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Affecting Change in Advertising & Marketing Right Now

Aired on Zoom - Wednesday, June 10th at 12:00PM PST


It’s Time to Make A Change

We’ve all been inundated with rhetoric this week. I won’t waste words, because words are cheap. Mostly worthless. Action, when properly directed has real value, but only when it affects positive change. The first action everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) should be taking right now, is an honest self-examination of their behavior. Either you are part of the solution or you are contributing to the problem. Consider your actions; what have you done to open doors of opportunity and abolish inequality?

For the past 30+ years I’ve built a career in the media business. I’ve grown and nurtured communities of marketers, agencies and their partners. I’ve been in a position to lift people up, to illuminate good practices and encourage equal opportunity. Time and again, I’ve failed to act. Oh, I’ve talked equality. I support equality. I want equality. I haven’t done shit to make it happen. This is uncomfortable. Shame and regret always is.

I’ve been looking at photos of the crowded rooms during Brand Storytelling at Sundance and Elevate in Park City. Most of the black presence in those pictures consists of musical artists and entertainers, not attendees. We don’t have one black voice on our advisory board.

Our newly forged mission, as individuals and an organization, is to take action that will affect change. We will add black voices to the advisory (there are many brilliant minds that can and will help direct us), we will form an industry task force with a focus on opportunity for young people of color, we will work with industry organizations to support their efforts of inclusion, diversity and equality and we will hold them accountable, as we expect ourselves to be. That’s just a start. Please, watch us and judge us by our actions.

It's time to make a change.

We've canceled our regularly scheduled Live Stream program to bring you a special discussion next week. I read Edward Cotton’s excellent article and immediately reached out to him to host a Live Stream focused on necessary ACTION for the advertising and marketing industry. I am grateful for the participation of panelists Jabari Hearn, Catherine Henry, Donnovan Andrews, and Marla Kaplowitz in this conversation that will focus on specific actions necessary for our industry to move ahead in a long-needed positive direction. Please mark your calendar to join this important discussion. 


Rick Parkhill


Brand Storytelling


Discussion Topics:

- How can C-suite executives and decision makers use their voice to affect change within the industry? 

- How can you actively restructure systems within your company to achieve equity for your employees?

- How do you capture the momentum of this moment and focus it into long-term initiatives for change? 

- How can we as an industry hold one another accountable to our current promise to act? 

Hosted by

Edward Cotton

Creative Strategist Edward Cotton runs his own consulting company helping clients, agencies, and other consultants solve strategic problems and find new opportunities. He has spent more than twenty years as a strategist in the advertising business. He started his career at McCann-Erickson and was a partner and CSO at BSSP. At BSSP he helped grow the agency from 25 employees to over 200. His client experience includes over a decade working on BMW’s MINI brand and many other brands including- Converse, Apple, Unilever, Diageo, Google, Hershey, Sony, and Levi’s. During his tenure at BSSP, the agency won multiple One Show, KELLY, Clio and Effie awards for its work. He has been an Effie Finals Judge and Chair of the 4As Strategy committee. In 2017, he was named by the 4As one of the 100 people who make US advertising great.


Jabari Hearn


Over the course of his career, Jabari Hearn has earned a formidable reputation as a forward-thinking marketing executive who connects mission-driven brands with the heartbeat of popular, urban culture to reach the next generation of consumers.

Currently, Jabari is VP of Brand at Lyft, where he leads the company’s efforts to connect its mission -- to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation -- with its community of riders, drivers, and cities. Most recently, Jabari led the launch of LyftUp, a new comprehensive initiative to expand transportation access to those who need it most. As part of the new initiative, Jabari helped ink a unique partnership with LeBron James to help bring bikeshare access to youth across the U.S.

Before joining Lyft, Jabari led global marketing for mobile hardware at Google, where he launched the Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 3, including award winning campaigns with Childish Gambino. Prior to Google, Jabari led the football, baseball, and training consumer product lines at Nike, where he created some of Nike’s largest campaigns, including the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and the Nike x NFL partnership. Earlier in his career, he led strategy for clients like Adidas and Brand Jordan at Chiat Day and Wieden & Kennedy.

Jabari serves on the advisory board of the Marcus Graham Project working to increase diversity in representation within the media and marketing industries. He holds a BA in Advertising from Southern Methodist University, where he received a full basketball scholarship.

Catherine D. Henry

Palpable Media

Catherine D. Henry is one of the most sought-after female Tech Innovation speakers in the world. As one of the top women covering augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and XR integration, she advises international corporations on “Virtualization Strategies.” Her work combines futurism with technology and strategic implementation from enterprise to entertainment. With a career spanning nearly 20 years in global financial services leading Institutional Sales for private and equity investments,  she focused on "Megatrends" the convergence of technology, social and demographic trends, heading teams across 6 continents. Catherine speaks 5 languages and holds an MA in Economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS and and an MBA the SDA Bocconi. She studied Immersive Filmmaking at the NY Film Academy in 2016 and founded Palpable Media. She also founded the NYC Tech Creatives, the largest creative tech community on the East Coast of the US with nearly 3,000 members. She is a prominent African-American woman in technology.

Donnovan Andrews

Overture Global With a wealth of experience in international tech, media, and advertising –and an expansive background of entre- and intrapreneurship– Donnovan decided to act on his passion to accelerate the traditional approaches to global humanitarianism: through innovation and collaboration.

In 2016, he founded Overture to leverage his connections, and to foster dialogue and partnerships, with the ultimate goal of encouraging development of technology solutions that will improve the lives of humankind.

Before forming Overture, Donnovan was the 4A´s first-ever external appointee. As Chief Advisor of Digital Media and Innovation, he guided the 96-year-old organization and its 800 member agencies in all digital media matters.

In 2010, as VP of Strategic Development for Tribal Fusion, he expanded the firm´s digital marketing industry revenue, reach, and leadership, and built an internal startup: Firefly Video, a calculated video-ad network leveraging site relationships to bring personalized service to brand advertisers worldwide. As Firefly´s President, he steered the site’s global launch in nine countries, establishing offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Earlier in his career, Donnovan built his own agency, Performance Bridge (with clients such as American Express, ESPN, Coca-Cola, Financial Times, AOL, and Sony/BMG), while he managed brands (e.g., Tanqueray, Fast Company, Bank of America, Reuters, and McDonald´s) at Deutsch Advertising and DDB Worldwide.

As an industry expert, Donnovan has been featured in VentureBeat and MediaPost, and as a CNBC contributor. He has lectured about media and technology at Columbia Business School and in Paris at Sciences Po University and Université Paris Dauphine. He has a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Journalism from St. Bonaventure University, and an Executive Education Certificate from Wharton Business School.

Donnovan splits his time between NY and London. He is thrilled at the partnerships and support Overture has already inspired.

Marla Kaplowitz


Bringing 30 years of industry experience in marketing and communications, Marla joined the 4A's in May 2017 to help define and shape the future focus for the association. Under her leadership, the 4A’s purpose is to help empower its members to deliver insightful creativity that drives commerce, and influences culture all while moving the industry forward.

As the former CEO of MEC North America, beginning in 2011, Marla drove the agency’s strategic initiatives with a focus on delivering growth for its people, clients and the industry. Marla led MEC to become a major disruptor in the area of talent management with its innovative approaches to attracting, nurturing and retaining the industry’s top talent. MEC NA was cited in Fortune’s "Great Places to Work" feature and was named in Advertising Age’s "Best Places to Work in Advertising and Marketing" in 2015.

Prior to joining MEC, Marla spent 12 years at Mediavest, where she oversaw the Procter & Gamble Communications Planning assignment for North America, and previously managed a multi-client team. Marla began her career at DMB&B before moving to Ammirati Puris Lintas. Marla serves on the Boards of The Ad Council, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), and Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).

Marla is a member of the Women's Forum of New York. She was recognized by Advertising Age as a ‘Woman to Watch’ in 2012 and was honored by The John A. Reisenbach Foundation in 2016, receiving the Distinguished Citizen Award.


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