The Future of Diversity – Standing Shoulder to Shoulder event

Last week Mediatel hosted a day-long online conference, The Future of Diversity – Standing Shoulder to Shoulder, in response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and the calls from adland for meaningful and lasting industry-wide change.

The event followed on from Mediatel’s Michaela Jefferson article ‘Shoulder to shoulder? I’ll tell you what that really means’ in order to keep the conversation of diversity within the advertising industry moving forward.

PHD Speakers

Three representatives from PHD were lucky enough to be invited by Mediatel to speak on a variety of different panels across the day’s packed agenda.

Louise Twycross-Lewis

Louise Twycross-Lewis, our new Head of Insight who made this year’s EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List, for the second year running, joined ‘The Media Leaders of Tomorrow’ panel.

Louise said, “It was a great opportunity to share our personal opinions and experiences from our career journeys in the media/advertising industry and as well as how we feel about diversity in our work environments.”

Demi Abiola

Another one of our speakers was Demi Abiola, Publishing Director, who spoke on the ‘BAME – Time to ditch the label’ panel which was an open and honest conversation about attaching labels to things and the problems with doing so.

Demi said “What made the session good was bringing the focus to a media planning and buying perspective and how we can change the narrative within clients and media owners. This touched upon inherent bias within media measurement systems like BARB and TGI against diverse TV channels/publications. It was refreshing to have competing points of view and indeed I was challenged as a buyer about what I was doing in this debate.
We collectively decided that the ‘BAME’ should be ditched and ‘multi-cultural’ was a better way of expressing this term.

Demi and Louise also highly recommend watching ‘How 56 Black men set out to change the narrative and stop media stereotypes.

They both agreed that “…it was just brilliant, it is provocative but also informative and gets people to challenge their own prejudices. It is really powerful and the founder Cephas is an excellent speaker who touches upon popular culture, politics, celebrity, race, and presents a compelling story.

Lauren Ogundeko

And the final speaker was our Head of Response, Lauren Ogundeko, who hand the opportunity to speak on two panels – ‘It is not about culture fit – it is about culture add’ and ‘Signed, Sealed…. Now Deliver: Why industry leaders must now deliver on their pledge’. You can see all of the panels here.

On the Culture Add panel, Lauren said, “I spoke about why “culture fit” can open the room to discrimination, and whilst having a company culture is a good thing, we have to be careful that it’s not a tool to use to marginalise or leave people out. “Culture add” allows you to bring people in from different backgrounds that build on your current culture and drive change for businesses.”

She also recommended all to watch the ‘How to be an ally: Here’s what white allyship actually looks like’.

This panel spoke not just about posting black squares but how to use your voice as a White ally to really support people from underrepresented backgrounds. Understanding why there is so much anger and how as an ally you can stand up to racism and discriminatory behaviour.

Lauren Ogundeko







Demi Abiola







Louise Twycross-Lewis