Work Where Your Individuality Is Valued: Thoughts on DE&I during BHM

Yolanda Haynesworth, EVP, GREY / Health & Wellness/WPP GSK Pharma Lead

How is your organization/agency celebrating black history month?

Grey Health & Wellness is celebrating Black History the month the same way we do it all year long. For us, it’s not about one month. It’s a consistent ongoing focus on education with an eye to intersectionality. We’re concentrating on dispelling myths through education around the history and culture of Black Americans. By celebrating the contributions of and providing insights and opportunities for Black communities, we hope to amplify much-needed conversations through panels, podcasts, thought leadership, social takeovers, and internal workshops. We need to make certain that conversation about change is continuously evolving and top of mind.

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

If you’re a Black American, I would recommend that you push to include, and express, a true reflection of your experience in the work you and your agency produces. Never feel the need to change yourself to get ahead. If your experience and individuality is not valued, you may want to reconsider if that agency is right for you. Find your allies. People at the core do want to lift others up, especially young talent—but they may need a nudge or opening. Don’t be shy, reach out. We need you to help create authentic portrayals of the world we seek to influence and if your experience isn’t included, we are not successful with these efforts.

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 Grey Health & Wellness, inclusivity is embedded in our DNA and is a leading factor in all strategic conversations. Our DE&I efforts and initiatives have a focus on individuals and the intersectionality of experiences across underserved and underrepresented populations. This drives us to celebrate the individual populations and identities, as well as the intersectional experiences of mixed backgrounds and cultures throughout the year’s programs and content.