Kristin Grant on how Championing Accessibility can Drive Business Success

Ty Gates | Mar. 31 2022

In the words of Kristin Grant, “Accessibility isn’t just another buzzword. It’s a societal shift toward creating tangible access for all to the things that have been kept behind lock and key. Each push toward more accessibility challenges the status quo.”
 
For her first-ever Voices of The Many piece published on Ad Age, Kristin explores how as we enter our new normal, one of the major societal shifts we’re seeing is that people are pushing for accessibility to be the norm across all categories and ways of life. Moving us from a culture of exclusivity to inclusivity. The desire for accessibility has found its home in pop culture, fashion, tv, and even tech. It’s clear that the next frontier for accessibility will be one that directly impacts brands and businesses, both internally and externally, as we as a society move through the great resignation and into a more accessible world.
 
Head on over to Ad Age to check it out!

Kristin Grant is a Brand Strategist at The Many

How We Think About Hybrid Culture

Johanna Penry | Mar. 24 2022

As the People Experience Manager, I find myself thinking about culture quite a bit. In the past year alone, The Many has almost doubled in size. With each new hire that comes through our virtual doors, it’s a combination of the work and our culture that will help our people thrive. This begs the question: what does it mean to build a successful hybrid culture, and how can it evolve as we do?
 
Buckle up – this is the part where we take the main topic, and add in the Merriam-Webster definition for context:
 
cul·​ture | \ ˈkəl-chər  \: (noun)

 
So how do we, The Many, think, behave, and work? For that nuanced (and potentially loaded) question, I enlisted the help of a few friends.
 
How we think
Let’s start with our mission, because it frames how we think and shapes everything we do. “We have a culture that at its core is about challenging comfortable,” says Davis Jones, Managing Director, People. “This means that if we set the right context for people to explore their interests, curiosities and perceived limitations in a safe way and empower them to stretch into those places, make mistakes and learn, we unlock a whole other level of growth potential. This is deep work, grounded in authenticity with each other and ourselves. It’s simple, not easy.”  
 
As this concept relates to our culture, it means looking at everything with fresh eyes. Every meeting, every presentation, every chance we have to gather or bond as a team is a chance to “challenge comfortable” and do things in an intentional way that is unique to The Many. 
 
When we think about doing things differently, and intentionally, our approach to diversity and inclusion immediately comes to mind. From launching employee resource groups that provide support and community, to celebrating and learning about each other’s cultures, to hiring diverse talent, we believe diversity is what makes us better. 
 
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the heart of our culture and it’s not fostered by just one person or team, it’s up to each individual at The Many to consciously opt in,”voices Ash Ramirez, DEI Lead. “The work isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight, but as long as we strive for progress over perfection we’ll get to where we want to be.”  
 
You know what else we think? We think our employees should have incredible benefits that are functional and easy to use. We know that there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to wellness, so we offer a monthly mental & physical wellness stipend designed to be both flexible and inclusive of all options to prioritize your wellbeing. Meditation, therapy, in-person and virtual fitness, massages, PT, home gym equipment and more are all part of our benefit offering.
 
Sometimes, recharging takes more than a yoga class or massage. “Our PTO policy is unlimited because we recognize that everyone needs time away in order to fully recharge and that not everyone’s work is done and over in the traditional 9 to 5 world,” remarks Tim Cyrol, Director of Human Resources. “We also believe in taking personal responsibility for managing our own time and workloads, so we let our employees have a say in how much time they need away from work. Whether it’s a couple days tacked on to a weekend or a couple weeks to go explore the world, it’s completely up to them to decide how they’d like to use their unlimited PTO.” . 
 
We also think you deserve Labor Week instead of Labor Day, and while we’re at it, you also deserve additional time off between 12/24 and 1/1. We believe that when you have the time to live your best life or need support to deal with life, you can show up as your best self and create inspired work.
 
How we behave
How we interact with one another is arguably the most important part of who we are as a company. On a daily basis, the best way to describe our vibe is that we stay close and have a ridiculous amount of fun. Some of these moments are structured, while some are more ad hoc. 
 
One of those pieces of structure is what we call The Gathering. “To kickoff and close the week, we pause all that needs to get done on our to-do lists, take the pressure off and come together to connect in a way only The Many can!” says Maggie Cadigan, Managing Director, Growth. “We celebrate all that each team has recently accomplished or aims to achieve, get open and curious about new innovations or work in the world, and challenge our comfort through DE&I and personal growth trainings to advance, strengthen and build a stronger community’” . The Gathering is like family dinner, except it’s every Monday and Friday at 9am PST/12pm EST– it’s blocked off, squad only.

The ad hoc moments in our culture are like finding little nuggets of buried treasure, except you're finding them often and on Slack. Take the channel #photoshopbattle, for example: "Many would look at the name and think that it's a challenge to show off Photoshop chops (there is that element) but mostly it's a place where people can make jokes and commentary about our workplace and the world regardless of skills. It is a cultivating ground of culture in this weird from home era we are in," John Paul Brantly, Senior Designer.

Step 1. post a pic 
Step 2. everyone photoshops the pic 
Step 3. whatever photoshop gets the most trophy emojis basks in divine and eternal glory
 
You never know when the bell will ding, or what the png image will be, but you’re guaranteed to chuckle. And yes, even John Paul Brantly himself has been lovingly trolled– no one is safe.
 
We also have a ghost. Stay with us now. Thelma Todd was a famous actress in the 1930’s, who also happened to run a restaurant in what is now our Los Angeles office hub on the Pacific Coast Highway. Thelma was unfortunately and mysteriously murdered in a garage just above the office, and now we fondly refer to her as the office ghost. So there’s that. 
 
We consistently find ways to integrate and pay tribute to Thelma, as a thank you for letting us use her old stomping grounds without haunting us in a way that would actually scare people off. “I started making custom slack Thelmojis™ to help us all precisely communicate what we mean in full 1930’s attitude on the daily. Recently, she’s actually popped up on slack with an account all her own, delivering good news, troubleshooting, and even advice here and there. I don’t believe in ghosts though, so somebody has to be running her account….. right??” remarks Frank Garguilo, Associate Creative Director. Here’s a sample of Frank’s most recent Themoji pack: 

How we work
One of the first things you’ll notice about how we work together is that no one is too far out of reach. “Everyone at The Many has a seat at the table. Our culture is a direct nod to our name, The Many; we welcome everyone’s diverse perspectives because fresh ideas are what make us better and listening to the talented people we’ve hired remains key to our growth and success,” Courtney Burns, Director of Talent + Culture. Our organization is intentionally flat, emphasizing organizational structure over power. In fact, one of our core values is Passion Without Ego. 
 
In terms of our daily operations, we won’t tell you where you have to dial in from, or when to start or stop working. “Everybody has different needs, different rhythms. We have an opportunity to embrace this. We are aiming to empower our teams to decide the exact hours they work best, and how they can best use office space as a place of intentional connection and collaboration. We continue to push on this, and to question conventional wisdom. Everything we are trying is learning and progress,” Todd Lombardo, Managing Director, Excellence. Read: no micromanaging. We trust our employees.
 
Transparency is also central to how we roll. “Every other Tuesday is Big Tuesday, agency leadership spends the day assessing the business and formulating plans for continued improvement. Each member of the leadership team will then send a recap of the discussion to the entire agency. There is a standing invitation to the entire agency to present any ideas to the leadership team. Twice a year we hold a special event called State of the Many. This is a deep dive into all goings-on in the agency. We’ll look back on where we’ve been and provide a roadmap for where we’re headed. We celebrate our people, our progress, and our work. Most importantly, we take time to kick it as a collective and reflect on where we are and where we’re going. Perhaps most important of all, we encourage people to just reach out if they have a question or something on their mind. Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn,” Melissa Cabral, Head of Strategy. 
 
This is just the highlight reel of our culture. It’s not often you work at a place that employees frequently describe as “special.” At The Many, we let our values and creativity pour into everything we do – and that makes magic.

Q&A with Ash Ramirez About SXSW “The Next Generation of DEI Culture” Panel

Ty Gates | Mar. 14 2022

The recent news coming out of Texas and Florida puts this year’s SXSW in Austin, TX, occurring at an interesting, hard-to-understand, cultural moment.
 
Diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI). An ongoing important topic in our industry that has shed a light on how some truly feel and also spotlighted how much work lies ahead for our industry.
 
Ash Ramirez, DEI Lead, spoke on “The Next Generation of DEI Culture” panel at SXSW on Saturday, March 12 alongside Bennett Bennett, co-founder of 600&Rising; Nate Nichols, founder of Palette Group and co-founder of Allyship & Action; and moderator Jazmine Brown, Ad Council director of DEI.
 
We connected with Ash before and after the panel to get their thoughts on how they anticipate the panel will go, the general vibe at SXSW given what’s happening in the world and in America, and any key takeaways from the panel that resonated with them.


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Pre SXSW
 
Q: How did you end up on this panel, Ash? Also, why is this conversation important to you and important for the industry?
I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Ad Council since I started working in DEI. First, it was attending their events as a MAIPer then it turned into contributing content to their diversity efforts. And before I knew it they kept tapping me for speaking engagements, the latest being this panel.
 
This conversation is important to me for a multitude of reasons, but I think where this is taking place has an added layer of complexity. The panel is intended to have a conversation as it pertains to the future of diversity practices and the effects the work has on our industry. Aside from creating inclusive cultures many of the initiatives DEI leaders are creating are based around social justice efforts. When you add in the fact that Texas is a very conservative state (and in fact has been 1 of 3 states to pass anti-lgbtq bills in the last two weeks), you can’t help but wonder, “why have this type of convo in a place like that”. Ultimately change will not happen if we keep talking to all the people that agree with our efforts. It’s the ones that either don’t have any resources or information to learn more about the subject and why it’s important and the folks that are against topics like teaching LGBTQ+ history or critical race theory in schools that we need to talk to. And I do want to note, these folks don’t just live in the South, they are everywhere including in our industry.
 
Now, these are extremely tough conversations to be had, but if we can get even one person to understand the importance of this work and get them to activate, then the panel will have succeeded.
 
Q: Do you have any outcome hopes for this panel? I.e., what do you hope the industry gains from attending this panel? 
Expanding someone’s perspective will be the biggest win. And personally, I intend to say my peace as it relates to the Anti LGBTQ+ bill in Texas (I am a native Texan and Trans Non-Binary Latine), my hope with that is that it leads to more support for trans orgs and hopefully legislative changes. But for the industry specifically, I hope people understand that everyone has a role to play when it comes to diversity work. It doesn’t just fall on your DEI leads, leadership, or employee resource groups, or BIPOC employees. And I hope leaders get serious (and I mean really serious) about this work. They have to be willing to deal with their white fragility and be open to the folks leading the DE&I efforts – our intention is not to call you out, in fact, we’re calling you in. As a collaborator, as an ally, as a partner.
 
Q: DEI is a topic that, as others and the media have said, sometimes feels like a lot of talk but little action. What actions can the industry take to become more inclusive?
1. Get creative with your talent pipelines. We often hear there’s not enough talent, but I think we haven’t given enough consideration to looking at folks from non-traditional backgrounds/experiences, who have transferrable skills, who have potential and can be taught. I’m also one for creating your own pipeline or partnering with an organization that is starting to tap into one. 
 
2. Invest in your diversity departments. Give your leads what they need – a considerable budget they can work with, folks to help them plan and execute who aren’t just doing it as an “extracurricular”, learning and development, leadership backing, etc. We can’t assume the work can be done without these things, and in fact, you’re actually setting your lead up for failure.
 
3. Consider other facets of diversity as well as intersectionality. We still have plenty of work to do in regards to race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, LGBTQIA+, etc. but there are areas where we have barely scratched the surface – religion, disability (both visible and non-visible), socioeconomic status, parental/caretaker status. We should start to bring awareness and include folks from these areas in the conversation when it comes to inclusion. Intersectionality needs to also be considered as many people don’t just hold one identity, in fact holding more spaces where there’s cross-collaboration between groups can foster inclusivity and unity. 
 
Post SXSW
 
Q: Honestly, what was the vibe like at SXSW? Did you check out any other talks or activations after your panel?
It was a bit surreal to be in a space where there’s a ton of people but also I think there was a sense of appreciation to be back and conversing with people. There weren’t as many folks as I was expecting but the intimacy I think made it all the better experience. I  met Roy Wood Jr and said hi to Alok Vaid-Menon (a trans ICON). I wasn’t there for a long time but I did get to check out a talk on breaking stereotypes on Black fatherhood, Keni Thacker from 100 Roses was there, and it was amazing hearing their experiences.
 
Q: Any takeaways from the panel that resonated with you, Ash?
I think the first is don’t take yourself too seriously. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to us walking on that stage, and I had to remind myself that I’m the subject matter expert and my thoughts are valued. I absolutely loved working with my fellow panelists and moderator. Before this panel, I had worked with these folks from like three degrees of separation, now we’ve gotten close, and I feel like we’ll probably be working together very soon.
 
On a personal note, I almost didn’t come to SXSW because of the anti-trans bill that was passed a few weeks ago and because, as a trans person myself, I didn’t feel 100% safe. But I’m glad I went because I recognized that I had a platform to share my truth and create empathy. After the panel, I got a lot of thank-yous for my vulnerability, and it left me thinking about my next move in this space related to thought leadership. Stay tuned!

Augmented Reality Project “What Once Was” Debuts at SXSW

Ty Gates | 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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y14LUCQBstk&ab_channel=Froliq

CREDITS
 
The Many
Art Director, Harper Biewen
 
Froliq
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
 

Staying Engaged in an At-home Work Environment

Jessica Mesa | Mar. 10 2022

I have committed nearly half of my life to my career in advertising. 
 
That’s over fifteen years at eight different agencies across two states and one island. With that, I’ve discovered one common theme. My level of engagement, excitement and thrill was triggered by working in-person. 
 
Why? Over those fifteen-plus years, life-long friendships were built. I consider these friendships as gifts in different phases of my career. People who have helped celebrate my children’s birthdays became my go-to mentors, gave me hugs on hard days, sent me flowers to help grieve a loss, coached me through personal development…all started in an office. With people.
 
In the fall of 2021, I made a career leap and joined The Many. We are a hybrid agency that supports the well-being of our staff by permanently allowing people to work from anywhere, with the option of going to an office in Pacific Palisades. 
 
In pre-pandemic years, I yearned for that kind of flexible work option. My day-to-day consisted of a three-hour combined commute, arriving home at 7pm on most days. As a parent, extra-curricular sports were out of the question. Making it home for a 5pm practice was wishful thinking. 
 
Fast forward to 2022, we are now living in the era of having the “best of both worlds”. We can work from anywhere in the world, in The Many’s case, with the option of going into an office. But given the distance, I choose to work remotely 99% of the time. This allows me the freedom to be a present and engaged parent, wife and human. 
 
However, this comes at a cost.
 
The remote-first choice strips away the ability to build and cultivate in-person life-long friendships at work. We lose the office banter, post-weekend story shares, or after meeting life catch-ups. These moments simply cannot be replaced by virtual meetings.  
 
But that doesn’t mean we need to lose that connection completely. Instead, we can a) re-think how we foster and cultivate our relationships in and out of the workplace and b) come up with a solution to fill the void.
 
A Harvard Business Review article revealed that lonely employees cost U.S. companies up to $406 billion a year and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the lack of social connections increases the odds of death by at least 50%
 
Research shared in that same article validated that lonely employees have a higher risk of turnover, lower productivity, more missed days at work, and lower quality of work. 
 
I consider myself an extrovert. An outgoing human who thrives and feeds off of human connection, seeking to maximize social engagement. When an extrovert is fulfilled, we will bring 1000% to anything we do. 
 
Since I have chosen the remote-first path, I have felt the humdrum rhythm of the day-to-day. To infuse much-needed human connection, I made brave commitments recently. Said yes to a girl’s trip to Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico, created new friendships and opened doors to future social gatherings.

As an inspiration for others, here are ways some members of the The Many and how they are fulfilling their need for human connection.


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Alex Boothe, Senior Social Strategist

I’m a self-proclaimed social butterfly who thrives on human energy to ‘refuel’ my own personal bank. So once I was able, I jumped at the opportunity to join various rec sports leagues (no matter the sport)—an outdoor soccer league with friends and their friends for weekly games, pick-up basketball on Sunday afternoons with music blasting, and competitive basketball games on Thursday nights which conclude with a few celebration or commiseration drinks afterward.


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Ifetayo Jabari-Kitwala, Growth Coordinator

Murphy (my 10-month-old Lab mix) got me moving again. When I decided to get a dog in late July (because let’s be real, I was at my wit's end of isolation and lack of living connection), I must have gotten the most active one of the bunch because he always wants to play and go outside. His walks are beneficial for both of us and give me a small, but daily dose of human interaction and fresh air.


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Jin Laqui, Project Manager

When gyms started to reopen during the pandemic, it was the perfect time for me to pick up my love for rock climbing again. There’s a huge sense of community at these gyms and everyone is there to support each other, which keeps me returning to this sport. When someone gets to the top of a more difficult route, you can hear claps from random bystanders on the mats. This community that I stumbled upon out of pure curiosity has given me the confidence and strength to always try something new and a constant reminder to keep reaching for success if you fail the first time.


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Lauren Gluck, Director of Growth

In order to fulfill what became a glaring need for human connection in my life, I needed to develop coping mechanisms to help me find finding joy in being alone, but they’ve also given me a better understanding of what I need in my life to feel fulfilled. This includes living close to friends so that, at any time, we can go for a walk, grab a coffee, or meet up at someone's house if the outside world seems like a bit too much that day, going on walks and hikes while listening to books on tape or podcasts - you don’t always need to be alone with your thoughts, and finding exercises and hobbies that break up the work day from the non-work day, from cooking to stretching to journaling to (let’s be honest) looking at TikTok.


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Mars Milisic, Creative Director

As an extrovert, I need an activity that allows my soul to say “hello!!!” to strangers. Luckily I’ve recently inherited my mom's bike. And biking so happens to be a perfect activity if you’re a social butterfly. I ride my bike all around town, anywhere and everywhere possible—coffee shops, the grocery store, karaoke bar, or simply up a new street just because. What’s nice about bike riding is the interactions you get with walkers and other fellow riders. So yes, I’m that girl, with the bell going “ding ding ding” just so I can say, “Hey what’s up hello!” I crave connection and pedaling across town allows me to connect with my community.


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Wow, how lucky to have such motivating co-workers — a reminder that while we aren’t in person, we connect on so many different levels. 
 
As more companies follow the remote-first approach, employees will continue to yearn for ways to satisfy their human connection fix. We will need to tap into creative ways to create and cultivate relationships outside of our workplace. Stepping out of our comfort zones, tapping into new experiences and simply celebrating this new, beautiful way of life.
 
This may be the very beginning of reshaping American work culture, and we’re here for it! 

Jessica Mesa is an Associate Director of Project Management 

Samantha Petrossi on Intentionally Innovating to Create a Better World

Ty Gates | Mar. 18 2022

In the words of French writer Milan Kundera, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation” and the world today is filled with incredible innovations from pioneer companies. But at what costs to us?
 
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, etc. were created with the intention to connect communities and the world. Yet in 2022, one could argue that these platforms are the driving force into the divisiveness happening everywhere.
 
Ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft opened up transportation at the touch of a button but opened the door to exploited workforces alongside additional traffic and pollution.
 
In her latest op-ed published on Adweek, Samantha Petrossi explores the double-edged swords of the innovations that surround us daily and the benefits, drawbacks, and precautions of adapting to new innovative technologies. Check it out!

Samantha Petrossi is a Strategy Director at The Many.

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

Ty Gates | 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.

Jackie VanSloten on Rebuilding Relationships with Audiences via Connections Strategy

Ty Gates | Feb. 7 2022

Jackie earns herself a hat trick in her latest return to our Voices of The Many program (three published pieces to date).
 
Titled “How Connections Planning Can Rebuild Relationships With Audiences,” Jackie breaks down what Connections Strategy is, how it fell to the wayside in the early 2000s, and why, as privacy concerns continue to impact connections, advertising should transition to be more audience-friendly and humane to drive a greater impact.
 
Click over to MediaPost to learn more about Connections Strategy and why Jackie believes Connections Strategy should not just be written as a line item in a scope, but rather a state of mind across every level of the organization.

Jackie VanSloten is a Media Director at The Many

Black History Month Presented by the Black @ The Many ERG

Ty Gates | 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.

Mason Douglass Explores Yasstice for Green M&M

Ty Gates | Jan. 26 2022

Following the January 20th news that Mars Wrigley, makers of M&Ms, was editing the appearances of some of its chocolate characters, Mason Douglass, Senior Copywriter and co-lead of the Pride at The Many ERG, disagreed with the change to Green M&M.
 
Through our Voices of The Many program, Mason is calling for yasstice for Green M&M. In his recently published in Muse by Clio, he explores why the de-yassification of Green M&M is a hate crime against the queer community.

“The narrative I’m choosing to believe is that the de-yassification of Green M&M was the result of a well-intentioned, but culturally out of touch, internal team at MARS (ala Pepsi/Jenner-gate) attempting to future-proof themselves against being canceled for oversexualizing Green M&M. But, unfortunately, knocking her down a couple inches by removing her gogo boots did far worse and riled up the one audience with the most cultural cashey when it comes to how celebrities sashay: the LGBTQAI+ community.”

Click on over to Muse by Clio to get more insight into Mason’s views on the matter and if you’re feeling philanthropic, Robert Diep, junior designer, created this Yasstice for Green M&M NFT. Mason and Robert will be donating the proceeds to GLAAD in Green M&M’s name.

Mason Douglass is a Senior Copywriter at The Many
Robert Diep is a Junior Designer at The Many

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