More than 500 guests participated in ThinkLA's first virtual and 10th Annual IDEA Awards, presented by Samsung Ads! Guests networked via text and video chat during the cocktail hour, sponsored by Xandr; visited the VIP sponsor lounges for
more networking; watched the Awards Show hosted by Baron Davis; voted and danced during the DJ battle powered by after-party sponsor Tremor Video. Six lucky winners got prizes at Spotify's Resonate Challenge, and there's still
time to add your photo to the Snap Photo Mosaic!
Congratulations to the 15 award winners, and to all the finalists. Many thanks to the ThinkLA IDEA Council who planned the event, and everyone who donated and supported us to help make this venture into a new platform successful.
Latasha Gillespie -- Head of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Amazon Studios -- moderated an intense, wide-ranging dialogue in ThinkLA’s first Town Hall: A Necessary Discussion about Race on July 23, 2020. She opened the discussion with these thoughts:
The first thing we want to come to the table with is radical humility. Let’s all make space to learn.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Resist the urge to judge.
Focus on systems, not incidents.
Stop and take ownership and accountability for where we have benefitted from systemic racism, or are silent in the face of injustice.
Take responsibility with a sense of urgency about doing the work needed.
Don’t forget to breathe!
In her introduction, Latasha reminded us of several key points to consider:
We need to be intentional about the words we use. When we say “racism” and “white supremacy,” we are talking about systems and structures that are as old as our country; systems that seek homeostasis unless they are dismantled. How do we begin to dismantle these systems?
We are now facing a pandemic of COVID 19, which disproportionately affects black and brown people. There is a second pandemic - the callous murders of many people of color. It’s disheartening that it has taken black bodies to incite real change, and hopeful.
This is a worldwide movement and is occurring throughout many industries. While we may not agree on all of the changes, we can all agree that this is a time for structural change leading to access to wealth, mental and physical health in black and brown communities. There needs to be equitable awards, promotions, and contracts, as well as reconciliation for the generations of harm to Black, Latinx, and Asian communities, among others.
How do we educate ourselves and take action? We are not talking about hashtags and black squares. How are organizations aligning their purses with their purpose?
How can we take this beyond Town Halls into measurable action? How do we disrupt anti-black racist systems?
It’s OK to ask people how they are doing – ask everyone! You don’t know who they are married to, what their ancestry is.
Create Juneteenth as an annual day of reflection.
Michaela – rather than having leadership share their perspective, we opened up the agenda for everyone to submit how they felt and then created a video. No participants were black – their feedback was that this didn’t help them. Then we listened. What do they need? Based on their responses we developed our commitments: agency audit, make sure our work accurately reflects black culture, provide mentoring and coaching, ensure we are working with black-owned vendors, created days off annually for Juneteenth and election day.
ConCreates offers a unique, and often overlooked, perspective on creative.
When you say diverse, be specific, be intentional: “We don’t have a track record of getting women in senior positions.” “We have customers with a variety of lived experiences. They are not reflected in our team.” Speed bump to ensure you get more people in the funnel.
Improve the interview process. Include women, men, company divisions, racial backgrounds for diverse perspectives. Don’t bring a homogenous candidate slate.
The same thing is true with marketing. Don’t create a campaign for a group and not include people from that group on the team.
Amanda - Mind-shift change. Make sure you include diversity. Cultural ADD vs. Cultural fit.
Include different generations. Mutual mentorship.
Dani – we lead with culture; had to look at pay equity. Even as a multicultural agency we can still get it wrong. We checked the boxes but can still get it wrong.
What are you doing to make room for people?
Include fresh voices – not just young people. Are you looking at people from a youth standpoint, or only those with “experience”? What are the fungible skills? Include non-advertising backgrounds.
Apprenti offers paid apprenticeships to candidates who have taken a non-traditional educational or career path.
Employee surveys – what are you doing with that data to assess your culture from an inclusion standpoint? If you are only setting goals and looking at inputs without looking at outcomes, you still have a problem.
The benefit of an employee survey with an inclusion index is to be able to dig into the data and see if people are having equitable experiences. Identify discrepancies to get to the root of the issue and change the system and structure. Use it to inform hiring, promotions. You can set aggressive input goals – you also need to set outcome goals.
Exercise: Write down 10 people closest to you who are not related. Put a check next to their name if they were:
Born in the same country
Are the same ethnic group
Have the same education level
Have the same Religious beliefs
Marital status is the same
Have or don’t have children
For most of us it’s the same. Our “Trusted 10.” We are tribal people, and when we hire people, we tend to go to that box. Go to people outside of that box.
The 4A’s is conducting a Diversity Data Survey that closes 7/24, if you’d like to contribute to industry research:
Remember that systems and structures are seeking homeostasis; we need to disrupt them!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Last week, ThinkLA joined sister marketing organizations across the West from San Francisco, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Seattle to hear top brands and agencies share how they are working with partners to create smart, sensitive marketing in extraordinary times. The conversation was honest, practical, and inspiring. If you missed it, you can see the replay here.
Our Holiday Party has become a long-standing tradition. The theme may change, but the Marines are a constant! More than 600 attendees with arms full of toys came to enjoy great music, along with cocktails and delicious food, and the opportunity to socialize with key industry colleagues. Together we collected over 1,000 toys for Toys for Tots!
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Thursday, October 24, 2019
Attendees at our ELC Live! event enjoyed a great conversation around paths to the WeSuite! Major thanks to Canvas for hosting us, and thanks to our brilliant panelists:
Pete Favat, North American Chief Creative Officer, Deutsch
Shanique Bonelli-Moore, Executive Director of Inclusion, United Talent Agency
Varuni Palacios, Head of Growth, Miss Grass
Robyn Stern, Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi
Aaron Walton, CEO, Walton Isaacson
Moderator: Lauren Curtis, VP of Integrated Strategy, Edelman
The audience was engaged in conversation with L.A.’s top executives who are navigating the responsibility of allyship and inclusion in the marketing and advertising industry. These inspirational leaders shared their origin, insights, and key lessons on what it means to be allies in the workplace today. It was an amazing night full of mentorship, important discussion, empowerment, and connection. Together we can build a stronger culture of inclusion.
Be brave. Get comfortable being in the uncomfortable.
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Monday, October 21, 2019
What a great day of volunteering at the LA Regional Food Bank in Commerce! The ThinkLA community joined forces with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank as a community of LA-based advertising, marketing and technology professionals to help provide food for thousands in need in the greater-LA area.
Thanks to the awesomevolunteers, we made 3,696 meal kits for children and seniors in the LA area!
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
The ThinkLA Gaming Breakfast brought together industry professionals and thought leaders discussing how the landscape has changed, which opportunities make the most sense for brands, the rise of the “gaming influencer”, diversity within game development, and a glimpse into the future of gaming. Attendees left with everything they needed to know to make the right business decisions across the gaming spectrum, and be prepared for what comes next.
Paola Alejandra, Esports Host/Reporter and Gaming, Influencer
Gustavo Alvarado, Senior Director, Global Media, Activision
David Bloom, Senior Contributor, Forbes
Mark Egan, Managing Director, West Coast, Mediacom
Tyler Enders, CEO/Founder, Esports Arena
Brian Fisher, Co-Founder, The Warp Zone
Scott Koenigsberg, SVP, Central Product Management
Joshua Ovenshire, Talent, The Jovenshire
Mario Pacini, VP and GM, Tech/Entertainment. Walmart.com
Aria Safar, Liaison,Tech and Gaming Industries, City of Los Angeles
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019
AdJam: Adstock Like... wow. What a flashback. AdJam 2019 celebrated the songs and artists of Woodstock, and the vibe wasn't just for hippies. What a turnout! Creatives, execs, and even Accounting came together in sweet, sweet harmonies for a night of groovy, toe-tapping, jaw-dropping shreds from the very best L.A. agency bands. Let's give it up for the bands, who were all totally far out and certainly made the judges work!
Congratulations to our winners Midnight Oil and Reprise Digital/UM! They went home with the coveted AdJam Axe again, courtesy of Fender Musical Instruments.
Thank you so much to all who attended and cheered for their favorite rock stars!
What an event this was! The speakers, the panels, the incredible amount of information offered to our 300+ attendees.
ThinkLA's Cannabis Marketing 2019: From Bud to Bloom provided the SoCal advertising community the latest information about the dynamic cannabis industry. With the legalization of hemp in 2018 and overall increasing acceptance, the cannabis market represents a huge opportunity for advertisers, agencies, and the marketing/media community; and California is leading the way.
Brand marketers, publishers, agency professionals, and ad tech executives learned about the latest industry rules and regulations, how this is impacting wellness, what's working and what's not working for marketers, and how brands are building new, innovative marketing programs.
We had a great day of insight and information. Thank you for being there, and thank you to our speakers and sponsors!
Jim Baudino, President, MERRY JANE Media
Kerrigan Behrens, CEO, Sagely Natural
Matt Barnes, SWISH
Luis Camano, Chief Creative Officer, Key Activations
David H. Dancer, Chief Marketing Officer
Eugenio Garcia, CEO, Cannabis Now
Shawn Gold, CEO, Pilgrim Soul
Laurel Gregory, Creative Director, The Hybrid Creative
ThinkLA brought The Hamptons to Malibu! Our guests spent an all-white night under the stars with L.A.’s brightest media, marketing, and advertising professionals. ThinkLA's Summer Soirée Hamptons White Party was the party of the summer with live music and dancing, cocktails, and a variety of cuisines. We had a great time at the Bel-Air Bay Club, and everyone was dressed to impress!