ADCOLOR exists to establish a community of diverse professionals to support and celebrate one another. Every year, those diverse professionals attend a conference full of the brightest, diverse and innovative minds in the industry. This year, a total of nine GSD&M employees attended, and they returned with meaningful, game-changing insights and inspiration. Along with our attendance, we were an incredibly proud sponsor and as such, wanted to create something as a little reminder of the change we have the power to make. These pins were sent home with every attendee:


I caught up with the folks who attended to see what they learned, so I’ll let the people at the forefront of diversity and inclusion do the talking.

How can the ad industry influence and inspire more work toward diversity in other industries and beyond?

  • Cara Maschler, account director: Our best efforts are those that strive for as many diverse voices as there are in the world. When we partner with related industries, it’s plain to see that a great idea can truly be cultivated from anywhere.
  • Max Rutherford, vendor diversity director: It is imperative to champion diversity and inclusion at our respective agencies and in work we do on behalf of our clients. It has to create an inclusive environment that embraces talent with diverse perspectives in order to deliver more groundbreaking solutions for clients.
  • Eric Knittel, associate creative director: The biggest thing the ad industry could do is lead by example. We are expert communicators, and we haven’t found a way to really start the conversation about unconscious bias.
  • Laura Guardalabene, designer: Advertising has a huge subconscious influence over the general population. The more we can reflect the diverse culture that is America, the more empathy we can create for disenfranchised communities.
  • Monica Vicens, strategy director: There is a great opportunity for us to educate our clients and push the envelope (ours and theirs) to embrace the people, lifestyles and attitudes that will drive brand growth.

What was your personal most important takeaway from ADCOLOR?

  • Ana Leen, account director: Rising stars in an organization are chosen by the leaders around them. If we want more diversity in leadership positions, we need to create the scaffolding for them to get there.
  • Kirya Francis, VP solutions/decision sciences: It is important not to leave your voice and experience at the door—it is critical in making better work for our clients as well as a better workplace. In general, the ad industry excels in branding diversity, but we have a little ways to go when it comes to embracing workforce and vendor diversity.
  • Shannon Moorman, VP talent acquisition: It’s incumbent upon us in the business to highlight the wins, the good and the bad, and create platforms of communication to galvanize the racial divide across this nation.
  • Candi Clem, analytics manager: ADCOLOR taught me a lesson that I will forever cherish: I am never alone. I have a tribe of brilliant, beautiful, diverse people who have my back. Even when I’m the only person in the room that looks like me, there are a legion of others with me in spirit. I don’t have to fight this fight on my own.


This industry has the power to cultivate change—and it must start where the work happens. These conversations must continue to take place inside and outside of agencies and brands, and although we have a ways to go, we should be incredibly proud and excited to have minds like these fighting for diversity in our industry.

Until next year, ADCOLOR. Here’s to progress.

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