Multicultural is as Multicultural Does: An Advertising Journey
Mine is as common a story as anyone else preparing to leave the collegiate bubble. Heading into my senior year at Hamilton, the one thing I knew was that I would be looking to graduate with a double major in French and English. From there, not a single thing was etched in stone, and as you can imagine, it terrified me. I did have one shining beacon, though—I knew I wanted to focus my time and efforts on a field that helped drive culture and communications, and had a greater purpose.
In the early fall of my senior year, I was interviewing with various communications and PR agencies, restaurateur organizations, and nonprofits. In the end, an opportunity came to the table through my scholarship organization, Posse, with a media agency out of Chicago. I was offered a position and eagerly jumped on it. Being from Boston, I was ready to make a move elsewhere and venture into independence.
Arriving to work on my first day, I was pleasantly surprised that my role was specifically within the multicultural arm of the agency, which had not been identified when I accepted my offer. I first worked on the Allstate Insurance business in strategy and investment for the Hispanic/Latino and African-American/black audiences. Being a Latinx immigrant and having a diversity-filled ecosystem growing up in Boston, in addition to being a Posse scholar who was active in multicultural organizations at Hamilton—this absolutely thrilled me and I found myself exponentially more motivated to succeed. I had landed a role that tapped into my passion.
As I progressed through my career in multicultural, I worked on various clients in addition to Allstate, including P&G, Jim Beam Liquors, Kimberly-Clark, Dyson, Shell, Bayer, and AARP. My focus shifted from being a dedicated multicultural expert towards a more “total market” expert, which put me in a position to help educate clients and internal stakeholders on how multicultural audiences are vital to the success a brand sees in sales, enrollment, brand loyalty—really, any metrics. I found myself needing to be highly adaptable to the evolving consumer landscape and demographics, as well as the business needs of my clients in order to thoroughly understand their business model and bea credible expert.
Adaptability became a key skill in my career and was in line with my own philosophy of maintaining a level of education and understanding of the constantly evolving cultural landscape. It’s no surprise that the learning never ends, but within media and advertising, I’ve found that you often must be on the cutting edge and establish a point of view to move the conversation further. The market doesn’t wait, and we can’t afford to, either.
Organization, process, and proper time management, in addition to adaptability, became core elements of driving success, whether it be exclusively for yourself or with a large team. The process can seem mundane and, frankly, boring, but as I’ve progressed to account director of a large client account, it’s become significantly more evident that having a knack for organization will do nothing but benefit you in the long run. Along with the leadership on my team, we’ve managed to have multiculturalism continue as a priority and part of the conversation. From an organizational perspective, there is no bias towards or omission of the multicultural audience within our processes.
My goal was always to impact culture and communications with purpose and in my role now, I’ve been able to help my team and my clients continue to see the value of multicultural audiences as part of their business plans in communicating with mass audiences. Multiculturalism is a part of who I am and will always be a focus in all that I do. It’s who we are as a society, and we cannot lose sight of the value that these cultures bring to the table.