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Getting Fearless With The Brand Lab

Getting Fearless With The Brand Lab Article Featured Image

When was the first time you realized your race? When was the first time you didn’t feel included?

These are just two of the questions posed to our employees by The Brand Lab, a nonprofit determined to create inclusive and diverse workplaces in the marketing industry. We’d already partnered with TBL to find promising interns, so we reached out to this Minneapolis-based organization last summer to help us face our own biases—after the murder, just a few miles from our offices, of George Floyd.

The worldwide movements that followed this event were a much-needed wakeup call for many brands, agencies, and companies, and sparked Lacek to dedicate time and resources to a variety of DEI efforts. TBL’s programs and podcasts challenge agencies to consider bias and exclusion. And we knew their Fearless workshops would help us kick-start long overdue conversations on race, bias, and work.

The first workshop, focused largely on bias, dealt with personal questions most Lacek employees had not openly discussed with coworkers previously. To begin, we reflected individually on our identities (race, religion, appearance, abilities, and more) and how we each navigate the world. Next, we looked outward, meeting in small virtual groups to see how we could hold more open conversations. Later trainings included discussions on the importance of words, understanding privilege, creative blind spots, and more.

Were these conversations uncomfortable? Yes. Should they be? Yes. Do we need to continue to have them? Absolutely. And we learned this work takes practice and ongoing diligence. But we’re hopeful that these discussions are permeating our culture at Lacek. We also realize every one of us must continue these conversations and check ourselves daily—whether talking with colleagues or clients, or producing client work.

 As we consider these trainings, we thank The Brand Lab for their time, energy, and expertise, and for helping us along the path toward change. Completing TBL’s Fearless trainings wasn’t the end—it was only the beginning.

Rachel Klaven serves as an account director and cochair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Education Committee at The Lacek Group, a Minneapolis-based, data-driven loyalty, experience and customer engagement agency that has been delivering personalization for its world-class clients for more than 25 years. The Lacek Group is an Ogilvy Experience company.