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Graduates are beginning internships, jobs or awaiting the start of grad school. Or not.

It’s the not category that interests me.

Yes, there are graduates who’ve landed. They’ve likely excelled academically, networked successfully, interviewed-well, landing positions they’ve dreamed of or at least a close second.

But what about those that didn’t land? What about those that didn’t “fit the agency culture?” What about those that didn’t have the industry connections or successful networking? In my experience – both in the classroom and out – this group often has the lion’s share of diverse, first generation-college students.

In my podcast, Gen Z Speaks, I chat with two diverse graduates who landed well: Cole Hines and Damaris Zita. Hearing Damaris and Cole’s success stories – and their perspectives on what needs to change to make their stories the norm, is well worth a listen.

Two things are crystal clear. One, mentoring needs to start early – well before college and robustly while in college. Two, agencies need to mentor diverse new hires – they need on-going programming tailored to nurturing and retaining them.

Think partnerships - agencies and academia & agencies and Community Partners. Consider how GROW might be able to help your agency build a mentoring program linked to Community Partners or build an agency curriculum that fosters on-going development for diverse talent.

It’s on us, all of us, to build spaces that mentor those who have historically not “fit the agency culture.” And, as for “agency culture” – well that’s been one of the biggest deterrents to attracting and retaining diverse talent since the founding of advertising.


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