Three years ago, in the face of the uprisings following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we made a commitment to change our agency, our community, and our industry.

We knew that wasn’t change that would happen in a year, or two, or three. We committed to it for the long haul, and we asked our community (and each other) to hold us accountable. Part of that accountability comes from our annual update post—a time for us to reflect, to recommit, and to publicly talk about how we’re doing.

Change the way Cornett thinks

We continue to adapt how we do DEI training at Cornett, because we know this isn’t the kind of thing that’s one-and-done. We’re still doing regular trivia nights centered around themes like Black history, AAPI history, and (coming up this month for Pride!) Queer history, which allow everyone to get involved, learn something new, and appreciate the contributions these groups have made to advertising and to Lexington.

We’re also adapting our approach to formal trainings. When new employees join Cornett, they’ll do the same 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge from America & Moore that we all did in 2020—but we’re also planning on doing additional training sessions as a full agency to make sure everyone stays engaged and continues to have conversations about race, racism, privilege, and how it impacts our work and our culture. Those full-agency trainings will also allow us to work alongside other agencies in our BLAC Internship community.

Change the way Cornett looks

Reducing something as complex and nuanced as race, ethnicity and gender down to numbers is always a strange experience—but as the saying (kind of) goes, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” That’s why we continue to post our numbers—breaking them down not only by race, ethnicity and gender, but also by role in the agency.

We’ve been tracking and posting our numbers since 2020, which gives us a chance to compare to where we were. In 2020, we had 53 people working at Cornett. The by-the-numbers breakdown looked like this: 88.33% White, 0% Black, 1.6% Latinx, 1.6% Asian, 5% Multi-Racial.

This year, we have 54 employees, and our breakdown looks a little different: 77.7% White, 9.2% Black, 7.4% Latinx, 1.8% Asian, and 1.8% Multi-Racial.

We’re encouraged by how the faces of our agency have changed since 2020, but we know we still have a long way to go. We’re still having a hard time recruiting non-white candidates, but we’re working hard to find new ways to find the very best talent out there—and to ensure that this is a place where everyone can bring their whole, authentic self to work.

And, of course, we’re still a proud member of BLAC as that program evolves. We’ve been able to bring several graduates of the program on for part-time or full-time positions after their internship ended, and we’re excited to see so much incredible Black talent continue to grow and thrive in the industry.

(Click image to enlarge)
(Click image to enlarge)