Our world is in crisis. COVID-19 is having a widespread financial impact around the world — and it is not unique to the advertising industry. Whether we like it or not, we are seeing old norms shattered and our daily lives reimagined. But, over the past several weeks, I have been encouraged by how I have seen the industry come together, step up and recommit to keeping diversity, equity and inclusion at the center of everything we do.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, our team quickly came together to figure out how we ensure that the 4A’s MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Intern) program still happened this year. We knew it was not going to be perfect but we also knew we needed to do what we could to ensure that our 418 fellows had a program and that our agency members and partners could continue to address their diversity efforts.
In just a matter of weeks, we worked hand-in-hand with over 80+ agency members and partners to recreate a 12-week “virtual” MAIP program recognizing the current remote working challenges.
As many of you know, MAIP is the industry’s largest and longest running national diversity talent pipeline. And, in fact, this year, we are continuing to strengthen the program and enhance the experiences of all the fellows with the help of some new partners.
For the first time, the 2020 MAIP fellows will have access to an expanded network of partners including AWLearn, providing access to all of Advertising Week’s learning platform content; The One Club, partnering to help deliver portfolio reviews and training; TimesUPAdvertising, sharing insights on knowing your rights and advocating for yourself in the industry; MimConnect, a digital community for people of color to build their networks and find jobs; CultureCon NY, The Creative Collective, a community providing a brave space for multicultural creatives to collaborate, and The Boom List, a digital platform to celebrate great creative work.
Also, our long-standing partners, Google and Facebook, will be providing additional skills-based learning to supplement this year’s existing MAIP program of virtual training, agency engagement and community-based activities. This year, as we do every year, each MAIP 2020 fellow will be matched with a coach for the duration of the program with access to their selected agency and all participating agencies.
Upon completion of this year’s program, all MAIP 2020 Fellows will graduate and join the 4,000+ strong alumni community.
I am proud of what we have been able to do in such a short period of time. While the response from the industry and fellows (current and past) has been overwhelmingly supportive, we do recognize that circumstances are not ideal but we have succeeded where other industries have not — and our program remains intact.
As we go forward, the MAIP Virtual Engagement Program will ensure that MAIP will continue uninterrupted for its 47th year, honoring its legacy and those who have gone before. This year’s program will continue to provide a forum and pave the way for an incredible cohort of young, diverse creative talent to shine. The MAIP fellows are our industry’s future, and, as the current custodian, that makes me incredibly humbled and proud.