OVERVIEWTechnology is making possible more diverse and authentic storytelling, and tech brands are creating campaigns to elevate these new voices.
“Define ‘sameness,’” says Omnicom’s Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren when asked about diversity. “You want to be in an environment that is opposite of that.”
The advancement of technology has opened up content creation to a broader audience and given them the tools and platforms to tell their own diverse stories.
“Technology has democratized storytelling,” said Claudine Cazian, head of entertainment partnerships at Instagram. “It’s given people new pathways to express who they are and what they care about on a global scale.”
The Female Perspective
With its Girl Rising program, HP is focusing on providing support to girls in poverty and launched a competition for girls around the world to submit stories of their lives, from teaching other girls and women to code to describing their personal inspirational stories.
On the CES 2019 stage, HP Chief Communications Officer Karen Kahn shared how HP celebrated a number of these young women by providing micro-grants, highlighting strong women from across the globe.
For Wendy Nguyen, a fashion influencer who was previously a banker at Wells Fargo, the democratization of storytelling is personal. Social media platforms have transformed her career, particularly in the past few months.
“Being short and Asian, I didn’t see that many role models in the fashion world,” she said of starting to blog and creating her online brand.
Nguyen also used social media to share her own #MeToo story, which cultivated a community of support and trust among her followers who took advantage of the platform to share their own stories.
Nguyen, Kahn and Cazian all agree that authenticity is the driving force behind storytelling.
“You now see women being mothers, influencers, creators, friends, activists,” Cazian said.
For Kahn, the impact of HP’s diversity campaigns is the stories they are able to share with the tech industry and the world at large.
“Of course we exist to drive profit,” Kahn said, “but good companies exist to do more.”
In HP’s Reinvent Mindsets campaign, HP has individuals tell their stories of being a veteran looking for employment in corporate America, or being African American and being turned away for jobs, or being Latinx and part of the LGBTQ community.
Cazian highlighted how Instagram users are using the app for activism. For example, actress Rowan Blanchard pushing for LGBTQ equality, and Yara Shahidi empowering young women.
“It’s not just about ethnic diversity,” Warren said. As champions of diversity and inclusion, we should “seek to bring people of color and all people who feel marginalized in the [tech]industry into rooms where typically they haven’t been.”
“We don’t want to be the first and only,” said Warren of making positive change for diversity and inclusion in the tech ecosystem. “We want to be one of many.”
Hear more about storytelling from the female perspective Cazian, Nguyen and Kahn in “C Space Storytellers: Elle” from CES 2019.
This article first appeared in www.gsb.stanford.edu
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