New initiative aims to support and develop BAME leadership in adland

CultureHeroes will formally launch in December.

Davies: CultureHeroes co-founder
Davies: CultureHeroes co-founder

A not-for-profit initiative aimed at creating the next generation of black, Asian and minority-ethnic leadership across advertising, design and technology has launched with a survey to find out the experiences of people of colour in the industry.

CultureHeroes is founded by Engine Creative chief executive Ete Davies, Boost App tech lead Kal Mba and freelance marketing and operations director Sophie Williams.

Davies said: "It was born out of a realisation that our industry is still not making enough progress towards BAME representation in leadership. And that without this representation, many D&I initiatives for BAME aren’t treated as a strategic priority, BAME talent acquisition and retention also suffer and we will end up with ‘diversity churn’.

"By creating change in the leadership representation, we hope to create an environment for long-term, sustainable inclusion for BAME professionals in the creative industries."

The "pillars" of the initiative are: 

  • Community – a network of people and organisations, working to support the progression of emerging BAME leadership talent.

  • Personal development – leadership development, mentoring and coaching for BAME professionals who are seeking to move into a leadership role or are on a path to leadership.

  • Creating inclusive leadership – working with companies and organisations to create more inclusive leadership teams and behaviours to create an environment for new BAME leaders to thrive.

Industry partners include TheOffsite, Creative Equals, Data & Marketing Association, D&AD and consultancy Utopia. 

Surveying the industry

The group plans to use the results of the survey to tell a more "expansive" story of beyond the existing census-style data available from the IPA.

Davies said the survey would provide CultureHeroes with insight that could be used to create recommendations for change and advice for BAME people wanting to become leaders. It will also be used as a recruitment drive for mentors and mentees.

The roll-out of the survey represents a soft launch for CultureHeroes, which will have an official launch in December.