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Draftfcb Shows Love at the Chicago Pride Parade

Written by Jeremy Pettet, Chicago Account Supervisor

I had only been at Draftfcb a few months when the agency’s “It Gets Better” video premiered to Chicago employees during the agency’s 2010 holiday party. I’d heard rumblings about the video but had yet to see it, so when it played in its entirety and was met with a standing ovation, I was moved to tears by the warmth and support shown.
So when our GLBT business resource group, IPGLBT, proposed that Draftfcb participate in the 2012 Chicago Pride Parade, it wasn’t surprising that we were met with enthusiastic support from all across the agency. We partnered with DFCBX, our experiential/events arm, and various departments within the agency, to create a float that showcased Draftfcb’s diversity and solidarity among employees, while at the same time demonstrating our creativity and, of course, our GLBT pride.
All employees were invited to participate and either ride on or march alongside the float. The float highlighted all of our business resource groups (BRGs) and engaged parade-goers to tweet to the agency’s Twitter feed using “#ChicagoPride,” while employees on the float drew on two 5’x12’ Tyvek canvasses to create artwork that was inspired both by the scenery at the parade and the words in the tweets received.
The result? More than 40 employees dancing down nearly three miles of Chicago streets, surrounded by over 850,000 parade-goers, and two canvasses full of beautiful art.
Chicago President Michael Fassnacht, Chief Strategy Officer Jamie Shuttleworth, and Director of Human Resources Bella Patel, and employees from nearly all disciplines within the agency, and from all of Draftfcb’s BRGs, were on-hand to show their pride and love for the GLBT community.
Draftfcb’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is abundantly clear—aside from this and other GLBT events, the agency also has BRGs for Black employees, women, Asian and Spanish/Latino employees. All year round, the groups strive to support business with multicultural advice and guidance, as well as serve to engage employees and support one another inside and outside of the workplace.
Many companies may play up their diversity credentials without much action to support them, but such is not the case at Draftfcb. This is a place where the agency—as individual employees and as a collective culture—truly “walk the walk” when it comes to diversity & inclusion. And as we walked (or danced, rather) our way down the parade route, I tried to stop every now and then to take it all in. As a gay kid from rural Indiana who never thought it would be possible to live an open, happy life personally and professionally—who thought being gay was something he’d have to hide in order to grow and advance professionally—it was truly a wonderful day.
Once again, I was moved to tears by the warmth and support shown, and I can tell you that in a place like Draftfcb, it does get better.
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