More than 150 members of the 4A’s Foundation Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) community gathered in New York City for the 2019 summit. In its 46th year, MAIP continues to support agencies in prioritizing diversity, inclusion and equity in hiring and promoting both talent and leadership in the creative, strategy, client services, management and all other advertising agency disciplines.

The purpose of the 4A’s Foundation MAIP Summit is to provide alumni with the opportunity to learn from senior thought-leaders in and outside of the industry on innovative best practices, while furthering their professional development and re-engaging with the alumni community.

Focused on adaptive leadership, the program of this year’s MAIP Summit covered a range of themes vital to its participants’ involvement and leadership in advertising, including the price of leadership for people of color, workplace microaggressions and trauma, financial literacy, executive presence, multiracial work experiences, generational differences, and many more.

This report highlights the insights and information the 4A’s Foundation MAIP Summit 2019 offered to both attendees and speakers.


The State of the Industry

MAIP Summit 2019 kicked off with a discussion of the industry’s ongoing evolution, and its effects on hiring for talent and for leadership, between Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of 4A’s, and Marc Strachan, chairman of ADCOLOR.

In defining the mission of the agency, Strachan recounted a pitch meeting he once attended when a creative director boasted his team’s idea would win awards. The client’s response was to call security and have the agency escorted from the building. “Please keep in mind what your clients are doing,” Strachan said.



Blurred Lines:
Embracing Being Biracial as a Business Advantage

Shauna Sweeney, Facebook’s Head of Global Industry Marketing, addressed her own Chinese-Irish Catholic heritage to illustrate the types of challenges individuals of mixed-race heritage experience on the job and off—and how to overcome them.

The advertising industry has work ahead to improve its inclusivity for multiracial talent and leadership, Sweeney said. “Representation is a battle that’s far from over,” she said. “But half the solution is showing up and connecting and speaking up, and being ready to show the world our spots.”




Get Your Mind Right:
Workplace Trauma and its Effect on Mental Health

A workshop exploring how to navigate workplace relationship challenges and microagressions featured speakers from ThriveNYC: Sophie Pauze, Strategic Partnerships/Mental Health Worker, and Dr. Byron Young, Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist and Emotional Wellness Program Developer and Consultant. Attendees learned about strategies and tactics H.R. departments should execute to mitigate workplace trauma.

Pauze and Young defined wellness in the workplace as the ability to bring your whole self to work, to build relationships on trust, to have the same mission and to be measured equally. Well-being, they said, is supported by good relationships with colleagues and management, a clear mission, a manageable schedule and workload, fair salary and pay equity, and an encouraging culture and environment in which employees feel heard.


A series of instant polls revealed illuminating attitudes among attendees:

  • 40% report their main mood during the workday is “anxious”; 23%, “frustrated.”

  • 31% “somewhat agree” that they practice adequate self-care.

  • 27% feel they have a healthy work-life balance.

  • 61% feel they don’t handle work stress well.

  • 62% feel they have experienced discrimination on the job.

  • 42% say they experience microaggressions at work every month; 34%, every week.

  • 44% feel the main source of these microaggressions are race-based.

Sophie Pauze, Strategic Partnership Advisor,

Just like MAIP created a safe space to talk about mental health, we should work to create the same spaces within our agencies and companies. We often struggle in silence, not knowing how to address and find solutions for something that inevitably holds weight on our performance.
— Jessica Chung

The ‘Real’ on Leadership:
6 Steps to Becoming a Boss People Want to Follow

A workshop for rising stars and future agency managers and leaders, led by Darla Price, SVP, Executive Account Director, McCann New York and Executive Coach, IPG Women’s Leadership Network Chair Emeritus, discussed ways to help teams grow under their leadership through a coaching mindset.


Mo' Money Mo' Problems
A Company’s Role in Your Financial Literacy

Marilyn F. Booker, Managing Director of the Urban Markets Group at Morgan Stanley, led this workshop on money management to bring knowledge, skills and behaviors that apply both to work and personal lives. The workshop explored how a role in an organization influences personal financial literacy.


Executive Presence 101
Cultivating your Inner CEO

Ronnie Dickerson Stewart, VP, Talent Engagement & Inclusion at Digitas, led a workshop to define executive presence and guide attendees on growing it. Her strategy is to consider herself CEO of herself: Ronnie, Inc.

Dickerson Stewart provided a formula, based on a survey of 1000 executive leaders by the Center for Talent Innovation, revealing that executive presence is based 5% on appearance, 28% on communication, and 67% on gravitas. She advised clear communication through concise bullet points and ending correspondence at a reasonable hour, among other pointers, as well as body language indicating presence and alertness and “yes, and” answers to questions. Gravitas, she said, included decisive action and confidence under fire, as well as showing integrity and projecting vision.

People of color, Dickerson Stewart said, have a longer road to achieving this vision of executive presence. Navigating the workplace depends on knowing yourself and being a student of your environment, she said, so you can make clear-headed and rational decisions.



Two Google leaders, Eartha Petersen-Farngalo, Global Solutions Lead, and Lindsay Leykin, Industry Relations Manager, led a workshop on #IamRemarkable, a Google-backed initiative to empower women and underrepresented groups and celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. The workshop highlighted the importance of self-promotion and offered strategies on how to achieve it.

“#IamRemarkable was amazing! Very great workshop, which I loved!”
— Attendee

The Demands of Today's Talent:
Exploring Generational Differences

Millennial workplace expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky led this workshop on the ways generational differences can affect executive leadership style, exploring how to communicate with the newest entrants into the workforce and Millennials, who now comprise more than 70% of the U.S. workforce.


Audience Discussion and Q&A:
Breathing New Life into the MAIP Alumni Community

A candid roundtable audience discussion focused on MAIP’s role in developing, supporting, and assisting its growing alumni community. Highlights:

I’ve had to deal with three corporate restructures in eight years. So I’ve been laid off three times—three times I had an employment gap and had to figure out what the hell I was going to do. I would love it if MAIP’s alumni program also talked about what to do during that time, whether it’s career development, or how to re-work your resume, or transitioning into a different career or department.

I just started at my current agency, and the first day I got in, I went straight to the head of HR and to our CFO and president, and I said ‘We need to go to MAIP. Do we have MAIP alumni here?’ Don’t be afraid to ask.

I’m noticing the shift of the 4A’s to make a constant impact, not just “We bring people of color into the ad industry and then just figure it out.” I’m grateful you’re trying to work on that piece.

I want to applaud the team for pulling so many generations together. This is bigger and more reflective of the MAIP class than what I saw last year.

In this environment, around people who just get it, I don’t have to explain myself. But having gone through the program, I wish I had older mentors—not just at work, because there are some advocates and great sponsors, but I’d love to connect more with the alum who are mid-, senior, and higher, to get support for longevity and make sure I don’t burn out in the next three to four years and take a career outside of advertising.


MAIP goes beyond work and professional development—it gave me incredible friendships, some best friends I still have and will continue to have. It exposed me to different people and different ideas. More than just professional development, an internship, or your next promotion, it’s the human element that keeps MAIP and its community alive.

I’m learning not to be afraid to take up space. In these rooms, we’re obviously vibrant and opinionated and smart and intelligent and ambitious, but it’s a different story sometimes when we get to our jobs and we go to these meetings and we’re the only person of color in the room. As people of color, as women, as queer people, we have something to contribute to the conversations that nobody else can. And that’s power. We have power in our voice. We may not have power in our titles, in our salaries, in our positions, in our experience, but we have power in our voice. And coming to events like this empowers me to get through the next few weeks and the next few months.


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