Black lives matter.

This statement should not be up for debate. For us, it isn’t. There is no counterpoint and it carries no conditions. Black lives matter, Black voices matter, Black joy matters, Black peace matters, Black opportunities matter—and matter is the minimum.

As advertisers, we influence culture for a living. It’s our job to change minds and create action. We cannot carry a meaningful cultural conversation by including only a fraction of the voices. A dramatic state change in advertising is past due, and we know it. We’ve heard the call, and we are all rightfully accountable.

On June 9, 2020, 600+ agency professionals led by Bennett D. Bennett and Nathan Young issued an open letter to the advertising industry. That call to action sparked the founding of nonprofit advocacy organization 600 & Rising—and fueled our own commitments as an agency.

These commitments travel alongside a few certainties held across Madwell.

We live and work in the context of white supremacy.

White supremacy is not the bigotry of a select few. It is a systemic social reality, and it’s everywhere. It is ours to confront as individuals and as a society, in culture and in advertising. It’s a human problem, and it’s Madwell’s problem.

Madwell is antiracist.

The opposite of racist isn't not racist. Because in a racist system, doing nothing is continuing harm. A racist system can only be undone through hard work by all of us in our personal and professional lives.

Our complacency is at an end.

We are unwilling to accept a status quo of inequality, exclusion, and violence. We commit to working actively against racism and racist systems. We commit to creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive space. We commit to using our platform, relationships, creativity, money, energy, and time to affect real change. We hold ourselves and our partners accountable.

This is who we are today.

Our agency must represent diversity to its fullest. Right now, it does not. It will require significant change, starting with transparency: we can’t change what we can’t see. 

We have a lot to learn and a long way to go, and we’re committed to that work. Here’s where we stand.

Workforce Data

Race & Ethnicity, All Levels*

Race & Ethnicity, Director Level+

Race & Ethnicity, VP & C-Level

Gender, All Levels

Gender, Director-Level+

Gender, VP & C-Level

*Madwell has offices in Brooklyn, Denver, and Hong Kong. This data represents our US offices.

Workforce data last updated: 7/29/20

We commit to change.

Areas of Focus

Our commitments follow five action areas: Agency Profile, Investing in Our People, Agency Policies & Practices, Culture & Community, and Accountability.

We commit to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive agency profile at every level of seniority.  

Our goal is to be substantially more diverse within 18 months. That means:

Our first goal is to mirror the population’s diversity. Our next goal is to exceed it. We want to see this across all levels of seniority, so that all areas of the company reflect our commitment. We’ll measure and report our progress publicly with quarterly target evaluations.

We commit to reporting on our data publicly.

We’ll report openly on our ethnicity and gender data, and our progress as an agency, by:

We commit to investing in our employee resource groups (ERGs) and in development for our BIPOC staff.

That means two new development budgets to ensure access to learning, development, and career furtherment opportunities, plus funding for the core ERGs that represent our Womxn and Black, IPOC, and LGBTQI employees:

We commit to introducing ongoing bias training across all levels.

We will ensure education for employees at every level, new employees upon arrival, leadership and managers, and everyone involved in Madwell’s hiring process. This means:

We commit to developing a wage equity plan.

We will audit agency pay to make sure that Black Madwellians and Madwellians of color are being compensated fairly (meaning: no less than the average of their peers at the same title).

The exercise will include IPOC and gender equity reviews with the goal of verified wage equity based on experience and title company-wide at the same time.

We commit to a full audit of our agency policies.

The goal of the audit is to review and revise our entire policy spread for any practices not in support of opportunity and equity at Madwell.

The audit will be run by our People & Culture team in collaboration with our newly forming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) panel. It will be completed by October 2020.

We commit to expanding our internship program.

The explicit goal of our internship program going forward is to open up new opportunities and create pathways for people who are otherwise underrepresented in advertising.

Internships are paid and have the intention of ongoing employment or mentorship that lasts beyond the internship itself. A portion of our internships across disciplines will be open-source.

We commit to improving our student outreach.

We will develop relationships with historically Black colleges, local city colleges, and schools including Howard University, COOP, CUNY, and

We’ll do this by tapping into alumni networks, connecting with new grads, attending recruitment fairs, and opening our doors to students through internships.

To start, we’ve donated $8,000 to the Denver Ad School (DAD) Black Creativity Matters agency scholarship fund, which, matched by DAD, covers a full scholarship for a Black creative.

We commit to creating a DEI panel to help hold ourselves accountable.

The panel will include recognized roles of chair, board, and volunteer committee, all serving one-year terms. Alongside agency leadership, the panel will review our progress in the following areas:

We commit to linking our bonuses to our progress.

10% of leadership bonuses will be tied to achieving diversity and inclusion goals.

While these KPIs remain a work in progress, we will share them when complete and invite feedback. Every department leader has a role to play in achieving the outcome we want.

The work continues.

This is just one step on a journey that has no end. We will always be moving forward; we will never be finished. Our progress will be lived and shared: we’ll be updating this page quarterly for visibility and accountability as we go.