We cherish the powerful uniqueness and value that every single individual brings to the table. When we say “bring your story,” we mean it—there’s nothing more inspirational and effective than our authentic selves.

Diversity and inclusivity have always been core KSM tenets—but we know there’s always more work to be done in this space: We must be relentless in our pursuits of equality and individuality. We must do everything we can to support it now and always.

At KSM, we win together and character matters. We know that equality is not a fad, but a human right. We are always listening and learning. And, most importantly, we take meaningful action.

These actions include consistently revisiting our hiring practices, our training practices, the ways we ensure equity in opportunity, and the many ways we celebrate our community and the various cultures therein. Our goal is to accelerate real and lasting results.

Here’s how we do it:

1. “Culture Add” Philosophy Ingrained in Recruitment and Hiring

  • Ensure a consistently positive, fair, and objective interview experience and evaluations. We emphasize “culture add” vs. “culture fit,” to value the uniqueness of every individual.
  • Enact diversity-focused internship program and/or the cultivation of partnerships with local underserved Chicago public schools.
  • Hire employees from diverse educational backgrounds and transferable skills, not just traditional advertising programs.
  • Support our partnership with the 4As and MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Internship Program).

2. Building a Culture of Inclusion and Ensuring Equity

  • Ensure accountability to our commitments through transparency to our community.
  • Assess pay and promotion structures to ensure equity in opportunity at all levels.
  • Empower and showcase “Bold Building” at every level and across the organization.
  • Encourage and enable diversity of thought through inclusive communication practices.
  • Open access to all developmental opportunities and internal job openings

3. Creating and Continuing Dialogue

  • Conduct a bi-annual survey on diversity and inclusion to consistently hear and listen to our community regarding our commitments and progress.
  • Engage our Diversity Forum to support ongoing diversity discourse with executive leadership and the community at large.
  • Support team conversations following quarterly diversity and inclusion training opportunities.

4. Learning and Engagement

  • Facilitate training related to inclusive communication skills and unconscious bias on a quarterly basis.
  • Introduce a supplementary curriculum for hiring managers on unconscious bias and the importance of our interview protocol.
  • Maintain the KSM Community Resource center to share information and commentary on all related topics to further educate our team

5. Celebrating and Enhancing Community

  • Leverage KSM Cares’ Matching Donations program to augment individual contributions to organizations that matter most to our community.
  • Promote KSM Cares’ Outreach initiatives to support underserved populations throughout Chicagoland and Austin.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate our diverse backgrounds and unique stories.

Our actions are not just a laundry list of to-do’s, but rather a means of further integrating and emphasizing the values we care about for our agency and our wider community. These actions are not fleeting or one-time solves. They are the core of an ongoing commitment to a more equal, diverse, and just future. There’s work to be done, and we’re doing it.

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