Madison Ave Initiative launches programs promoting diversity

The Madison Avenue Initiative (MAI), a division of the National Action Network, announced today a series of new programs designed to create more diversity in corporate and government public service marketing that will impact African American businesses, media, employment and training.

"Our goal is to create more business alliances between the corporate and government public service sectors and the many viable Black and Latino-owned agencies and media. We're seeing more opportunities for a greater share of the marketing mix," said Rev. Al Sharpton (above), founder of the National Action Network. "Another area of concern is hiring and training for Black and Latino marketing professionals and students. Establishing a process that promotes access and consideration is critical to linking qualified candidates to opportunities."

Since March, Sharpton and Madison Avenue Initiative director Munson Steed (left) have initiated communication with corporate and government executives to discuss increased recruitment and engagement.

"We're finding that corporate CEOs are open to discussing ways to engage more of our agencies, media and professionals to help them meet their business goals," said Steed. "We're devoting 2011 to opening more doors and creating more synergy that will be mutually beneficial for all parties."

Some of the initiatives discussed with CEOs and marketing executives include broadening the request for proposals (RFPs) to more diverse agencies, to conduct media days, and potentially an urban marketing summit. With regard to recruitment and training, discussions have centered on expanding the candidate search to include more Black and Latino candidates, job creation, job readiness, college tours, and establishing annual internships.

"Opening doors for black professionals and students will create a pipeline of talent from the urban community," according to Steed. It's all a part of ensuring that we have the opportunity to share in commerce, development and growth."

Also in 2011, MAI will issue a report on the best and worst practices among corporations and government agencies in their diversity recruitment. "Performance in hiring, diversity and media procurement will be evaluated to create more awareness of the realities that exist within major corporations who rely heavily on multicultural consumers," added Sharpton.

It is the Madison Avenue Project's explicit goal to support and promote the value proposition of business and employment growth in advertising, marketing and media companies for people of color. Inclusionary efforts of corporations and government divisions are being aggressively encouraged to create more opportunities for sustainable strategic partnerships.

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