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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Driving Diversity: From Boardrooms to Screens at ET NOW D&I Summit 2024


The ET NOW Diversity & Inclusion Summit 2024, hosted by ET Now Global DEI Alliance on June 21st at the Taj Santacruz in Mumbai, brought together industry leaders to discuss crucial aspects of fostering diversity and inclusion in both corporate environments and creative media.

 

The summit featured illuminating fireside chats with executives from major corporations, as well as a thought-provoking panel discussion on inclusivity in media and advertising. These conversations highlighted the multifaceted approach required to create truly diverse and inclusive spaces across different sectors.

 

In a fireside chat, Aparna Rao, Country Head of Cargill Business Services, shared insights into her company’s D&I journey. Rao emphasised the importance of maintaining momentum in D&I initiatives through robust governance systems. She outlined Cargill’s comprehensive approach, which includes support programs throughout employees’ careers and creating an inclusive ecosystem before hiring. Rao also stressed the importance of data-driven progress tracking to continually refine their initiatives.

 

Sudakshina Bhattacharya, President and Chief Human Resources Officer at HDFC ERGO General Insurance, discussed her company’s “Love All”  initiative. Bhattacharya highlighted the importance of inclusive communication and creating equitable social environments within the organisation. HDFC ERGO’s approach includes targeted programs like Project Gender Balance and special interest groups to foster connections among employees.

 

The summit also featured a panel discussion titled “Frame by Frame: Looking at Inclusivity from a Creative Lens.” Moderated by Binaifer Dulani of Talented Agency, the panel included Manisha Kapoor from the Advertising Standards Council of India, filmmaker Onir, and veteran ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakar.

 

This discussion addressed the challenges in portraying diversity authentically in media and advertising. Kapoor emphasised the need for diversity behind the camera and in creative teams. Onir advocated for more nuanced representation of LGBTQ+ stories, while Kakar shared insights on using storytelling to elevate underrepresented individuals in advertising.

 

The panellists also explored the evolution of gender portrayals in media, calling for more diverse and realistic representations of both women and men. They discussed the role of clients and agencies in driving inclusivity in advertising, agreeing that authentic representation requires deep engagement with the communities being portrayed.

 

Both the corporate leaders and creative professionals underscored the critical role of leadership commitment in driving successful D&I initiatives. They agreed that while diversity can be addressed through policies, true inclusion requires a fundamental shift in mindset across organisations and industries.

 

As the summit demonstrated, creating truly inclusive environments – whether in workplaces or media representations – requires a holistic approach. From comprehensive support programs and data-driven strategies in corporations to authentic storytelling and diverse creative teams in media, the path to inclusivity is multifaceted. By bringing together voices from different sectors, the ET NOW Diversity & Inclusion Summit 2024 provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in creating a more diverse and inclusive future across all aspects of society.


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