Speakers at Advertising Week New York Stress the Importance and Value of Inclusivity

by: Inez Barberio

Photos: AWNew York/ Shutterstock

Last week, Advertising Week New York was led by major brands and speakers with a common focus on how a diverse and inclusive workplace leads to success both for a strong internal structure and profitability.

The event featured hundreds of speakers including Serena Williams, Gary Vaynerchuk, Laverne Cox, Francisco Crespo, MJ DePalma, and Gwyneth Paltrow who gave advice on entrepreneurship and how they are addressing inclusivity to their work environment. Attendees included students, entrepreneurs, and other global business leaders.

Gary Vaynerchuk sitting

During a discussion with tennis star Serena Williams and Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media, Williams stressed that her main business pursuits is to “get rid of the word exclusive and bring in the word inclusive.”  She gave insight to her life after tennis and discussed the many businesses she has invested in including the thrill of having her clothing brand “S” in New York Fashion Week for the first time.

MJ DePalma, Head of Multicultural and Inclusive Marketing for Microsoft stated, “it is important to have a diversity of opinion in the room.  If everyone is in agreement right out of the boat, then there is something wrong.” DePalma discussed the importance of talking to your neighbors and asking questions as “deliberate curiosity drives empathy and innovation.”


Laverne Cox, LGBTQ+ advocate wowed the stage upon her arrival with high energy and a warm and inviting presence.  Sharing the story of her journey to success, she tells, “I am most proud that I can sit on this stage and be myself.  I have not only remained myself, but have become more of myself.”

Iman, CARE’s first global advocate told her personal story as a refugee and her current work to help lead the world with “compassion, empathy, love and care.”  She stressed that the importance of treating people with dignity cannot be understated.


Advertising Week is now in six major cities across the globe with its next stop in Mexico City in March 2020.

For more information visit www.AdvertisingWeek.com.