What You Need to Know About Being Black and Female in Advertising
Today I'm sharing what you need to know about being Black and female in advertising. I have worked in advertising for almost two years now on some pretty big brands. I love the industry and all the flexibility that comes with it, but growing up I never knew that advertising was open to me.
Being both Black and female means that I am both underrepresented and looked over within advertising. However, the future is female and I believe that representation and shared knowledge can change the game. I hope that you are inspired and empowered when you finish this post. Now let's get down to business.
Always remember... No matter how great you are at your job, you're still Black and female which means you must work 10x's as hard to viewed as “equal.” Papa Pope had it correct.
Rule #1: Be on Time
Time is money. Advertising is flexible depending on which agency you work for. Learn your agency's company culture. Most places aren't 9am-5pm. Most office hours vary by department within agencies, so ask your boss what a typical work day looks like for someone with your title. Your best bet is to ask, rather than show up late. Get to meetings early... never be the last one in the room. If you're running late or cannot make a meeting, then send an email to your team. Communication is key. You never want to drop the ball.
Rule #2: Be Fly
Stunt at the office because you can. Get fly from time to time. In a world, full of deadlines and emails, you've got to add spice to the workspace. You already standout because of your Blackness so serve looks. Keep your hair and nails done. Don't be afraid to wear your natural hair one day, then bundles the next. Advertising is a creative field and you must express yourself through your appearance. When you look fly you feel fly, so give the people what they want!
Rule #3: Be Nice
This goes without saying, but don't be "that Black girl with the bad attitude." Even when you're frustrated, play it cool. If you don't have anything nice to say than be quiet. Never roll your eyes or sigh heavy when irritated. Keep direct eye contact during conversations and smile politely in the hallways. I'm not saying let everyone walk all over you, but you cannot "pop off" on anyone at your agency. Word travels fast and your reputation could be ruined by one nasty email. Be assertive with your tone, but never condemning. You want to be approachable and well-liked.
Rule #4: Be Confident
Remind yourself that you were hired to do your job because you can do just that. Walk with your head held high and shoulders back. I must remind myself that I am worthy of standing in spaces where I am the only Black face. You must remind yourself of this, too.
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