CNN host and political commentator Van Jones has been announced as the special keynote speaker at Where Are All The Black People (WAATBP), The One Club for Creativity’s annual diversity conference and career happening this year on September 22-24 and presented online, free of charge.
Jones is an Emmy-nominated producer, and for more than 25 years has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform. In addition to serving as CEO of REFORM Alliance, he has founded and led many thriving social enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Dream Corps, a social justice accelerator that houses Dream Corps TECH, Green For All and #cut50.
His keynote address will kick off the conference on Tuesday, September 22 at 11:00 am EDT.
Typically held in person in New York, WAATBP is this year available online to a global audience and will address the new realities of race, inclusion and diversity in advertising. The conference features dozens of speakers on panels, virtual recruiting, online portfolio reviews, masterclasses and a talent showcase. Registration is now open, there is no cost to attend.
In addition to Jones, WAATBP 2020 speakers include the two industry leaders who came up with the original idea for the event in 2010: Jimmy Smith, chairman/CEO/CCO at Amusement Park Entertainment and One Club Board member, and Jeff Goodby, co-chair/partner, Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
The full list of confirmed speakers also includes Ete Davies, CEO, Engine; Oriel Davis-Lyons, CD, Spotify and head of The One Club’s ONE School free portfolio program for Black creatives; Walter Geer, ECD, experience design, VMLY&R; Amber Guild, president, T Brand, The New York Times; Denise Horn, senior director, corporate communications, WarnerMedia; Nate Nichols, founder/CD, Palette Group; Krystle Watler, managing director, Virtue; Shannon Washington, Group ECD, R/GA and others.
The industry has rallied to support this year's WAATBP, with nearly three-dozen leading agencies and brands so far signed on as sponsors. At the Champion sponsor level are Amazon, Argonaut, Capital One, Google, FCB Global, FCB Health, Mattel, Omnicom Health, Pace Communications and Virtue Worldwide. On board as Advocate sponsors are BBDO, BSSP, COLLINS, The Community, DDB, Disney, Deutsch LA, Energy BBDO, Estée Lauder, FCB NY, Grey, Leo Burnett, McCann, Publicis Health, Vans, VaynerMedia, VMLY&R and Zambezi. Verizon is a Change Agent level sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities still exist, please visit the WAATBP website for information.
WAATBP is one of many ongoing initiatives at The One Club addressing inclusion and diversity in the industry. Along with offering its long-running global Creative Boot Camps, the organization recently launched ONE School, a free 16-week portfolio program for Black creatives, with Fall courses starting this month on the East and West Coasts.
Another recent program is The One Club Diverse Ad Talent Directory, which provides a platform for people of color in a broad range of roles -- account management, admin, creative, HR, media, production, strategy, and technology and analytics -- to upload profiles and be viewed by agencies and brands who want to add diversity to their workforces, and to connect people for networking and mentoring.
Shortly after issuing a Black Lives Matter statement committing to take meaningful action to support the Black creative community, the club also increased diversity within its leadership with the appointments of Gail Anderson, chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and Sherina Florence, creative director at Ogilvy, New York, to its Board of Directors. More than 60% of The One Club Board is made up of women and people of color.