February 17, 2018

The 4A’s unveiled a unique, far-ranging program aimed at creating safe and productive work environments that create cultures of inclusion, equity, creative dialogue and social transformation. The intent is to support agencies in eliminating discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation and retaliation.

The program, called Enlightened Workplace Certification®, recognizes that the advertising industry, and its agency workforce, is not immune to recent headlines of bigotry, racism, sexism and misogyny. As a microcosm of society and one with great impact on public thought and consciousness, 4A’s President and CEO Marla Kaplowitz said, the 4A’s believes the industry has both the opportunity and the responsibility to address these issues.

“Leaders are recognizing that more needs to be done to create and sustain cultures where people can feel heard,” Kaplowitz said. “For participating agencies, this program signals to employees, clients and potential talent that guidelines and best practices have been put in place. This is an investment in a holistic approach for agencies to create safe, trusting, empowering and collaborative environments where all can thrive.”

The three key components of the program:

  •     Assess: Provide self-evaluation tools to identify training gaps and needs.
  •     Train: Conduct training and learning experiences to put in place benchmarks and operational standards for behaviors/actions and provide tools and support for identifying and investigating an issue and supporting victims, leaders, HR, managers and individuals. The training experiences offered in the program will be developed in partnership with Glenn Singleton, president and founder of Courageous Conversation™, an award-winning protocol for effectively engaging, sustaining and deepening interracial dialogue, and Barbara Tint, Ph.D., global trainer, consultant and professor covering power, status and gender relations. The training solutions can be used to complement existing programs.
  •     Certify: Recognize and reward with tailored certification distinctions at the organizational level and at the individual level for key roles (e.g., CEO, CTO, CDO).
  •     The certification addresses all areas of compromising behaviors, and the training and learning experiences will span race/ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability status and nationality.

The 4A’s is working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a nonprofit that facilitates the development of standards by accrediting the procedures of standards-developing organizations. ANSI will be authorizing the 4A’s to provide credentials to organizations that have established the appropriate policies, training and conditions for people to thrive, and to provide awards and certificates to individuals who complete the training.

“As one of the most innovative industries driving our economy, it is our responsibility to set a new standard,” said Margie Parker-Lamparillo, 4A’s EVP of learning and development and partnerships. “By taking steps to reshape policies, providing training and access to tools and resources, we lead responsibly by driving commerce and influencing culture.”

Keesha Jean-Baptiste, 4A’s SVP of talent engagement and inclusion, added: “The approach we have taken is not a quick solve but one to address the underlying issues that enable these behaviors. While the spotlight has been on sexual harassment, we know racism, ageism, ableism and homophobia are just as pervasive. We need work cultures where everyone is socially conscious, culturally competent and empathetic to one another’s experiences.”


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