New #OOH United DEI Initiative

Russ Curry, Ministry of New Media

The Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the national trade association for the entire out-of-home (OOH) and digital OOH media ecosystem, has announced a joint diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative in partnership with Geopath, the not-for-profit organisation that provides the industry-standard measurement currency for the OOH advertising industry.

Named OOH UNITED, the new program was created to advance a culture of inclusion throughout the OOH industry. In addition to being guided by top executives from the OAAA and Geopath, OOH UNITED will be managed by a leadership council, which includes some of the most well-respected names in the industry: Michelle Costa, Clear Channel Outdoor and the Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research and Education (FOARE); DJ Duronslet, OUTFRONT Media; Marc Fenty, Horizon Media; Derek Haigler, Lamar Advertising; Kim Heintz, Clear Channel Outdoor; and Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor.

Each letter of the word UNITED represents a foundational pillar used to build a strong, sound, safe, and harmonious plan for inclusion. The acronym’s definition highlights:

  • U – Understand: Only by understanding how each individual contributes to a stronger OOH industry, is it possible for a culture of DEI to thrive
  • N – Nurture: Nurturing promotes the professional development of future leaders within the OOH industry
  • I – Involve: Involving individuals across the OOH industry improves overall understanding about DEI and encourages personal commitment and actions that promote and foster inclusivity
  • T – Transform: Transformation is the resulting outcome when individuals commit to participate in DEI actions
  • E – Engage: Engagement through internal and external communications ensures the ongoing exchange and flow of ideas while encouraging collaboration
  • D – Develop: Development is accomplished through ongoing training, recruitment, and education

Starting this month, the council will develop a common system to determine the state of DEI practices in OOH and then establish key benchmarks that participating member companies can follow. Once the analysis is complete, the council will work toward recruitment, inviting minority OOH businesses and the Chambers of Commerce to actively support staffing. It will also actively encourage ongoing involvement for a more diverse industry through representations on boards, councils, and committees. Additionally, OOH UNITED will develop scholarships, internship and mentorship programs and initiatives with DEI at the core of such programming.

Anna Bager, President and CEO, OAAA told us “Today’s marketers need to prioritize the time and resources needed to find the best and most diverse talent to drive our industry. We’re excited to partner with Geopath and launch OOH UNITED as a way to create and implement programs that will uncover key learnings and secure the partnerships needed to propel OOH advertising.”

Alongside OAAA, Geopath, and members of the OOH UNITED leadership council, a number of other top executives have joined the effort on behalf of their organizations:

  • Kenetta Bailey, Clear Channel Outdoor
  • Simone Davis, Billups
  • Crystal Dhir, The Siroky Group
  • Dan Dhruva, Pacific Outdoor
  • Tammy Duncan-Swope, Lamar Advertising
  • Rudy Ferrer, Delta Media
  • Ci Ci Holloway, Intersection
  • Theo Hunter, Pacific Outdoor
  • Vanessa Hartley, OMG
  • Shabnam Irilian, Talon
  • Jay Johnson, Lamar Advertising
  • Brianne Matthias, Geopath
  • Nancy Tostanoski, Outfront Media
  • Catherine Williams, Mahlmann Media

Kym Frank, President, Geopath said “It is imperative that the industry explore ways in which we can improve current practices when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Geopath is proud to join forces with the OAAA to ensure everyone has a seat at the table by uncovering and mentoring underrepresented voices through the OOH UNITED initiative.”

For more information about OOH UNITED or if individuals are interested in joining the committee click here.

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