The Many Welcomes Victor M. Parker II as Director of Communications and Marketing

THE MANY | May. 31 2023

We’re raising the roof at The Many today! That’s because we’ve welcomed a new superstar to the team: Victor M. Parker II, stepping into the Director of Communications and Marketing role. With an eye for narrative and a flair for building relationships, Victor is ready to champion our communications and marketing strategies.
Victor is familiar with the communications rodeo. He’s crafted communication strategies at Fika Media Company and Ayanna Hart and managed publicity initiatives at Warner Bros. Entertainment. He’s ready to bring his unique blend of creativity, professionalism, and curiosity to The Many.
But wait, there’s more. Victor will not just be flexing his marketing muscles at The Many; he will also be leading the charge for The Many Studios, our newly launched content studio.
“Victor is the whole package,” said Christian Jacobsen, CEO of The Many. “He’s got an uncanny knack for uncovering the story in the story, and we’re thrilled to have him on board.”
Echoing this, Maggie Cadigan, Managing Director of Growth, added, “Victor’s expertise and leadership will be pivotal in telling The Many’s story as we move forward. We can’t wait to see the waves he’ll make in our brand’s narrative and growth.”
Welcome aboard, Victor! From Intel to Microsoft and Xbox, Victor’s portfolio spans impressive brands, and we’re looking forward to adding The Many to his list of successes. Stay tuned for some amazing things coming from this powerhouse.
For more information, check out the link here.
Stay tuned for exciting updates and stellar work from Victor and The Many team. Onwards and upwards!

Josh Paialii Ascends to Head of Creative at The Many

The Many | May. 31 2023

We’re thrilled to announce a significant shift in our creative landscape – promoting the phenomenal Josh Paialii to Head of Creative. Paialii will continue to inspire and guide our creative department as he steps into this role, contributing his distinct vision and skill to the recently launched The Many Studios.
With a career spanning over 15 years, Paialii has been instrumental in driving award-winning campaigns across various categories. His collaborative approach and commitment to groundbreaking work have significantly benefited brands like Panda Express, Netflix, Nestlé, Riot Games, 2K Games, Ubisoft, and Lexus.
Our CEO, Christian Jacobsen, praises Paialii’s unique qualities: “Josh is not only an inspirational creative talent but an exceptional leader. His positivity and proactive, creative thinking have significantly impacted our work, and we’re excited to see how his influence shapes our future.”
Paialii’s passion for authentic creativity is evident. He enjoys working with clients who prioritize their personalities and values. He’s also invested in strengthening our agency’s relationships with local high schools, aiming to inspire the next generation of creators and bridge the industry’s diversity gap.
Excited about his new role, Paialii said, “I look forward to bringing our unique creative approach to new media channels and formats while continuing to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry.” 
As Head of Creative, Paialii will continue to be a driving force behind The Many’s success, propelling us toward greater heights in the industry. Check out more on his promotion at Ad Age.

AAPI @ The Many Presents: A Heated Discussion

The Many | May. 31 2023

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
In celebration, AAPI @ The Many debuted a new panel format called “A Heated Discussion.” This dialogue was inspired by Complex’s “Hot Ones” with an AAPI twist. John Duch, senior designer and one of the AAPI co-leads, moderated a panel discussion centered around themes of navigating the world under the lens of identifying as AAPI. The twist of the panel’s format was that panelists answered questions while also sampling various hot sauces bought from locally owned AAPI businesses. 
Panelists of the event were comprised of Ellen Acuario, Chloe Shih, Bernice Chao, and Josh Paialii. Ellen is a stand up comedian who’s built a massive platform on TikTok. Chloe is a social content creator and is currently a product manager at Discord. Bernice is the co-founder of the non profit, Asians in Advertising and the co-author of “The Visibility Mindset.” Last but not least is The Many’s very own Head of Creative, Josh Paialii.

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Panda Express and The Many celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with good fortune for all

The Many | Jan. 17 2023

In just over a month-long celebration of Lunar New Year, Panda Express is offering the internet good fortune in the form of free menu items (lucky dishes!), $8 discounts on Panda Family Meals, and restaurant gift cards ranging from $88 to $888 (the luckiest number of all). All guests have to do is try their luck with the Good Fortune Scratcher! 
Developed by The Many and development partner dotdotdash, the Lunar New Year Good Fortune Scratcher is a web-based, lotto-inspired scratcher game that not only offers instant prizes for all who plays, but also educates players around the many traditions and icons of Lunar New Year. With over 2,000 stores nationwide, Panda Express believes in the power of bridging both Eastern and Western cultures, and helping those uninitiated with the holiday learn about some of its traditions and customs; all the while encouraging everyone to come together around the dining table with those we love — a tradition we can all connect with.
In addition to the Good Fortune Scratcher game, The Many developed over 40 unique static and animated content pieces for IG and TikTok that not only encourage guests to play the game, but truly make coming together around Panda Family Meal an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed during this time of year.  
In the two years prior, The Many and Panda Express have collaborated together to create Traditions Shared, a brand film that told the story of a young boy being invited to his neighbor’s Lunar New Year celebration, creating a lifelong memory and connection between the two, as well as The Good Fortune Arcade — a nostalgia-inspired, 8-bit video game where you can earn restaurant discounts by collecting lucky dishes stolen by the holiday’s fabled mythical antagonist — Nian. 
Though each year brings new themes and cultural insights, what remains consistent in the work is the opportunity to make Lunar New Year a holiday that is resonant, approachable, and inspiring for all. “Nothing says Lunar New Year like a delicious meal filled with family, traditions, good food and good fortune,” said Jacque Vavroch, associate creative director at The Many. “And nothing says good fortune like a good ol’ fashioned scratcher — so we were thrilled to bring all these elements together in one celebratory, gamified experience.”
In just three weeks, the Good Fortune Scratcher has surpassed all benchmarks, with roughly 1.2M unique visitors and counting having played the game, and over a 100,000 redemption codes for lucky dishes and family meals having already been redeemed. 
You can visit and try your luck today! 
You can see additional coverage of the Good Fortune Scratcher featured in Adweek, Thrillist, Little Black Book, Trendhunter, Yahoo, Chewboom and BrandEating.

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Expanding our People Team with a Focus on Inclusion and Culture

Blake Marquis | Mar. 28 2022

Announcing the expansion of our People Department with the hires of Courtney Burns, Executive Director of Talent and Culture, Jill Savage, Director of Resource Management, and Ash Ramirez, DE&I Lead. The three new hires join our People Department, which grew from one person in 2020 to now a total of nine across DE&I, talent, recruiting, leadership and development, resourcing and human resources. 
In addition to Burns, Savage and Ramirez, The Many’s People department has expanded throughout the last year including the hires of Johanna Penry, People Experience Manager, Serena Hutton, Recruiting Lead, Sharon Gi, Senior Resource Manager, Maya Morris, Talent and Culture Coordinator, and Samuel Reyes, People Operations Coordinator. Tim Cyrol continues in his role as Human Resources Director since 2015, with Davis Jones leading the department as Managing Director, People.
The three new hires solidify our commitment to some of the industry’s most pressing challenges—diversity and talent acquisition and management—with a focus on building internal systems and programming that rally the entire agency to work together and find productive and impactful solutions. 
“We have a high performance culture at The Many, and to achieve our ambitions collectively, we are focused on unlocking the potential of each individual and team at the agency—it’s a growth mindset that succeeds here, which means we often operate outside or at the edge of our comfort zones,” said Davis Jones, Managing Director, People. “The role of this team is to ensure we are building through conscious and intentional recruitment strategies, fostering talent through learning and development opportunities, and providing the tools and flexibility to thrive in the changing work, business and cultural climate. We strive to be a force for progress and to achieve that, it takes each and every one of us.”
Burns joins The Many from Huge where she served as VP, Global Recruiting. At The Many, Burns will further build the agency’s go-to market strategies and recruiting processes as well as oversee the agency’s growing DE&I programming. This includes a concerted effort to hire and retain diverse talent and develop Recruiting as a strategic practice at the agency to proactively help stabilize the industry-wide issue of burnout. 
Courtney Burns: “Building an inclusive culture begins with looking at the current makeup of our teams to intentionally address diversity and gender gaps during the recruiting process, ensuring candidates have a best in class interview experience and can see growth potential for themselves at The Many. At The Many, we’re committed to changing our go-to-market strategies, building equitable pipelines, evaluating both potential and experience, and being transparent about our numbers and the areas we need to improve.”
Previously Director, Resource Management, at Saatchi & Saatchi, Savage will develop the agency’s resource management practice by taking a qualitative and quantitative look at staffing to not only build efficiencies, but also identify learning and development opportunities across departments based on a mix of talent management and staffing, and clear financial planning for both the agency and its employees by creating clear pathways to success. 
Jill Savage: “I came to The Many to seize the opportunity to install a human-based approach to Resource Management. It’s not just excel documents with numbers, there’s the human (qualitative) aspect of resourcing that can get missed if you don’t work deliberately with the people in mind. It’s exciting to be somewhere that this piece matters.”
A graduate of MAIP and MPMS, Ramirez brings a breadth of forward-thinking DE&I experience from Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5, Digitas Health, and Condé Nast. In addition to creating programming that celebrates all diverse identities and empowers individuals to be at their best, they are spearheading the launch of The Many’s Employee Resource Groups and supporting the agency’s efforts to move the entire industry towards greater inclusivity and representation both in the workplace and in the output of the work. 
Ash Ramirez: “I came to The Many not only because I saw potential, I saw the commitment and the willingness to get uncomfortable. Diversity work is an ongoing industry problem and one that cannot be remedied overnight. It takes everyone, and I mean everyone across levels and departments to create a truly inclusive culture. When it comes to this work I was looking for a partner that heard and supported the efforts I would bring to the agency. I am proud of our efforts so far and it’s only just the beginning. I very much see The Many becoming the standard within the ad industry when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
We are excited and grateful for the role that each of these people play in supporting our success. This won’t be the last you hear!
Also, catch the news on Campaign, Ad Age, and Adweek.

Augmented Reality Project “What Once Was” Debuts at SXSW

Blake Marquis | Mar. 11 2022

Social media initiative “What Once Was” debuted today in partnership with Harper Biewen, Art Director, and Austin, TX-based nonprofits Six Square, celebrating and preserving the great Black arts, culture and history of Central East Austin, and E4 Youth, utilizing the arts, sciences and technology to help underserved youth find and pursue pathways to successful careers in the creative economy. “What Once Was” will debut at SXSW as a free community event on Saturday, March 12th at the George Washington Carver Museum including a walking tour of the AR sites, a Black vendor market, and a panel of local activists and academics.
Conceptualized and designed by Biewen, the immersive AR experience, activated by scanning a QR code, takes users on a visual blast to the past to see what once existed at their exact location while also encouraging people to put their money into local, BIPOC owned establishments to protect the culture and community.
“When I was new to Austin and meeting people, I was almost always met with ‘you should have seen it five years ago,’” Biewen notes. “Austin’s gentrification problem is pervasive and has become part of people’s talk tracks when they reflect on what it is like to live there.” After four years of living in Austin, Biewen understands and empathizes with the feeling of continued loss that Austin natives are experiencing, which has led to her undergoing extensive research for her “What Once Was” project. “It is really hard to watch pieces of Austin that feel so unique turn into copy and paste apartment complexes especially when it is in areas like the East side where Black and Brown folx call home.”
A UT Austin study on gentrification found East Austin is becoming whiter and more affluent despite being historically Black (SpectrumNews1, 2022). “There are so many heart-wrenching stories of BIPOC-owned businesses being forced out of their spaces or being replaced by businesses that are inherently white and don’t support the diverse culture of Austin,” said Biewen. Alongside Biewen, BIPOC high school and college students, via E4 Youth, involved in the project get the chance to tell the history of marginalized people in Austin while developing valuable skills to market themselves as competitive candidates with Austin’s growing tech story.
“What Once Was is a great compliment to the Austin Digital Heritage Project” Carl Settles, founder, E4 Youth. “Many of the students we train and employ are in families that have been pushed out the city’s core and into the outlying areas of town that are more affordable. Our goal is to build a multi-generational community of practice that actively explores our history and invests in these students to build a more inclusive future.”
Jumpolin was a piñata shop on East Cesar Chavez that served a thriving Latinx community for years. In 2015, it was demolished without warning with everything still inside of the store. Today, the space is home to a sleek photography studio that does not reflect the cultural needs or interests of the community that once thrived in East Austin. By scanning the QR code outside of places similar to the photography studio, users will be reminded that gentrification has wiped out so many businesses like Jumpolin while also receiving a history lesson about these businesses.

“What Once Was’ is a community response to the gentrification that undermines marginalized groups, their neighborhoods, their culture, and their history in Austin, Texas,” said Regine Malibiran, Director of Programs and Innovation, Six Square. “We hope that people who engage with this project, regardless of where they live, reflect on how it applies to where they’re from and hopefully spark dialogue and action in their own local communities.”
The @WhatOnceWas Instagram profile will be regularly updated with hints on where to find new AR drops, full stories and features from the owners of small businesses that have gone out of business, spotlighting existing BIPOC-owned businesses that people can support, and information about organizations and mutual aid collectives that people can support to help make a difference.
Catch the news on Adweek!

The Many
Art Director, Harper Biewen
Co-Founder, Jason Rodriguez
Director, X-Reality, Jorge Ortiz
AR/VR Strategist, Rebekah Diaz
Nonprofit Partner: Six Square
CEO, Pamela Benson Owens
Director of Programs and Innovation, Regine Malibiran
Nonprofit Partner: E4 Youth
Founder, Carl Settles
Development & Operations Manager, Jenaya McGowan Zarrad
Program Manager, Cynthia Ruiz
E4 Student, Joseph Mayang
E4 Student, Lili Xu
E4 Student, Darnell Wilson 
E4 Student, Dayna Iphill 
E4 Student, Ricardo Villegas 
E4 Student, Luis Angeles Sanchez 
E4 Student, Chelsea Jenkins

Stairway to Seven Promotions Across Brand, Design, Production, and Strategy

Blake Marquis | Mar. 7 2022

A legendary band once sang:
There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
We’re not Led Zeppelin or who they’re singing about, but we do have seven folks glittering!
2022 seems to be moving at warp speed and these seven folks, spread across multiple departments, are all in passenger seats of this rocketship that is The Many.
So let’s take a quick rest break for fuel, to stretch, and to celebrate these seven special people whose guidance and hard work have resulted in a promotion.
Enjoy a fun Q&A below to learn about their best memory and biggest success stories while at The Many.
We appreciate each and every one of you.

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Jorge Andrade, from Director of Design to Executive Director of Design

How long have you been at The Many?
Eight years come July.
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
Coming from a DREAMER background and making it in advertising (especially in the competitive field of design) feels like a success story on its own. However, I would say that my biggest success has been the ability to build a stellar design team filled with talented, passionate and kind individuals, who provide me with a fresh perspective day in and day out and make working in advertising worthwhile.
Looking back on your time at The Many, what memory best encapsulates The Many’s culture and your experience here so far?
There are way too many memories that I hold dear to my heart. A lot of these come from our Mistress era, where I’ve met some of my closest friends, some who I still get the pleasure to work with on a daily basis, and others who I get to see succeed from afar. I guess what I’m trying to say is that The Many’s biggest cultural advantage is its people and the bonds we are able to craft with one another through shared experiences and the work we do.
Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
The former! I think going on a cross-country adventure with an Aries would actually make the trip that much more fun due to their entertaining chaotic energy. Also, have you seen one drive? We’d get to our destination in no time! (or die trying).

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Katie Braverman, from Junior Designer to Designer

How long have you been at The Many? 
10 months!
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
This is my first major design gig post-grad. With that comes a little self-doubt and a lot of challenging comfortable 😉 This promotion is my success story…along with some incredible work I am truly very proud of.  
Looking back on your time at The Many, what memory best encapsulates The Many’s culture and your experience here so far?
Living, laughing, and loving on a daily basis with my design besties<3
Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
A vacation from my phone while on a vacation, that’s the dream!!!

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Liz Mowinski, from Group Brand Director to Head of Brand

How long have you been at The Many?  
Eight months.
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
Staying focused on the future, hoping my greatest successes are in front of me!
Looking back on your time at The Many, what memory best encapsulates The Many’s culture and your experience here so far? 
Hands down, it’s the people that make this place so special.  We have a real blend of heart, head and hustle which is truly hard to create and I never take that for granted.  We also have a tendency to over-index on genuine people that really give a damn…even going out of their way to grab you at LAX when you’re in a pinch!

Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
International vacay with no phone is an easy ace! So for that reason, I choose road trip.  It’s a better way to challenge myself while enjoying the sites and stimulating discussion from my polar opposite!

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Maddie Avjean, from Designer to Senior Designer

How long have you been at The Many? 
One year this month.
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
I think my favorite success story thus far was the Comic-Con truck we worked on for the launch of Chucky. Being able to make something physical is always super rewarding and then seeing videos and photos of people waiting 90+ minutes to experience something we created was really exciting. 
Looking back on your time at The Many, what memory best encapsulates The Many’s culture and your experience here so far?
Let’s just say the design team knows how to party.
Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
I’ve been known to have control issues when it comes to road-tripping (and life?) so respectfully I am going to pass on traveling cross country with a Gemini. I’ll go for no phone on an International vacation but can I bring my iPad (for the games…)

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Robert Diep, from Junior Designer to Designer

How long have you been at The Many? 
It’ll be one year in April!
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
Juggling multiple branding projects simultaneously truly pushed my skills as a designer. Though it was challenging to create so many different concepts with such limited time, I feel like I’ve leveled up twice over after experiencing the entire process.
Looking back on your time at The Many, what memory best encapsulates The Many’s culture and your experience here so far?
Any time the design team gets to shoot the s***, 100%! Starting at The Many during this remote-work era makes me really appreciate the chances we do get to chill IRL. Work hard, play hard.
Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
Cross country road trip with a Pisces, babyyyyy. I have a lot of history with Pisces, so we know what we’re working with here. They just have a lot of feelings!

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Sofie Duzian, from Junior Strategist to Social Strategist / Community Manager 

How long have you been at The Many?
One year and three months.
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
Having supported pretty much every vertical on eBay has been an incredible opportunity and accomplishment. I feel really lucky to work with so many talented folks in creating the social DNA for an amazing brand. 
Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
International vacation! Ideally, on a beach where there is music blasting and I’ll be so relaxed, I won’t even remember what a phone is.

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Trevor Paperny, from Senior Producer to Executive Producer

How long have you been at The Many? 
Eight years come April. 
What was your biggest success story thus far at The Many?
Having started as an office PA and continuing the journey to where I am now is quite awesome to look back on. I think in a nutshell this showcases the culture and values of our agency and I am grateful to have had the support and opportunity from the team/partners to get to where I am today. 
Pick your poison: cross country travel (by car) with an incompatible Zodiac sign or go on an international vacation without your phone for the first four days.
Absolutely the International vacation.

Dave Horowitz’s Short Film Selected for NiteHawk Shorts Festival

Blake Marquis | Mar. 3 2022

A big round of applause to Dave Horowitz, Head of Production, as his short film, David Bowie Is — An Evening with Mick Rock At The Brooklyn Museum, was selected for this year’s NiteHawk Shorts Festival.
What started as an adventurous meeting at a hotel twenty plus years ago while Dave was playing a string of U.K. shows with The Cloud Room, led to Dave hanging out with Mick Rock for hours as he captured content for the short film.
Dave’s 12-minute homage gives viewers a glimpse into what he got out of the experience of hanging out with Mick Rock: “a glimpse into a special man who was, put simply — really f****** cool.”
Check out Dave’s article on Talkhouse about his short film.

Dave Horowitz is the Head of Production at The Many

Jorge Andrade Named a 2022 Person to Watch by GDUSA Magazine

Blake Marquis | Feb. 22 2022

Jorge Andrade, the man, the myth, the legend! Our award winning Director of Design has been named one of GDUSA’s 2022 People to Watch!
From the incredible “Thank a Queen” project Jorge spearheaded to building an exceptional design department over the years that plays a critical part in our successes, Jorge is an instrumental role in what The Many is today and we have so much appreciation for him.
So, from all of us at The Many (and especially the design department that you mentor and position to be the best) – Jorge, congratulations on being part of GDUSA’s 2022 People to Watch.
Check out the full list on GDUSA.

Black History Month Presented by the Black @ The Many ERG

Blake Marquis | Feb. 15 2022

The Black @ The Many ERG is made up of 19 incredible individuals spanning across The Many’s brand, creative, design, growth, media, operations, project management, and strategy departments. Black History is here, but before we celebrate heroes, champions and trailblazers of the past, present and future, we’re shining the line on our own heroes, champions, and trailblazers at The Many. So for those that don’t know us, have yet to work with us, or are standing on the sideline (what’s up future employees) wanting to see more from us, here is an intro to some of the folks that make up the Black @ The Many ERG, aka B@TM.

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Alexis Oguiké, Project Manager

How long have you been working at The Many: 8 months

We’re not monolithic so where are your roots from and how has that upbringing defined who you are as a Black person in America today?
I was born and raised in the burbs of Chicago, Illinois, but my roots run back to Imo State, Nigeria –specifically the Igbo tribe. My entire family on, both, my mother and father’s side were all born in Nigeria, making me the first born and raised U.S citizen in my family. This, of course, made life somewhat ‘interesting‘ growing up Black in America.
At home, I operated under Nigerian customs and traditions, but out in the world, I adjusted to American culture. Yet in both environments, I never really felt like I belonged. I wasn’t ‘African enough’ and was considered too Americanized, while also not being ‘Black enough’ because of my likes, interests, style, etc. And I definitely wasn’t white enough – despite being referred to as an ‘Oreo’  numerous times growing up.
Nonetheless, I was grateful to have experienced my Nigerian culture while being Black in America. It taught me so many things from my core values to the way I dress, how to style my hair, the types of foods I like, and the music I listen to. Having this exposure at home ultimately shaped my Black identity today. And that’s something I (unfortunately) used to be ashamed of, but can now look back on and find so much pride in. I started to embrace my differences and began to pull them into my Black culture as I grew. I incorporated afro-beats into my dance routines in school. I fell in love with spices and pulled them into SO many recipes. I even fused Nigerian print/Ankara fabric into the Black modern fashion line I manage with my sister.
As I grew, I realized that there really is no one way to be Black in America. We’re all just a mixing pot of so many different cultures and backgrounds which makes being Black, truly amazing.
What has being Black taught you in advertising?
In Advertising, being Black taught me to – Prove. Them. Wrong.
Looking back, I was probably 1 of 3 other Black people in my graduating class from the College of Media, so I’ve always been the one Black girl amongst my peers. And unfortunately, that didn’t change much as I entered into the working world. No one truly believed that I would ‘make it’ in this industry. I even remember an old agency coworker ‘jokingly’ saying that the only reason why I was here was because they needed to fulfill a diversity quota (I know, I wanted to slap her into the next week, but I remained professional haha).
Regardless, I kept persevering. I joined the black ERGs, I joined the diversity teams. And I even found a new passion I never knew I had – helping minorities thrive in advertising. I wanted to inform many Black students about advertising and the world of marketing, so I connected with some students from my old college and gained some mentees. The issue wasn’t that we weren’t ‘good’ enough to be here, it was that the knowledge of this field wasn’t even known! That’s why I’m always rooting for anyone Black. Because when the world expects you to fail, who else will support and cheer you on other than your own community? And as we continue to rise and thrive in the world of advertising, the content and creative we touch then inspires the rest of the world. So many hot trends in today’s culture originated from Black people.
So despite the hurdles, glass ceilings, and numerous obstacles we face in this industry (as well as in the media), advertising taught me to keep pushing forward, keep proving them wrong, and keep being unapologetically Black.

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Anissa Sanders, Media Supervisor

How long have you been working at The Many: 1 year and 2 months

We’re not monolithic so where are your roots from and how has that upbringing defined who you are as a Black person in America today?
Growing up, I moved quite a bit but had my formative years across South Carolina, Virginia, and California. With each move, it was rare that people in my classes and neighborhoods looked like me. I constantly was adapting to new environments and cultures but sometimes it felt like it was at the expense of my own.
As I got older, learned more about my own history and culture, I began to understand and embrace what it means to be Black to me. It’s not something a history lesson could show me or even my parents could define for me. It was something I had to figure out for myself. There’s a foundation that sets the tone but with more experiences and years of life – the structure is constantly changing and evolving.
What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
Be myself — I show up and show out unapologetically as myself each day. Being a Black woman in America is hard but it’s also a unique experience. Oftentimes we’re associated with the stereotypes of aggression, intimidation and anger but I don’t let those stereotypes define me.
We all have emotions and opinions and how one chooses to associate those based on skin color is a reflection of them—not me. I walk through life with my head held high and use my voice because many before me were beaten down for doing the same thing. Not only do I owe it to myself to be me, but also to generations past and future as a reminder we matter. In all things—we matter and our voices matter.

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Brittany Goode, Associate Media Director

How long have you been working at The Many? 1 month

We’re not monolithic so where are your roots from and how has that upbringing defined who you are as a Black person in America today?
Growing up in a military family, we bounced around a bit before settling down in New York City. The range of environments I was exposed to helped me ground myself and understand what it means to be Black from a young age. Getting to my roots, both sides of my family are from the South, my mother is from Louisiana and my father is from Virginia. We learned to keep our heads up, be confident in who we are, have faith, and know where we come from. However, learning where we come from is difficult. I can’t recall the moment I was first introduced to my history, but I do know I felt anger, sadness, and overall discomfort.
As a child, I didn’t fully grasp it, but as I matured and learned, I began to understand the gravity of what my ancestors endured. Though there is a deep history of violence and trauma, that does not define who I am. That feeling of discomfort turned into PRIDE. The resilience, courage, strength and love of the generations before me runs in my veins and I wear it like a crown. We all have unique cultures, stories and experiences, but share a foundation of power rooted in making the impossible possible.
What does an accurate representation of black in the workplace look like to you?
For me, an accurate representation is having Black presence from entry-level to executive positions. It’s being our authentic selves in every space we hold and feeling comfortable using our voices. It’s not just having a seat at the table, but also thriving.

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Ifetayo Jabari-Kitwala, Growth Coordinator

How long have you been working at The Many? 6 months

What is our responsibility to the culture as black people in America?
Our responsibility to the culture as Black people in this country is to understand that not everyone is going to ‘get it.’ So when they don’t or when they try, but overstep, it is crucial to not let their ignorance cloud or take away from the richness of our culture. Our responsibility is to keep our culture alive, unified, strong, and pure. Our unification and Black excellence does not need to be gatekept, but it is also NOT our responsibility to be a steward of access for other people into our culture. There is a balance. Our responsibility is having that personal balance.
What do you love most about being Black?
I love being Black because there is a continuous and constant evolution and discovery around me. I grew up with such a jaded view of what it meant to be Black in this country – what can I wear, what can I say, how can I say it.
My mom and my dad, both 100% Black, raised me on two opposite sides of the spectrum, one told me to keep my head down and one to me to never look down when challenged. Although this led to several cultural identity crises before the age of 21, it also made me love being Black. I first-handily experienced all of their intersectionalities that live within a Black community. These intersections happen when there is a mix of not only larger call-outs like dialect, education, financial literacy, but also the more mundane differences that an outside may not pick up on such as elderly presence in the home and the way you cook your mac & cheese.
I love being Black because our greatness is not only never ending, but it is ever-evolving.

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Iman Forde, Director of Project Management

How long have you been working at The Many? 7 years

We’re not monolithic so where are your roots from and how has that upbringing defined who you are as a Black person in America today?
I’m biracial with a French/Caribbean mother and French/English father, and I was born in France, with most of my family still living there. In France, Black people aren’t lumped into one category and people are more tied to their home country and traditions – for example, we recognize and celebrate the differences between a Senegalese person and a person from my family’s island, Guadeloupe.
In the US, I find it disappointing that Blackness is often seen as monolithic, but I’ve tried to flip the script and instead enjoy all the things that we have in common despite our differences. Being raised by my white father in predominantly white spaces was also quite confusing as I never felt white or Black enough. I tended to go with the French mentality of deprioritizing race because it felt too uncomfortable, but it wasn’t until I was older that I realized I was doing a disservice to myself in trying to ignore or erase a big part of what makes me, me. It’s been a long internal journey, but I’m incredibly proud to be Black and love that I do stand out in the way that I look.
What is our responsibility to the culture as Black people in America?
It’s our responsibility to break stereotypes and also expand on what the Black experience is. Showing Black people creating, supporting, and succeeding is extremely important as it shows the vastness of who we are, but also inspire others. Everybody says “representation matters” for a reason – it reminds us that we aren’t alone in this world and encourages us to break the mold. 

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Jesiah Atkinson, Junior Designer

How long have you been working at The Many? 7 months

What advice would you give other Black creatives that want to make it in advertising?
Don’t get caught up in the current lack of representation across the numerous positions within this industry. Try not to take it super personal when you’re in a meeting and either no one looks like you or there’s only a small few. Don’t make yourself small. Be YOU.
Resist the urge to make your non-black colleagues feel comfortable by way of subduing who you are. And if you see something that isn’t right, something that is offensive, call it out. Understand that the old days where black people stood by and let non-black people subdue us, use us and silence us, are over. There are many roots to be uprooted and you are a part of an entire group of Black people across the world who are taking center stage and are serving as more than a hashtag or fulfilling a quota.
You are helping change the world and set the standard. You are helping shift the playing field. Be confident. Be sincere. Do not let anyone silence you. Do not be afraid.
What do you love most about being Black?
I love how resilient we are. Entire systems around the world have been built with the intention of subduing (and literally killing) us and our talents and still, we push past the adversity and succeed. We are a people who remain full of joy, despite the fact that the world has been against us for centuries.
We are creative, spearheading entire movements and shifting culture without even trying.
We are the blueprint to most of your slang.
We set the standard for what is “cool” in mainstream media spanning across the globe.
Our music. Our language. The way we dress. The way we move. Everything.
And *that* is something I’m proud of.
What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
As a Black person in America, I have set the standard within myself to always approach everything sincerely. To not shrink myself, regardless of how many people in the room don’t look like me. To always make sure that I am representing myself authentically. I know that as a Black person, I have to not only work harder, but smarter than my non-black counterparts in certain spaces.

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Justice McCree, Senior Digital Specialist

How long have you been working at The Many? 2 years

What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
The standards I’ve placed on myself as a Black man in America are deeply rooted in my upbringing. Watching my parents work so hard to try to make my life better than theirs, constructed the ideals that I live by.
Although I’m not perfect, I strive to make every day better than the last by putting forth 110% effort in all I do, leaving a positive impact on those I meet, and , above all, remaining loyal to who I am. By doing so, I work towards the goal of setting a precedent for the next generation, so that one day my children, too, may have a better life than mine.
What does an accurate representation of Black in the workplace look like to you?
To me, an accurate representation would reflect Black talent showcased throughout an org chart, all the way from the top through the bottom. A workplace featuring diversity across all levels, within multiple departments, helps promote cultural change and builds a better sense of community.

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Kristin Grant, Brand Strategist

How long have you been working at The Many? 4 months

What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
The standard I set for myself as a Black woman is grounded in the lessons I learned early on from my family, specifically my mom, who embodies each day the standard of always showing up as yourself, even when that’s not what others may want you to be.
I live by the mantra that it’s none of my business how other people perceive me, just how I perceive myself. Making my standard a daily exercise in staying true to myself, showing up as I am, and taking up space.
What advice would you give other Black creatives that want to make it in advertising?
Don’t let the limitations of other people’s lack of imagination stop you from trying.
There is no one path to advertising, and your life experience outside of the industry, may very well be the thing that fuels you to create great work that truly represents all of the various intersections of life you reside in.
You’ll know the right agency/role, when you see it, because it will be the one that celebrates every aspect of your back story and supports you on your journey.

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Marcus Blackwell, Senior Copywriter

How long have you been at The Many? 6 months

What does an accurate representation of Black in the workplace look like to you?
For me, it’s when there’s a diverse group of Black leadership and true representation from one team to the next. There’s an infinite amount of talent within our community — in all fields. It’s endless. An accurate representation for me is when that’s showcased at all levels.
What advice would you give other Black creatives that want to make it in advertising?
We as Black creatives are the innovators, influencers and driving force behind so much of culture. Create with that confidence and mindset.
It might sound simple, but stay true to yourself. Be unapologetic.  When navigating into and through the world of advertising, remember that your unique skill set, creativity and POV is BEYOND valuable. It’s important for us to tell our stories, our way.  In my experience, I’ve learned how necessary it is to lift each other up. Connect and collaborate with other Black creatives, and mention their names when opportunities pop up.
Speak up when things don’t feel right.
Be open to advice from those who’ve been in the game longer, but remember that there isn’t only “one” way to do this.

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Melvin Johnson, IT & Facilities Coordinator

How long have you been working at The Many? 11 months

What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
The standard that I have set for myself as a Black man in America is to be the change I’d like to see in the world and lead by example.
What are we doing RIGHT as a culture?
Redefining the status quo.

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Rediate Tekeste, Senior Brand Director

How long have you been working at The Many? 11 months

We’re not monolithic so where are your roots from and how has that upbringing defined who you are as a Black person in America today?
I was born in Ethiopia, raised in Iowa, and I’ve lived in Arizona, back in Ethiopia, and now in L.A.
My identity journey as a Black person in America, was at the very least a challenging evolution, at the most – traumatic. Growing up, I didn’t really reflect on it, but when I moved back to Ethiopia after college, I expected to fit right in (I mean, everyone looked like me…), and boy – was I wrong. I quickly realized I was more American than Ethiopian in a lot of ways. I started feeling like I was never enough of one-culture or another.  The turning point was actually in my professional life – I started working as a field producer on an international documentary and my ability to understand cultural nuances, code-shift, and fluidly move between different cultures (in different countries) was immensely valuable. I met more third-culture people, immersed in Ethiopian and Black culture, and started finding the value of my experience.
I realized that identity is not stagnant and that it will continuously evolve. 
Being Black in America, to me, is having an awareness of the history and a reverence for the resilience of the people before me. Knowing that there is power in our shared experiences. Understanding that my origin story may be different, but the America we navigate is the same.
We are valuable because we can code-shift, we understand different viewpoints, and our melanin is beautiful – wherever it’s rooted. I am not monolithic.
I am Black. I am Ethiopian. I am American.
What has being Black taught you in advertising?
I’ve learned that my voice is important and it makes a difference. When I was little, my sister would say a random product and I would make up a commercial (I was a weird kid). I had no idea that meant I should be in advertising, I just loved storytelling. After working in a super culture-forward agency, I realized that my little kid dreams were coming true. I could be part of a team that created content with people that looked like me, had my experiences, had diverse experiences, connected with different audiences – and it was still relevant to a brand. Whenever I want to just not say anything (to protect myself professionally…or because I’m tired), I try to remember that there’s some random little Black girl in Iowa that might see what we create and feel like she’s more relevant to the world.

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Shera White, Project Coordinator

How long have you been working at The Many? 2 years

What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
I love everything about this question and the accountability it comes with as a Black individual. I do my best to change the narrative from storytelling and wanting special treatment simply because I am Black. Historically – it is true that I am impacted by generational trauma but how I move forward is what matters the most. The standard I have set for myself as a Black American woman has a strong presence today, focusing on my mental health, nourishing my body. My goal isn’t to be perfect, it’s to never give up. Showing up as my authentic self and making sure that I have self-compassion.
What do you love most about being Black?
My skin makes me the proudest because it was a gift given to me at birth by my late father (Howard James White). I realize how fortunate I am to have this brown skin. The strength, resilience, courage and JOY that it comes with is like having superpowers. It has protected me, guided me and reminded me to be strong. I do realize the stigma attached to our skin, the torture, humiliation and heartbreak of those before me, even being called ugly for no reason. So every time I look down at my brown skin I am reminded of my father’s love, BLACK JOY and I’m full of gratitude. Thanks, Dad for making me a brown skin girl!!

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Thaxton Scott, Associate Brand Director

How long have you been working at The Many? 5 months

What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
The possibilities and standards for me as a Black man are limitless. I am a firm believer in having my own personal standard of excellence and every day I aim to maintain that for myself. It’s important that I continuously pour into my community to ensure we are evolving and striving to uphold Black excellence. More importantly, the true gem and standard my family has taught me to live by is trusting my instincts and always showing up to any room confidently and authentically me. There’s just a certain level of swagger, finesse and power that we, as Black people, possess and it’s truly unmatched.
What do you love most about being Black?
What I love most about being Black is OUR CULTURE. Our culture has influenced the world and nothing would be what it is without Black culture. I love the fact that Black people share an unspoken bond (Black Twitter, for example). Seemingly, we were all raised the same, love a good loud laugh, the joy that comes from a family gathering, our music *chef’s kiss* — everything. While the misappropriation of Black culture in our society is heart wrenching, it goes to show how impactful and influential Black culture is to the world we live in.

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Thompson ‘Tomo’ Imasogie, Senior Art Director

How long have you been at The Many? 6 months

What has being Black taught you in advertising?
Being Black and working in advertising has taught me a lot about the power/influence that we have through media.
As a creative, I find it important to ensure that black people are represented in an authentic manner that doesn’t reinforce negative stereotypes or promote non-constructive behavior. On a professional level, I’ve also learned what it means to be Black in the workplace.
Advertising/media has a long history of racism. Not only from the work that’s being produced but the workplace environment as well. My experiences at various agencies has opened my eyes to many of the problems that exist in our industry which in turn has impacted not only how I view the workplace but also my long-term career goals.
What is our responsibility to the culture as Black people in America?
It is our responsibility to keep pushing/reminding our people that it’s okay to think, feel, and be BLACK. It’s okay to have a Black consciousness, a Black POV, and respond/react to things in a Black way without worrying about how it will make non-black folks feel – as well as the “consequences” that might follow due to their discomfort. It’s also our responsibility to remind each other of the greatness that already lives within us. We are more than capable of problem-solving, being independent, being self-sufficient, and uplifting our communities.

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Tirris 'Ty' Gates, Communications Manager

How long have you been working at The Many? 10 months

How has the word ‘privilege’ affected you in the workplace?
Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that people with a sense of privilege can get off some wild, and sometimes disrespectful, opinions. I’ve also noticed that they can take your ideas and reap the benefits. I remember speaking up once back in the day on what I thought was the right approach for a client’s announcement rollout and was completely shut down. At the next meeting a coworker took that same approach but wrapped it up with that sense of privilege and it was considered “great insight.”

What does an accurate representation of Black in the workplace look like to you?

I would say what we have going on at The Many is the start to an accurate representation of Black in the workplace that I’ve seen in my career. It is nice not being the only one or one of less than five.
Put yourself in my shoes during the moments following George Floyd’s death. The only Black person in a 20 person company (four of us were based in America while the rest were in the EU). I didn’t really have an opinion on the matter as everything was unfolding, but I was spotlighted for an opinion as the resident Black during a global meeting. I remember sitting there like, “do these people think I can somehow channel the thoughts of every Black person in the world and deliver a synopsis on what everyone was feeling? This is wild.”
Would that had happen with a more prominent representation of Black folks?

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Yasmine Nozile, Managing Director – Finance
How long have you been working at The Many? 9 months
What standards have you set for yourself as a Black person in America?
Walking in my own unique path is most definitely the standard I’ve set for myself as a Black WOMAN in America. Having to walk into a room knowing I am viewed by many as a “double minority” adds a certain level of pressure whether you know it or not. Therefore, if I live and lead knowing that any and everything that I am doing is of high standards, the burden of those expectations or comparison have little value. But my relationships and impact are ultimately the story that is told as I walk through doors.
What are we doing RIGHT as a culture?
As a culture, we are now focused on wealth generation, financial education and closing the wealth gap which is SUPER DOPE to me. On the heels of the 2020 Pandemic, I watched many people in our community take ownership in educating our community in investing, money management, estate planning and several other areas for free. The community that has been built and the movement itself is one that I am a part of and SUPER passionate about. It only takes a dollar. But teaching our community what to do with the dollar once they have it is a task that no one took the time to teach. But we now have the platforms and the knowledge barrier is gone.