Connection, Commitment and Cultural Competency at Momentum

From Member Donnalyn Smith, President, North America, Momentum Worldwide

How is your organization/agency celebrating Black History Month?

For this year’s Black History Month, Momentum is focused on sharing the unique stories of our employees and the contributions from Black people to worldwide culture. The campaign is called “My Black History,” and it celebrates the many subsets of Black culture such as food, clothing, music and regional history. Each employee will tell their unique story and we will share internally and externally on our social channels to expose all of our colleagues, clients and partners to the different shades of Blackness that make the culture so special.

What advice would you give young diverse talent just starting out in the industry?

Do your homework and set your sights on finding a company that internalizes the value of workplace diversity. Once you’re there, find a sponsor who prioritizes and advocates for diversity of talent and learn from them.

Understand that this is your career and you will always need to stay in the driver’s seat. Don’t become a passenger or a passive participant in your own career development. Don’t be afraid to ask for time on the calendar with people you admire or wish to learn from. You will be more than pleasantly surprised at how many people will be willing to support you and help you in your career.

As we know, DE&I initiatives need to be a priority all year round, not just during Black History Month. That said, how do you plan to continue to incorporate your DE&I initiatives at your organization/agency throughout the year?

At Momentum, D,E&I is not a discipline, department or an officer; it is woven into the fabric of our company culture and it is a behavior we live every day as an agency and via the work we do with our clients and partners.

We live by our “Be One” manifesto, which states “We are at our best when we welcome everyone, when we appreciate one another, and treat each other with respect and dignity.”

Our ongoing D,E&I initiatives are based on: Connection, promoting meaningful relationships by showcasing employee narratives and fostering a deeper understanding of one another; Commitment, having visible leadership support of initiatives that champion inclusivity and presentation at all levels of the organization; and Cultural Competency, equipping our people with the necessary resources and skills to drive an inclusive work environment.

We program D,E&I into our Town Halls and “Be One” days to reflect on the progress we are making and to continue to learn, unlearn and relearn. Each year, all of our offices globally pause work for “A Day For Meaning” to provide the space we need to have open and transparent conversations around D,E&I and to foster a truly inclusive environment that allows diversity to flourish.

Donnalyn Smith is President, North America overseeing the success of the agency’s North American offices, people and client portfolios. Previously, she has served as EVP, Regional Director, Managing Director and Group Account Director for several of the agency’s large accounts. She is a founding member of the 4A’s Committee for Best-in-Class Account Management and a member of the 4A’s High School Initiative. In 2017, she drove Momentum’s partnership with the 3% Conference, and in 2018, Donnalyn was honored as a “Trailblazer Mom of the Year” by She Runs It and named to Adweek’s Disruptors list. She is also a founding member of the #TimesUpAdvertising movement. Smith joined Momentum in 1995.