How do we do better?
I think it's telling that for many companies, the only "diversity" they have on their executive teams is the diversity officer.
I think it's weird that companies change their logos for one month of the year but don't do any outreach, training, or strategy around reaching people the other 11 months out of the year who might be different than they are.
I think it's laughable that a token female on a board or a female HR leader checks a box for most companies and they think they've put to rest the issues that all their female employees have about promotion, advancement, and equity.
In the scheme of "diversity," you could say that marketing is "lucky." Because our discipline and profession tends to attract lots of different people than other areas of tech--like say, sales, or engineering. I've actually been told in the past by a CEO "thank goodness we have marketing or else our diversity numbers would be horrible!" Actually, he was the horrible one.
But we don't get off the hook because more females, or people who are gay, or minority professionals, gravitate to marketing. That's passive, cowardly, and not intentional.
Marketing needs to be intentional. We need to lead. I know I'm a much better leader for finding people who look different than me, who have a different point of view than I do, that bring a different perspective based on who they are, not what school they attended.
It makes the team better, it makes the output richer, it makes it more fun. And I'm the first to say that I don't always hit the mark. I fall short.
But marketing is not about bland sameness. That marketing sucks and the companies that do marketing that way have long been left in the dust. Marketing is about finding that unique viewpoint and insight and driving a truck through it to take market share. Doesn't it stand to reason that by including new, fresh, and different points of view and experiences on our team that we're going to increase our odds of finding that nugget of insight that helps us all win vs. if it's all people who look the same, have the same background and same viewpoints?
I've never been a "quotas" guy--I don't intentionally think "hmm, I could use another gay person or person or color on the team to make my numbers look better." But that also allows me--and others--to hide behind the "I just hire the best person for the job" facade. Which is total bullshit--I know it and you know it too.
We need to do better. We need to be intentional. Go out and LOOK for people that don't look like you. Go to those job fairs, to those colleges, to those trade schools, to those LinkedIn groups. Don't just wait for them to come to you. Go find them and truly set the example of what it looks like when you combine diversity and excellence and watch what that unleashes.