CMA develops diversity mentorship program for marketers

The organization put out a call for mentors to join the program, which is meant to elevate BIPOC and newcomer communities.

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The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) is putting out a call for volunteers to serve as mentors to junior and mid-level marketer mentees from BIPOC and newcomer communities.

CMA Marketing Mentors is an eight-month program that’s expected to launch in the spring. It’s being developed by the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, and mentors and mentees will meet monthly to discuss issues such as psychological safety, navigating career journeys, building a personal brand, and leadership skills.

DEI remains elusive in many organizations, according to Sartaj Sarkaria (pictured), chief of staff, head of professional development and chief diversity officer at the CMA.

Sartaj-SarkariaShe tells strategy a key learning from its first year of research is that, even when senior leaders think they are being inclusive, 52% of people from marginalized communities have personally felt less engaged in the workplace due to systems of discrimination.

“The CMA Marketing Mentors program seeks to not only elevate diverse voices, but also to ensure that all marketers are receiving the support and guidance they need to shine,” Sarkaria says.

Elevating DEI in marketing, she adds, will require a reexamination of the hiring structures and recruitment processes that many organizations have in place.

Sarkaria tells strategy that mentees will be from BIPOC and newcomer communities, and that CMA is encouraging BIPOC and newcomer marketers to serve as mentors. It’s also inviting allies and supporters who want to help build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive marketing profession to serve as mentors and gain perspectives and learnings from their mentees.

“Mentees who prefer a mentor from a BIPOC or newcomer community can request this when they sign up, and we will do our best to accommodate them,” Sarkaria says.

Mentors must be marketers at a director level or above and employed by a CMA member organization. Applicants should have experience with, or a strong commitment to, making the marketing profession more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Mentors and mentees will also be matched based on shared interests and goals, according to the CMA.

“We are completing our second year of research – partnering with Brunico and others – to assess progress and identify additional ways that we can cultivate an environment that is inclusive, respectful and supportive of all,” Sarkaria says.

The CMA is sharing program details through its network of volunteers and subscribers, as well as through social. It’s also reaching out to partners such as Dentsu, RBC, BMO, Canadian Tire, Loblaw and Kaiser & Partners, and other organizations such as the Black Talent Initiative, Hire BIPOC, Equal as Family and the Pinball Clemons Foundation.