically to get ahead in the industry, because they're facing certain biases that maybe someone from a caucasian background won't have to face as much. 

"Someone – he was mixed-race – said to me after a talk [I did] the other day: 'Young people like me don't even want to enter the industry.' They're thinking: why should I? Is there a place for me?" The Accelerate programme, Amoah explained, is designed to help shift that perception and make a change.

Applications to the scheme are now open and close on 13 January. People of all races and genders are invited to apply.

The full advisory panel comprises: 

Sereena Abbassi, worldwide head of culture and inclusion, M&C Saatchi
Reeha Alder, employee experience director, AmazeRealise
Lydia Amoah, author of Black Pound Report and cross-cultural Director, Creative Equals
Claire Beale, global editor of Campaign
Dominic Carter, group chief commercial officer, News UK
Ete Davis, CEO of creative, Engine
Aline Santos Farhat, global EVP of marketing and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Unilever
Paul Hutchison, chief executive officer, Wavemaker UK
Nancy Lengthorn, managing partner and head of diversity, inclusion and future talent, MediaCom
Priya Matadeen, general manager, Dazed and Confused
Dino Myers-Lamptey, co-Founder TBS
Rak Patel, head of sales UK, Spotify
Nishma Robb, marketing director, Google UK
Richard Robinson, managing partner, Oystercatchers
June Sarpong MBE, diversity director, BBC
Leila Siddiqi, head of diversity, IPA
Mimi Turner, founder, Mimi Turner Associates

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free