4 Groups Making Entertainment Marketing a More Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Industry

And how you can get in touch and get involved

The past 12 months have brought tremendous change and challenges to the entertainment marketing industry. Beyond the pandemic and the considerable obstacles it has brought, the industry also joined the country in a racial reckoning in the wake of Geoge Floyd's death and recognized the work that needs to be done to make entertainment marketing a more inclusive and diverse place. 

Leaders from agencies and studios/networks have come together to acknowledge that, through community and collaboration, people can both support one another through these tough times, and also work to bring about lasting change in this unique and incredible industry. Today, we are highlighting four organizations that are doing exactly that—bringing people together to foster community and working to make the entertainment marketing industry a better place. 

All four of these organizations are doing some amazing work, so we encourage you to learn more below and reach out to get involved. 


Spark

Website | Instagram 

How did the organization come about? 

We started as a small group of people, all from creative agencies, who began meeting once a week after the killing of George Floyd and the long-overdue national conversation about systemic racism that followed. None of us knew one another beforehand, and instead of seeing each other as competitors, we wanted to make connections; to collaborate and support each other as we explored ways to make meaningful change.

What is your mission?

We want to connect people, at any stage of their career—entry level to leadership—to a variety of opportunities to contribute, in the form of talent or time as well as funds or supplies. We work in a fast-paced industry, which can limit our time to engage. If Spark can curate some options and help get people to the opportunities and information that interests them, that's what we are here to do. 

Our mission currently has two main areas of focus: 

• Building lasting partnerships with organizations working to educate and empower young talent from under-represented communities.
• Creating a collaborative space for our industry to learn and grow so we can build company cultures with new standards of diversity and inclusivity.

What do you have planned for 2021?

As we did in 2020, we plan to continue to partner with organizations already in action. We started in our neighborhood but can see expansion outside of L.A. and Southern California in order to bring further awareness to our niche industry.

We are also going to build out opportunities for connection by continuing event offerings—panel discussions on topics like "How to Build Successful Internship Programs," for example. We want to create a space through these events, as well as via our social channels, for our our industry to share its best practices and learnings. We really believe collaborating on this path will create the greatest possible impact.

How can people learn more and get involved?

We would love anyone who's interested to follow us on Instagram. You can learn more about the first three organizations we've partnered with there and via our website. We'll also be posting about upcoming and future opportunities to volunteer and donate—anything from mentoring and sharing your professional expertise, to organizations in need of supplies and exposure. If anyone would like to share any other related ideas or inspiration with us, we welcome it!


ReVision Movement

Website | Instagram

How did the organization come about? 

A minority majority group of cohorts from agencies, studios, streamers and networks across entertainment marketing creative advertising came together to develop a professional network focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry.

What is your mission?

ReVision Movement is an action-driven forum that provides our entertainment marketing community with ideas, answers and resources around BIPOC recognition and inclusion. Together, we share a vision where open conversation inspires commitment to transparent, lasting change and a diversified culture.

What do you have planned for 2021?

To identify, evaluate and share best practices of companies who build DEI values into their work and daily actions. We intend to share out this information at Summits throughout the year, with our next one coming in April.

How can people learn more and get involved?

Visit the ReVision Movement website and subscribe to the mailing list. All are welcome and encouraged to sign up and join our summits, learn and take action.


The Alliance for Entertainment Advertising Arts

Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

How did the organization come about? 

The Alliance came about as a result of several folks from the entertainment advertising industry coming together to address the needs of others within the industry. We realized our industry, our country and the world are facing great challenges. But unlike other verticals in entertainment more broadly, there is no safety net for the people who've spent their lives creating trailers and posters and all the brilliant creative advertising that helps to open a movie or launch a show. So we put our heads together and combined our resources to start an Alliance that could lend a hand to those in our community who need it most.

What is your mission?

The Alliance for Entertainment Advertising Arts is a community unified in one mission: to be there for each other now and in the future. The Alliance is an enduring organization that is "of, by and for" the creative people of the entertainment advertising community. 

What do you have planned for 2021?

Here is some of what we do:

• Provide help to individuals who've worked at agencies through times of crisis. E.g.:
   —Donate gift cards to grocery stores
   —Help folks who've been laid off set up home systems
   —Provide professional services (career counseling, IT support, etc) to those who could benefit
• Organize community events geared for relationship building, education and having some fun
• Provide scholarships/continuing education programs
• Honor the work and the outstanding contributors to the body of work

How can people learn more and get involved? 

For those who can help, thealliancela.org/give. For those who can use a little help, thealliancela.org/help.


Soapbox Women

Website | Instagram | Facebook

How did the organization come about? 

Jennifer Weg, president and founder: Soapbox Women was born in the fall of 2014, out of my desperate desire for community among the women in my industry. I was working at the junior level, on a very tough team (made up of all male executives) in an even tougher corporate environment. I needed guidance from the women around me, who so clearly seemed to have it all figured out (that was my perception, at least!).

After an evening spent celebrating the year's most brilliant work created by the most brilliant minds in entertainment marketing at that year's Clio Entertainment Awards (an event I attended only because someone higher up on the food chain backed out), I was finally presented with the opportunity to meet so many women I would come to know intimately throughout my then-young career—as colleagues and as people. I immediately felt a connection to these women; it's an incredibly bonding experience to be with someone who just "gets" how you spend 80 percent of your time. I was overwhelmed. 

Why was there not a place/network already in place for me to connect with women in my field? Why did it take the promise of an open bar and free parking to motivate me to introduce myself in person to all these women who had been available to me for so long? I felt so great that night, so deeply a part of something. How could I feel that way more often? I woke up the next morning and wrote an email to every woman I had ever worked with, explaining how desperate I was for us to connect more and why. I needed help. I needed mentorship. Could one of these women relate to what I was going through, and if so, guide me through it? I hoped so. Could we all come together and build a network and see what happens when powerful women unite? Within five minutes of my hitting send, every single recipient of this email responded with a resounding "YES! And whatever you plan, here are five names who will want in, too." I was blown away. This was lightning in a bottle. This was the beginning of Soapbox.

Today, Soapbox Women has over 1,000 members. We're a legal LLC/501c6 organization with an executive board and leadership committee that has been recognized by the state of California and the federal government. In 2019, we hosted our first event, attended by over 200 women, and in February 2020, before shutdown, we had our our first ticketed workshop to generate revenue needed to sustain the organization. We've hosted over a dozen virtual events throughout the 2020 pandemic, providing fun, dynamic and safe ways for our members to continue to come together and connect as a community. We organized and hosted panels, Q&As, happy hours, new member orientation-style networking events, workout classes and self-care 101s. We built out our social channels on Facebook and Instagram. Soapbox Moms, a group within the community, grew 200 percent in size. Soapbox Women of Color, another group that is focused on BIPOC support and advocacy, was born and continues to grow each day. Looking ahead at 2021 and beyond, we will continue to offer a diverse slate of programming so our members have a number of ways to get involved with the community. 

If Soapbox Women sounds like a community you'd like to learn more about and/or get more involved in, we're currently hosting an open call for volunteers to lead the organization as executive board and leadership committee members. Please visit our website and reach out to us if you're interested!

What is your mission?

Soapbox Women is a self-sustaining, independent collective committed to empowering, protecting and promoting women in the entertainment, creative advertising and marketing industries.

What do you have planned for 2021?

A mix of online events ranging from panels, live Q&As, new member welcome events and virtual happy hours. We will also host themed workshops covering a range of topics from cultivating resilience in a pandemic landscape, résumé/cover letter building, stress management, self-care 101s, etc.

How can people learn more and get involved?

Subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Instagram, request to join the Facebook group, visit the website to learn about upcoming events! We'd love to have you join us!


Soapbox Moms

Website | Instagram | Facebook

How did the organization come about? 

Soapbox Moms started when its chair, Ileanna Sawyer, became a mom in 2018 and, as the days of parental leave dwindled, felt in need of community with women in this industry who would understand how challenging the transition back to work can be. Some of the questions on her mind: How have women advocated for their new needs at work when work/life balance in this industry can often feel out of reach? How were the women at various levels of their careers integrating their mother identity with their professional ambitions, and how did they handle challenges? How do we improve our paid parental leave situation in this industry, and what role does this play in the attrition of women from the industry? By coming together in friendship and mutual support, we could address a lot of these challenges and more. 

What is your mission?

Soapbox Moms is for women in the entertainment, creative advertising, and marketing industries who are thinking of becoming parents, are in the process of becoming parents by any number of means, are new at motherhood, or are veteran moms. The group offers these moms and moms-to-be the chance to connect with other women and provide each other with support, share resources, share wisdom, and empower each other as they seek to reach their full potential. Wherever you are on the motherhood journey you are welcome to join the community. 

What do you have planned for 2021?

2020 exposed some big pain points for women who are left shouldering the load of motherhood in addition to their careers. Because of the pandemic's effect on reliable child care and the way it has forced some mothers to deal with schooling from home, the "village" we all relied on is now missing, yet many of us are still expected to perform with little time left to tend to our own mental health. So our first priority as a group is to hold each other up and get through this time in history in one piece! 

Though there's light at the end of the tunnel, make no mistake that mothers will be reckoning with the effects of the pandemic on their and their children's lives for years to come. It's a great time for our industry's employers to show support for mothers, especially in a post-COVID-19 world. Instead of going back to the way things were, how can employers create a new experience for mothers at work that honors their significant contributions to the industry along with their caregiving obligations (this goes for Dads, too)?

Throughout 2020 we have seen our members' incredible resilience in the face of all the pandemic has wrought. We continue to hold space for our members through online meetups and panels around topics of interest. 2021 will have a similar focus, and a renewed commitment to serving the needs of our industry's mothers, and those who want to be mothers, so they can show up as their best selves.

How can people learn more and get involved?

Soapbox Moms is active on our Facebook Group and on Instagram! We are actively looking for committee members to help us achieve our 2021 plans. We want new voices we haven't heard from before! We are always open to hearing about new panel topics and ideas for casual get togethers. It's as simple as reaching out via email (asksoapboxmoms@gmail.com) with even a kernel of an idea that we can make into a reality.


Soapbox Women of Color

Website | Instagram | Facebook
Our Instagram is open to everyone. Our Facebook page is specifically for women of color and women of mixed race.

How did the organization come about?

Jacky Shu and Helen Ahn Cutler, chairs of Soapbox WOC: We have been members of Soapbox Women and Soapbox Moms since their inception. We have always strongly aligned with the mission of the group and knew we wanted to be a bigger part of the leadership, but wanted something with which we had a deep personal connection. As the city of Los Angeles exploded into a revolution in June of last year, we really grappled with how we could help friends feel supported, focus our intentions and make something powerful. We were talking (which usually means Jacky was talking and Helen was meticulously taking notes) and the next thing we knew we were writing a mission (and by we, we mean Helen was furiously writing and Jacky was saying there would be many many versions before she would be satisfied). We pitched the idea to Jen Weg and she and her leadership team created the platform, empowered us and supported us to flourish. THIS is exactly the mission of Soapbox Women and we are humbled by their love and friendship. It is such a special connection and we will never take it for granted. Immediately thereafter, Ileanna Sawyer, Bridgette Wright, Suzette Edwards and Erika Anaya came on board to help lead. I think everyone knows that together we are a force of nature. We are a good team and we get things done.

What is your mission?

Our mission will constantly adapt to suit the needs of its members during this explosively evolving time. We love a bespoke plan and a moving target. On a personal level, the mission of Soapbox WOC is to create a safe space for our members and to make meaningful relationships. We begin by building a community. Our industry-wide mission is to bring more women of color into our workforce. This is not a task we will do alone. We will need the help of our allies.

What do you have planned for 2021?

We had our kick-off event on Jan. 30. We had a great turnout and everyone who attended really brought a level of honesty and enthusiasm that has galvanized all of us. 2021 will be focused on growing our community organically, based on the ideas and input of our members, and most importantly, building trust. We want to lift each other up and provide a platform where we can lean into our power, pursue our passions and inspire each other. We want to change each other's lives. We will have monthly meetings in the form of organized panels and discussions, as well as more informal gatherings in the way of virtual meetups and socially distanced meetups. We are going to have difficult and important conversations, but we will also have fun. We love fun.

How can people learn more and get involved?

For women of color and women of mixed race, we would love to have them engage on our FB and Instagram sites. We are looking to have weekly member spotlights for those who would like to be featured and are always looking for subjects to cover in future events. Women can host panels, be speakers, lead discussions or just attend. Thank you to everyone who has submitted so many incredible ideas. This is how we do it.

For our allies, we feel incredibly lucky to have so many people cheering us on. Some have asked how they can help. If you would like to be more involved, you can do so by donating your voice. We are nothing without each other, and we ask for people to take time to get to know our mission, and commit to using their influence to help us rise. We're making something great and we will not do it alone. Please reach out to us to find out more at soapboxwoc@gmail.com.

Profile picture for user Jessie Garretson
Jessie Garretson
Jessie Garretson is associate director of Clio Entertainment.

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