Round-up: Inclusion, Diversity & Equality seminar

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 | IAB UK

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Inclusive marketing, diversifying recruitment and recognising disability as a plus were all on the agenda at IAB UK’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Seminar, with speakers including Microsoft’s Tina Aird, Pride in London’s Tom Stevens and MyPlusConsulting’s Helen Cooke.

Opening the morning, IAB UK’s Director of Campaigns Sophia Haynes highlighted the need to “drive the industry forward” through IDE principles. In order to resonate with people, advertising has a responsibility to “think more broadly”, she said.


Microsoft Advertising’s Head of UK Marketing Tina Aird was up next, discussing how inclusive marketing and design can empower everyone. Drawing on examples including Tommy Hilfiger’s Adaptive campaign and Morrison’s introduction of quiet shopping hours, she went on to show Microsoft’s adaptive controller and its award-winning ‘We All Win’ campaign – allowing people with disabilities to game, right down the accessible packaging. As she put it, “you can design for one and you really can design for all”.

Following Saturday’s celebration, Pride in London’s Head of Marketing Tom Stevens gave an insight into how to authentically market to LGBT+ people, underlining the need to “involve LGBT people in any of your LGBT marketing”, think beyond the rainbow, spread the word beyond London and remember that “the fight doesn’t end on Monday just because Pride is over”. He also showed how 2019’s ‘50 Years of Queer Revolt’ campaign built “a sense of protest back into Pride, to inspire the next 50 years of activists” on the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.


How to enable more diverse talent in the industry formed the basis of The Media Trust’s session, with Deputy Head of Youth Media Martha Shacolas calling for our creative industry to “be more creative in our recruitment to get the most diverse talent”.

She shared the spotlight with Akama Davies, Head of Global Campaigns at Xaxis and a Media Trust volunteer, and Lucrece Grehoua, a graduate of the Trust’s Creativity Works program. Akama said that creating advocates to go into the industry and shape “the next generation of diverse leaders” is crucial. Meanwhile, Lucrece outlined how companies can create a culture of diversity and inclusion: “Young people don’t want to be another cog in the working machine… we can cultivate an open environment where people can talk about the things they love to do and who they are.”

The following panel explored how ad tech – a largely male dominated industry – can embrace more diversity with Index Exchange’s Kellie Hick, PubMatic’s Emma Newman and MiQ’s Georgiana Haig sharing their views. From championing other women in the workplace to finding allies in places that you didn’t expect, the discussion shone a light on how change is evolving within the sector. Issues surrounding current recruitment practices were also raised, with Emma detailing how PubMatic have removed education from applicants’ CVs to make it easier for non-graduates to enter the industry.


In the final session of the morning, MyPlus Consulting’s founder Helen Cooke delivered an enlightening, interactive and funny talk on how she manages her disability “in a world that’s not always geared up for it” and what companies can do to recognise disability as a plus. Describing “disability as a strong label”, Helen pointed out that not everyone wants to be labelled and drew attention to our tendency to view diversity in terms of individual silos: “Heavens above we get a black disabled gay woman!”.


Outlining her journey to work each day, Helen drew attention to the tenacity and skills that disabled people have to draw on. She concluded the morning by encouraging companies to “deal with the fear factor”. While “disability is something that we’re not very comfortable talking about… it’s refreshing to have conversations and engage with someone rather than tiptoeing around it”.

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