Pictured L to R: Chelsea Mtada, Stacey Stollery
Chelsea Mtada, Creative Strategist at Amplify and Stacey Stollery, People & Culture Director at Amplify, speaks on the agency's social mission “To connect with, enable and champion young creative talent” from all walks of life and setting up processes that enact lasting change.
How do you make space and support your employees in marginalized communities, beyond hiring?
We support our employees starting their own community Employee Resource Groups, which are completely community run. They are all brave spaces for people to come together and connect. We specifically have no ROI attached and encourage the groups to go to events that inspire them (paid for by Amplify). Our current ERGs include Woah (for employees who identify as female), The Sauce (black and mixed heritage employees), Voice of Us (employees aged 18-30) and LGBTQ+ (employees that identify from that community).
We also have UNITY, which is our inclusion and equity steering group made up of passionate individuals from around the agency. UNITY ensures we continually evolve our culture, policies, processes and the way we work to ensure Amplify is a space for everyone to thrive and do their best work.
We set ourselves a diversity target of 20% by the end of 2022. We actually achieved this a year early, in December 2021, so subsequently raised the target to 30%. We ensure that our hiring processes are inclusive and devoid of unconscious bias.
In what ways does your team ensure that diverse, intersectional perspectives and ideas are included in the creative process?
Amplify’s Social Mission is “To connect with, enable and champion young creative talent” from all walks of life. We also believe that every creative person should have access to the help they need to find the opportunities that could change their lives.
We’re lucky enough to have an agency made up of people from all walks of life and different backgrounds. When building teams around a project, brief or event, we always ensure we not only have audience representation, but a mix of different voices to spark interesting conversations and perspectives.
As part of our review process, we ensure all our employees include personal goals which sit outside of their day-to-day workload. This is to ensure they feel empowered in their specific interests and also feel that Amplify is a place where they can develop, use and share them.
Calendar holidays and honorary months put a momentary spotlight on marginalized communities, creating a wave of temporary support and celebration. While this is a positive step, the industry agrees that authenticity comes through consistent engagement. What can brands do to maintain continuous connection with groups?
Brands need to create policies and establish processes that are long lasting. If you are shining the spotlight on someone or something for a momentary occasion, it is important that there is always a follow up to update on their progress. When celebrating, championing or protesting for a marginalized community brands need to ensure they have consulted with the community; firstly, to really understand the subject from their experiences and secondly to ensure the engagement is truly reflective of the community especially when trying to create a change.
Which brands do you see as true agents of change, across the full spectrum of DEI, including social issues? How do they inspire you?
I believe that Unilever’s Dove are true agents of change, who have continued to uphold the values of inclusivity, diversity and standing up for social issues even when it’s not been trendy to do so. They put their audience at the heart of their brand and create a space where everyone is considered, protected and celebrated in the marketing of their products. What inspires me the most about Dove is their commitment to their mission, even when it seems like the cultural landscape is not ready for it. This approach pushes me to work with creative bravery in mind.