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GSD&M launches new DE&I initiative for the advertising industry—&: A guide to better work through diversity, equity and inclusion

GSD&M launches new DE&I initiative for the advertising industry. 

“&” is an online guide to creating better work through diversity, equity and inclusion.

Austin-based, full-service advertising agency, GSD&M, has announced their latest DE&I initiative with the launch of a new industry online guide: &: A GUIDE TO BETTER WORK THROUGH DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION. This site is intended to increase DE&I understanding and awareness as the advertising industry continues its commitment to making progress. 

Originally intended as a resource for the GSD&M team, the agency recognized the power in sharing and how impactful the guide could be not only for their clients but also for other agencies.

“As an agency, we understand that real change takes work,” said Keisha Townsend Taitt, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “At GSD&M, we have a long history of using our talents for good, and this is our way to continue bringing about change within the advertising industry and beyond.”

More than a year in the making, the idea was sparked by two creatives, Leigh Browne and Laura Canzano, who wanted to strengthen GSD&M’s ongoing efforts to shape culture in a positive and meaningful way. What started as simple guidance for casting and production quickly developed into a comprehensive guide that covers a range of topics like defining DE&I, the importance of language, working with clients, reaching diverse audiences, working better together, building diverse teams, and more.

GSD&M employees were encouraged to participate in the creation of the site and were all given an opportunity to read, comment, and contribute.

This site continues the DE&I efforts already in place at GSD&M, including employee-led groups that give people a chance to build stronger bonds within the GSD&M community and take an active role in raising awareness on relevant issues to foster a more inclusive environment.

The all-encompassing guide includes the following call to action items for the industry:

  • Think Before You Speak—Ask if you want to confirm how someone would like to be identified and use inclusive language to create a space where everyone feels welcome and safe. 
  • Make DE&I an Ongoing Conversation With Clients—Use research and insights, share examples, pressure test the work and brand actions to make sure you’re being authentic.
  • Bake DE&I Into the Work From Start to Finish—From the brief to the media buy to the casting and vendor selection process, make sure the team is making decisions and creating through the lens of DE&I.
  • Be Aware of Common Biases in Hiring—And work to overcome them so you can build more diverse teams.
  • Increase Your Cultural Fluency—Take opportunities to learn from communities and people who are not just like you. Spend your free time diving into the resources provided within the guide.
  • Keep Raising the Bar with Supplier Diversity—Understand the positive impact of hiring diverse photographers, directors, editors, storyboard artists, voice-over talent and crew members can have on the work.

About GSD&M

GSD&M has been building iconic brands for 50 years. Headquartered in the music-loving, tech-driven, creative hub that is Austin, Texas, we exist to create ideas that make a difference by cultivating First & Only ideas—ideas that are the first of their kind for the only brands that can pull them off. Our culture is restless, our people are curious and our ideas are our currency. For more information, visit GSDM.com.

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