Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access in Insights

Recap of Insight Association’s IDEA Forum


Recently, Insights Association’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) Council hosted the IDEA Forum—a think tank aimed to understand, inspire, and rally insights professionals together we address deficient diversity and inclusion in our profession and the populations we research. We’re proud to be one of the many organizations to sponsor this event and to participate in such meaningful conversation around the future of #mrx. It’s important to advance your practices and policies within your own agencies and departments to continually creates safe spaces and honored lived experiences of others. In case you couldn’t attend, here are four takeaways that focus on the importance of moving your business forward:

  • Sandra Grandsoult and Ana Maria Santos of Equitas Insight’s presentation “Attracting and Building a Diverse and Inclusive Insights Team” was eye-opening on how DEI is impacting our employee satisfaction. Within the marketing industry, 40% of LGBTQIA+ people feel left out at work, and 20% of People of Color are thinking of leaving the industry. So, bringing up others is critical through allyship, value exchange, and supporting each other for success (ex: creating equitable proportional pathways to progression). One message that resonated strongly was that the goal for this work is acculturation NOT assimilation, which is a critical mindset shift in celebrating differences rather than sameness.
  • The panel “Creating & Sustaining a Culture for D&I Within Organizations” discussed what’s important to start a DEI program. Authenticity was decided as a necessity. This work requires uplifting and empowering our employee’s voices to enact change from the bottom-up with top-down implementation. It’s a journey, and leaders should be on board for the long-term, with the warning that this cannot become a marketing initiative. The panelists—including Sherri Dansby and Bridget Hurd of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Sam Albert of Behaviorally, Jaime Klein of Schlesinger Group, and Amy Lin of L3Harris—offered this resource for why diversity programs fail.
  • In the panel “Become Culturally Fluent & Future-Proof our Brand for Growth,” panelists discussed adding accountability and resources to your commitment.
  • In the Day 2 Keynote, “Where We Go From Here: Using Data to Empower Diversity in Our Work,” Sherrel Dorsey, founder of The Plug, challenged us to move from being reactionary to revolutionary. The conversation around DEI has largely only picked up pace in the last year, but it’s not a new conversation. As we go forward, we need to be intentional: who is missing form the conversation? Is our data existing or incomplete? Is our data leading or lagging (ex: measuring current representation is lagging, but recommending others for the company is leading)? Finally, we should be asking questions beyond race, ethnicity, and gender; ask about experiences and other identities they can tap into. Go beyond what you know and are comfortable with.

Making projects DEI friendly and how to implement them along with talking to the right people is critical. Companies with greater gender, racial, and ethnic diversity, including in their leadership ranks, outperform their peers. The IDEA Council’s efforts can provide real, tangible benefits to its members, our industry, and the workforce at large. Learn more about the IDEA Council and its members, including Heather Magaw, CMB’s VP, People & Culture, here.