Born from the conflicts and hardships 2020 has wrought upon people, communities, and brands alike, were opportunities to be open to growth and be vulnerable. We weren’t limited by our makeshift desks and laptop cameras that we previously covered to ensure Big Brother wasn’t spying on us. Rather, we leveraged the sociopolitical context to ask the tough questions, enrich ourselves, and inspire change.
Ad 2 Dallas developed three (that’s right, three) unique, virtual spaces every other week. At each event, we invited industry professionals and academics to speak on behalf of their work and fields, respectively. Throughout this 6-week period, our Level Up events were based on:
- The tumultuous election cycle that burdened individuals to separate truth from fiction, forcing citizens to question one of their most basic American rights;
- The Black Lives Matter movement and civil unrest encouraging people and businesses alike to reflect on race, diversity, equity, and inclusion; and
- The rocky economy and shrunken job market.
Level Up Your Vote
Event Details: Voting advocates Cecilia Silva, North Texas Program Manager for ReflectUS, and Clark Rector, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs with the American Advertising Federation, spoke to the power of an individual’s vote and the relationship between politics, legislation, and the advertising/media industry.
Takeaways: Cecilia shared a presentation and spoke to how ReflectUS is working around the country to educate, inspire, and empower women and minorities to exert their civic muscles. The steps to do that are much easier said than done:
- Get out there and vote
- Understand the national, state, and local laws regarding your ability to vote, prerequisites, where/when to do it, and how to follow up if any concerns arise.
- It is imperative to understand the candidates and issues at hand to understand how your vote may impact one’s self, household, community, and beyond.
- Get involved and volunteer in your community
- Volunteering to join boards, nonprofits grassroots organization is an easy way to gain knowledge of the inner workings of governance
- Plus, over time, you may develop a name for yourself to better propel yourself for appointed or elected positions
- Get appointed or run for office
- There are a number of appointed leadership roles for any voting citizen to serve on. You can serve on city or state boards, helping to shape policy and advise.
- Run for office: There are many levels to running for office and the easiest way to start your career as a public servant include running for local roles. These aren’t very competitive and require minimal experience, just passion!
Clark spoke to his working with lobbyists and legislators on Capitol Hill. He mentioned that advertising is a powerful engine that helps drive the economy. As professionals in advertising, it’s important for us to be informed on how our government is voting on advertising rights and how that affects our jobs, including current hot topics such as the FCC and Internet regulation. We can join boards and participate in events like Advertising Day on the Hill to make sure our voices are heard.
Level Up Your Workplace
Event Details: Grounded in the events surrounding George Floyd’s death and calls for justice among civil rights activists in a politically charged and divisive year, Ad 2 Dallas sought to create a space for all persons from all backgrounds to sign off with insights and action items. Because there was so much talk across the nation, and even the globe, we wanted to understand how the conversation of race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and empowerment are spoken of and put into action across various industries.
We spoke with three panelists, each serving as a representative of their industry or sector. The moderator was one of Ad 2 Dallas’ very own, Executive Advisor Rick Findlay, Senior Client Success Manager at ReachLocal.
- Agency – Tina Tsang, Vice Chair of Ad 2 National
Tina currently serves as Vice Chair of the Ad 2 National Executive Board, where she mentors Ad 2 clubs around the country while working with AAF National, especially on the DE&I front. She’s worked at notable agencies such as The Richards Group, TM Advertising, BBDO, and iProspect. Tina’s expertise ranges from media planning and strategy to branding as she explores starting her own consultancy business back in her hometown of Houston.
- Academia – Karen Lindsey, PhD, Visiting Lecturer in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication – Department of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University
Dr. Lindsey is a teacher, learner, leadership consultant, executive career coach, and keynote speaker. She is called “Dr. K” by many students and has 20 years of corporate communication, higher education, media relations, and business marketing experience.
Using her doctoral research as a foundation, Dr. Lindsey is currently working on a book about identity, workplace politics and the experiences of Black women in higher education and corporate leadership.
- Nonprofit – Tres Brown, Senior Mpowerment Coordinator at DFW Fuse
Tres works with three of Resource Center’s Mpowerment programs, focusing on young same gender loving men; young same gender loving black men; and persons of trans experience. Fuse is one of the top performing Mpowerment projects in the country creating a space for young gay/bi/pan guys ages 18-35 to learn about up-to-date prevention practices while allowing them to build a community for themselves.
[(starting in upper left and moving clockwise) Rick Findlay, Moderator; Dr. Karen Lindsey; Tina Tsang; and Tres Brown]
Takeaways: DE&I in the workplace is very personal, soul-binding work. It requires a lot of self-reflection. And that is truly hard work. As many professionals have shifted to working remotely due to the pandemic, quarantine has awarded many with that time to look inward and dig deep. Before any company, organization, or body of people can tackle its issues, the individual people, employees, volunteers, consumers, and stakeholders must also partake in this first step, which is far easier said than done.
This is but the first of many steps. Tres beautifully summarized the overarching steps that people and organizations must take in order to truly change.
”You need to change the culture. We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to take the time to learn and understand what it takes to implement what needs to be done.”
Among action steps to take for oneself and working to better one’s workplace, all the panelists recommended education and unlearning. Understanding the history of marginalized people altogether, to do one’s research, and figure it out. Be courageous to connect with and learn from others.
For one’s organization – ask questions. Actively listen to your employees. Listen to the unheard. Give a voice to the voiceless.
Lastly, but certainly not least, be compassionate. Start from a place of kindness and understanding.
Level Up Your Network
Event Details: The final installment of our Level Up series culminated with a networking event geared toward college students and young professionals to help them navigate the job search and network with DFW industry professionals. Ad 2 Dallas’ Treasurer and Business Development Manager at Paladin, Shelby Smith, kicked off the event with industry tips to improve one’s resumes, portfolios, job application, and interview skills. Then, attendees broke off into small groups to connect and network with our selection of seven DFW marketing and advertising professionals. Finally, attendees were all invited for a free resume critique!
- Stephanie Murdoch, Senior Producer at The Marketing Arm
Expertise: Broadcast Production
- Crystal Gonzalez, National Sales Representative at Pandora
- Rosie Rosales, Creative Director at LERMA
- Michelle McCain, Brand Manager at The Richards Group
Expertise: Account Management and New Business
- Raul Machuca, Director of Digital Media at Texas Can Academies
Expertise: Nonprofit Branding and Digital Marketing
- Brandon Baker, Creative Supervisor at SPM Communications
Expertise: Influencer Marketing
- Kira Stearns, Strategist at Moroch
Just as you keep up with your personal hygiene, you gotta also maintain your personal brand and network. This comes down to your resume, cover letter, portfolio (if applicable), and online materials (LinkedIn, website, social media, etc.).
Keep resumes limited to one page and have at minimum, two versions. One version can be more creative and one version is more simpler and streamlined in a Word document to pass through AI application management softwares. As more companies use software to screen applicants, buzzwords come in handy. Edit your resume to include keywords from the job descriptions.
In the age of virtual working, there are added tips for virtual interviews. Ensure that you have a good connection (and consider investing in an ethernet connection…we know…so old school). Try your best to eliminate any distractions and background. And, as always, have questions prepared from having done your research. Show that you are engaged and interested in the conversation and eager to learn more.
And remember to send a thank you note. Infuse pieces of the conversations you shared with the person or use your note as an opportunity to continue part of your discussion.
Following that advice, Ad 2 Dallas’ Education Committee would like to thank AAF Dallas, Ad 2 Dallas, and all of the professionals and students who attended our Level Up Series. Our teams have sincerely enjoyed learning and growing with you – to better understand the power of our vote and how to engage in government; the need to educate ourselves first to truly inflict change in our workplaces for DE&I; and expert networking and interviewing tips to land the next gig.
Plus, we’ve particularly enjoyed making new connections and adding more members to our roster.
If you’re interested in joining the Ad 2 Dallas family and getting in on the work, supporting us and our events, or simply want to keep up with what’s going on–follow us on Instagram at @ad2dallas so we keep you in the loop!