Roundup: Diversity and Inclusion at Earnest

Our creativity and talent as an agency stem from having a multiethnic team from a range of backgrounds.

This is why we’re proud to champion inclusivity and diversity in our business, and why we continue to learn and grow. 

In this roundup, I’d like to share a little about some of the D&I initiatives we’ve created, what they’re all about, and the views of people who’ve taken part.

Launchpad: Getting BAME talent into marketing

In 2021 we created ‘Launchpad’, a new programme designed to support BAME marketing talent and offer an industry foundation for prospective new marketers from multicultural backgrounds.

Hosted for the first time in June, Launchpad sees us invite a number of candidates from BAME background to the Earnest HQ in London. Each candidate spends a little time with each of the teams we have here, learning the ropes and picking up small tasks to get a feel for what it is to be a B2B marketer. They’ll work with people right up the chain, giving them exposure to what goes into campaigns, strategies, client relationships, branding, creative and much more so that they can get a better idea of where their future lies in the B2B world.

We also put our candidates’ creative and strategic skills to the test by challenging them with a brief, often inspired by a client campaign we’ve carried out in the past. The brief is handed out on Monday and culminates on Friday where the candidates get the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a panel of Earnest bigwigs.

The resulting work is surprising, inspiring and exciting all at the same time. Each pitch is built on perspectives that lie just outside everyday marketing conceptual process, giving us an opportunity to step back and see the way we work with fresh new eyes.

More importantly, it gives those who are less represented in the marketing industry the chance to introduce themselves to marketing and to take their first steps out of another industry or out of university and onto a career path in B2B.

Susan Konnakkottu, Marketing Executive at Earnest, joined us through the Launchpad programme:

“Launchpad is a great initiative, especially for those who have just left university and need a foot in the marketing door. Regardless of whether you land a job or not, the week spent at Earnest really opened up our minds to the many different cogs within the marketing machine. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone and pitched a brief to the team at Earnest – a daunting, yet very rewarding, task.”
– Susan Konnakkottu, Marketing Executive at Earnest

Our next Launchpad takes place in July 2022 – if you’re interested in taking part, or if you have a friend who you think would want to get involved, drop us an email –we’d love to hear from you!

The Black History Lesson: an opportunity to learn

Each year, October is Black History Month, a celebration of black people throughout history whose contributions to society, culture and science have historically been repressed through colonialism and discrimination.

Our Innovation Executive, Sonia Marange, is the founder of the hugely successful ‘The Black History Lesson’ account on Instagram. To date, the account has over 17,000 followers and is dedicated to educating people on key topics in black culture, covering issues as diverse as blackfishing and natural black hairstyles through to the Underground Railroad and Sarah Baartman.

Throughout October, Sonia has been giving a talk each week to us on a different segment of black history, celebrating the achievements of iconic, and lesser-known, black figures. Each visionary we hear about, every story that is brought to life through the talks casts a spotlight on the discrimination that has shaped black lives over the course of centuries – and still does to this day. You can find recordings of the discussions on our YouTube channel here.

For Sonia, these lessons provide a foundation to help people understand the history of colonisation, discrimination and enslavement that is the context behind the struggles that black communities still face in the modern era. They open a dialogue that needs to be had and this is what Sonia told us:

“Teaching the Black history lessons at Earnest has been a real joy – it’s even more satisfying to see a consistent and full turn-out weekly. Hearing about the insightful conversations that are had off the back of the sessions is amazing because that’s what it’s all about: widening people’s perspectives in a way which we can all understand each other a bit better.”
– Sonia Marange, Innovation Executive at Earnest

The sessions Sonia ran for us were extremely well received and very much appreciated:

“The Black History Lessons were a much needed and eye-opening account of both the history that is too often untold in the media and schools, and perhaps more importantly why this ‘history’ isn’t just in the past – its legacy lives with us today in so many ways. I believe real change starts by us learning and understanding – we all owe Sonia a huge thanks for this.
– Chris Wilson, Managing Partner at Earnest

Off the back of our monthly black history talks, we’ve built up a list of highly recommended books, films, music and podcasts created by black artists, directors and musicians. You can find our picks here.

The Earnest D&I policy: inclusion at the heart of our business

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(Header photo: Christina on Unsplash)

Forming the backbone of our diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives is the Earnest D&I policy, a clear list of directives that govern our approach to ensuring all voices from all backgrounds have a place at our agency.

Our D&I policy sets out our beliefs for what we can do to create an inclusive and welcoming workplace for all of our employees and our clients, informed by the input of everyone we work with. With real examples to illustrate what each part of the policy refers to, this document makes clear our tolerance for all kinds of differences, and our intolerance for all forms of bigotry and hatred.

These guidelines don’t just dictate how we should behave ourselves, but also how we can stay vigilant against any form of prejudice. A diversity and inclusion approach is worth nothing if we aren’t prepared to lend our voices in support of our colleagues in the face of discrimination.

Finally, our D&I policy includes guidance on the importance of giving a voice to those who may be less confident at speaking up. At Earnest, we recognise the inherent values of creative ideas and we value the input from a diverse range of experiences to find, adapt and perfect those ideas. That’s why we always strive to lend our ears to anyone who wants to be heard.

The policy is just one part of our D&I work but we are aware that we still have work to do to build a better and more inclusive business for all. This work starts with putting foundations in place to continuously improve the way we approach diversity, understanding where we’re falling short and what we can do to make positive changes in our workplace.

We’re always looking for ways to find out how to further educate ourselves and ensure we’re doing right by everyone who comes into contact with our business. If you’d like to know more about what we are doing to support diversity and inclusion, or have ideas you’d like to share, we’re always happy to hear from you.

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(Header photo: Christina on Unsplash)