I was thinking about my previous entry about the state of the ad industry and I recalled a very interesting interview from AdAge.com a couple years ago with two African-American ad executives from different generations.
Doug Alligood and Erika Emeruwa were both ad execs with BBDO in March, 2007 at the time of the article.
They were 73 and 27 respectively at the time the article was written.
I thought it might be lend some perspective to the challenges facing the ad industry to look at their perspectives to lend some insight into how we can better understand the kinds of steps the leaders of this industry might consider to not only bring some balance to the ranks of Madison Avenue; but to get a sense of how difficult it is for people of color to feel comfortable about choosing to work in such an industry.
It's a good surface look at what it's like to be black in the advertising world.
Doug Alligood was at BBDO in the early 60's, almost unheard of at the time. In that respect he is something of a pioneer in the industry - a black man who found success and a career working in an industry that is today, almost exclusively white.
Erika Emeruwa is bright, confident graduate of George Washington University, a young woman raised in circumstances very similar to my own - an environment in which she was usually "the only black person in the class" and I know what that is like having been raised in the suburbs of Bethesda, MD.
Their 2007 interview in AdAge.com (written by Lisa Sanders) is an interesting and I think objective look from the perspectives of two African-Americans with middle class upbringings who simply had a passion to work in the ad industry...and succeeded. It's worth a look.
Looking at ways to encourage diversity within the ad industry.