I’MPART OF DIVERSITY: Q&A FROM Kat Gordon, Founder & CEO of 3% Conference


In honor of AD Club’s diversity campaign, i’mPART, we are asking several industry leaders for their thoughts on the importance of diversity in our industry and what can be done to be more inclusive. As a diversity advocate and the founder of The 3% Conference, which was created in response to the alarming statistic that only 3% of Creative Directors were women, Kat is committed to raising awareness of the importance of gender equality in our industry.

We recently had the chance to ask Kat about why diversity is so important, how we can raise awareness about the benefits of diversity in our industry, and how she’s involved in the movement.

Why is diversity so crucial to the success of our industry?

For so, so many reasons. First of all, the “you can’t be what you can’t see” phenomenon makes advertising a particularly important place to promote diversity. Our kids see 3,000 ads a day and the messages they see speak volumes about what we value as a culture. We need those messages to more accurately reflect America’s citizenry and give all kids the message that who they are — from their ethnic and racial identity to sexual and gender identity — is valued and has a “speaking part” in society. Secondly, as advertising creatives we are far more successful at solving creative problems when working as part of a diverse team. It has been proven time and time again.

How can we raise awareness beyond this campaign?

By turning awareness into activation. The 3% Conference has 100 ideas of microactions that anyone can take to support diversity in agencies – from banishing the term ‘women’s account’ from your company’s vocabulary to exploring job sharing to retain valuable talent.

What initiatives does your company support to cultivate diversity?

Our entire company — The 3% Conference — exists to spearhead diversity. Everything we do is guided by that goal. And our team – a mix of men and women, gay and straight, married and single, African American, Caucasian, Latina – reflects that celebration of diversity.

Overall, what does AD Club’s i’mPART diversity and inclusion imitative mean to you?

It literally gives ad folks a “badge of honor” to showcase their support for diversity. This is a wonderful way to make people proud of how they are working to improve our industry and show that this movement needs all of us to speak up and make change.

What makes YOU diverse?

I’m full of contradictions. I’m an introvert who rallies huge crowds at my conferences. I’m a New Yorker by birth who now identifies as a Californian. I may be the only Creative Director in history who started in Market Research. I’m a mom to boys yet spend much of my professional currency on girls’ rights. I always say that my favorite types of people are those who are hard to classify as one thing or another. I try to be one of those people.


Kat Gordon