IAA | Dei

Diversity, equity, and inclusion matter. Excuses for ignoring diversity, equity, and inclusion in advertising are ringing hollow as consumers are crying out for brands and organizations to do better.

It is said that ‘Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance’. No one wants to be invited to a party as a spectator. Such a ‘guest’ would rather stay at home. So, I just want to encourage everyone – brands, marketers, politicians – not to make half-hearted attempts at diversity. Let’s go the whole hog and push for proper inclusion. That’s when we can truly harness all the benefits.

Joel Edmund Nettey,

President and World Chairman of International Advertising Association (IAA)

The International Advertising Association Global Diversity & Inclusion Council (DE&I) aims to help brands and individuals make positive change in the diversity, equity, and inclusivity space. Our mission is twofold:

  • 1) To become the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive association in the MARCOM industry; and
  • 2) To serve as inspiration in diversity, equity, and inclusion for our members and partners.

This includes diversity, equity, and inclusion in areas such as race, religion, gender, age, sexual identity and sexual orientation, ability, and more.

“When diversity, equity and inclusion become part of the DNA of an organization’s marketing and communications strategy, campaigns are not just ticking boxes; but they can have a profound and positive effect on the bottom line. Beyond making commercial sense, it is also the ethical and right thing to do. Consumers connect with marketers who make the effort to win hearts and minds and going beyond the transactional relationship.”

Sheba Nandkeolyar,

Global Vice President – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at IAA Global and Chair of DE&I Council, IAA Global

“At IAA we see diversity as our strategic advantage not as a duty to fulfill. We believe in diversity, equity & inclusion being the key drivers of creativity, collaboration and innovation. And, given today's digital transformation of the marketing and advertising industry, we need a wider range of creative resources to respond to constantly evolving consumer behaviors. Without diversity we can't deliver bold and innovative ideas and build high value brands. So, at IAA we see DE&I as our secret recipe for staying relevant.”

Dagmara Szulce,

International Advertising Association Global Executive Director

We are proud to launch the IAA North Star campaign. As The Global Compass of Marketing Communications, we will help the communication industry navigate the implementation of the North Star values in their own company cultures. We will help them navigate by the Star. And like any real compass it will point us in the right direction. The North Star campaign captures the values of creativity, advocacy, education, collaboration, professional development, diversity, equity and inclusion, which will be our guide to transforming the marketing and communications industry into a more creative, innovative and inclusive industry.

Come One. Come All.

Andres Hernandez

Being a creative in New York City is something I always dreamed of while growing up in Colombia. As with any dream, however, it was not easy to achieve, but well worth the struggle. The Photography industry here overflows with talented artists from all over the world, which is what makes New York City so unique. As an immigrant from Latin America who faced all of the difficulties associated with being the first generation to come here, it has definitely been a challenge to try and rise through the ranks, but I know that I bring my individuality to the craft as do so many others. Diversity in the creative community is the magic that breeds new ideas. When I heard about the IAA campaign and its goal to promote diversity in the creative sector, not only did I identify with it, but also saw it as an opportunity to give back.

While having a conversation with Dagmara Szulce in a cab crossing New York City one day, we realized that we could join forces as like-minded individuals in creating the IAA campaign. As she told me about the purpose behind this new project, it quickly resonated with me and I jumped at the opportunity of working on something I’m truly passionate about. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to shoot with so many extraordinary professionals.

“Having lived and worked across the globe my entire life, my experience has taught me that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Being open to people from all walks of life creates opportunity beyond our wildest imagination. Our only obstacle is our own lack of vision and the ability to see beyond ourselves.”

Carol Schuster

Business Information and Technology Advisor at Lafayette 148

“Creativity and innovation, fueled by DE&I, are the currency that cultivate the perceptions and actions of the people we will serve today and in the future. As our industry continues to shape our culture, we therefore must reflect, empower and accurately represent the increasingly diverse communities we serve.”

Adrian Adaramoye

Global Partnership Lead, Facebook

“Diversity is the strongest source of creativity and growth”

Ameneh Atai

GM of Commercial Strategy, Nielsen

“Identity and cultural affiliations are often steering how people live their lives and interact with brands; however, 72% say most advertising doesn’t represent the world around them. Consumers want to see advertising that reflects more diversity because their roots and heritage are more important today than ever before. And the events over the last year have reminded us about continued disparities and underrepresentation in our society. According to our research, 80% agree how businesses express themselves after these events, such as the Racial Justice Movement, will permanently affect buying decisions.


Diversity and cultural relevance in advertising is proven to lift consumer actions -- consumers are more likely to learn additional information about a brand, more likely to recommend and more likely to repurchase when cultural insight is at its highest. That is why Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing is more important than ever. It is the intentional practice that helps us make informed brand decisions that – in aggregate – positively reflect the diversity of the world around us. Understanding the diverse mosaic of our consumers, creating ads that culturally resonate and then aligning with culture-forward content is the ultimate combination that leads to higher brand relevance and ultimately better business.”

Sarah Carberry

Head of US Multicultural Strategy & Sales, Google

"As someone who is left-brained, pondering 'how diversity drives creativity' was quite a challenge for me. Creativity is often attributed to the arts and imagination, whereas my thoughts are mainly founded in analysis and facts. It wasn't until I looked inward and examined how even my own personal identities, as both a veteran and LGBTQ+, allow me to navigate challenges that require an objective solution. From data storytelling to ensuring a company's policies lead with inclusion, diversity of experiences and identities unlocks the ability for multiple voices to be heard, a necessity when authoring terms and conditions to a global audience."

Anna Valenza

NA Advertising Policy Manager, TikTok

The key to unlocking the power of diversity, equity and inclusion starts with improving one’s understanding about diversity, equity and inclusion issues and how you can implement them in practice. Whether it is a matter of hiring candidates from diverse or multicultural backgrounds, ensuring safe and non-discriminatory work environments, or fostering equal representation in the advertising industry, diversity and inclusion is relevant in different contexts. Below is a curated collection of diversity, equity and inclusion best practice resources to help you understand the issues and use these best practice tools to positively impact our workplace by making it more diverse and inclusive.

No one deserves to be treated unfairly based on the colour of their skin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability and more. Many minority groups often face discrimination and are marginalised in the workplace. Inclusion is important to make everyone feel valued and acknowledge how their differences contribute to the organisation. At IAA, we are dedicated to uplifting the voices of employees of diverse backgrounds and helping them feel safe and empowered in the workplace.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in communications contributes to higher levels of trust and loyalty when marketers take the time to meaningfully understand diverse customer groups in greater depth and drive inclusive representation. They represent strategic and competitive advantages which are not only essential to the bottom line of brands, but indicate the willingness of brands to go further and reflect the values and/or cultural beliefs of their customers. IAA seeks to empower brands to adopt diversity, equity and inclusion and leverage them to truly resonate with diverse audiences while obtaining a higher ROI.

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