Christine Scott starts a consultancy to provide new approaches to DEI

Recognizing current leadership in advertising isn't suited for success, The Accomplice Project aims to bring the perspective needed to dismantle systemic issues.

1653360191520While mentoring advertising students at Toronto’s OCAD University, Christine Scott had a realization about her goals and professional future.

The former managing director of Doug & Partners had been serving as a guest lecturer and official mentor to one the university’s fourth-year classes, and in interacting with those young minds, she saw “such tremendous progress from a decolonization perspective in the work that’s being done at that school,” Scott says.

That came after more than a year of social and political tumult, including the murder of George Floyd, which she describes as a moment that “really impacted my ability to look at the world with the same blinders on that I had been operating with for my life and career.” But the work being done by students helped her to “push past pain into power, and out of anger into action.”

“I thought to myself, ‘here is a group of people who are 100% on the right track in terms of perspectives on representation, inclusion and the tearing down of biases,’” Scott tells strategy. “But I was concerned because I realized they were about to leave school and enter into an industry that would eat them alive, and I realized it was my responsibility as a senior leader in that industry to try and action change at a more senior level so that when these people come into these buildings, they can help effect change from the bottom, as opposed to becoming discouraged.”

And thus, The Accomplice Project – Scott’s consultancy, which aims to work with agencies in a collaborative fashion “to identify biases embedded within organizational structures, strategic approaches and creative outputs and provide decolonized alternatives” – was born. The consultancy co-opts a term often used in social justice circles, Scott says, to represent people who move beyond simple allyship to take an active role in the dismantling of harmful systems.

Through the consultancy, Scott offers business leaders “different points of view outside of the white-centric ones that I’ve crafted my whole career around,” she says. It’s not about erasing those points of view, but rather making sure that they share space with others – especially those of marginalized and racialized individuals.

1653350362835“Without proper representation, especially at a senior level, current leadership [within the industry] is not suited to be successful in DEI efforts, because they don’t have the lived experience to communicate or even identify the biases they hold,” Scott says. “There has to be someone who teaches and enlightens that group at the same level – someone who understands not only what they’re trying to do from an ethical and diversity perspective, but also how to successfully navigate in the industry, how to bring strategy to life, how to apply that thinking to creative and building the right teams.”

“Without someone who has that actual perspective, their communications come across as inauthentic or simply don’t connect with the audience they’re intending to connect with,” Scott adds. “It’s not from lack of effort – it’s just that if you haven’t lived it, you simply can’t know.”

Scott says that she believes she is the person who can bridge the gap. While she is the only full-time employee of the consultancy, she says she has a large network of professionals available to collaborate with on a freelance basis, based on the needs of her clients.