ThinkLA's DIG Committee was proud to participate in an event that inspired African American high school students from across Los Angeles titled "Black Excellence Expo: Elevate your Mind."
The event was a combined effort from 18 committed, LA area schools, with panelists across many different fields: doctors, lawyers, advertisers, athletes, activists, fashion and entertainment industries. The keynote speaker was Robert Townsend, actor, comedian, director, and writer, and CEO of Townsend Entertainment.
The ongoing theme throughout the event was staying true to who you are, embracing your true self, and overall ethnic pride. Each speaker shared their personal journey and different struggles along their career path that have led them to where there are today.
Samantha Hawkins, Supervisor, Community Management at RPA, and DIG committee member, spoke on a panel about the importance of public service and had these takeaways from the event:
"I may not be in public service per se, but as advertisers we have a responsibility to produce work that is inclusive and represents the diversity of the people we reach with our ads every day. Advertising is everywhere. People like my fellow panelists are not represented in mainstream advertising, and we can change that so young people are accustomed to seeing people that look like them depicted in positions of power and influence in our marketing. So they know those types of careers and lifestyles are not just held exclusively for a certain type of person who looks a certain way, but that they too have the potential to achieve what they want in life. The best way of ensuring that shift, is to hire more people of color and with diverse backgrounds into roles in advertising and marketing."
- African Americans are going to have to work harder. Factor that into the equation and prepare for it."
- "When they doubt your ability, use that as fuel to your flame: Prove them wrong, and get used to doing that again and again." - Mel Carlisle, Managing Director, Oaktree Capital Management
- Everyone applying wants the job, but who has a passion for it? Stand out from the competition by being able to articulate why you love it.
- Connect with real people outside of your job. Do things that put you in contact with the real world not just to round out your résumé, but to keep you grounded and rooted in helping others.