We're excited to announce that Ad Council Assistant Manager of PR and Social Media Barbara Gonzalez has been selected as a 2019 ADCOLOR Future. Chosen among a pool of over 400 applicants, Barbara and 27 other young professionals will participate in the year-long program providing training, mentorship and empowerment to the next generation of diverse leaders in advertising, marketing, media and public relations.
A proud native Nuyorican with roots in East Harlem, Barbara strategizes and crafts the front facing language around notable Ad Council campaigns around topics such as teen suicide, food waste, LGBT acceptance, and more. In her free time, she's a freelance writer at Bustle where she explores the complexities of identity as it pertains to race, gender, sexuality, ability and more. We sat down with our accomplished colleague and friend to discuss her journey thus far and her selection as an ADCOLOR Future.
Congrats on your selection as an ADCOLOR Future! How does it feel? What most excites you about the opportunity?
Thank you so much! Honestly, it’s a huge honor as someone who just entered the worlds of advertising, PR and social media to receive such a phenomenal opportunity. There are so many things I’m excited for, but most of all I can’t wait to build community with fellow FUTURES, past and present, as well as network with other conference attendees.
ADCOLOR was created to promote and celebrate professionals of color and diversity in the creative industries. Among other fields, why is diversity so important in advertising, marketing, etc.?
I feel the purpose of advertising and marketing is to find a concise, but powerful story that will speak to the values of a brand’s target audience. It’s important to understand that while there are many factors that help in bringing people together, there are proven methods of conveying a perspective that can be inclusive of everyone’s story. When you have diverse voices in the room crafting these campaigns, it injects a sense of authenticity into your message that is reflective of the life of the everyday individual.
What steps do you feel companies and individuals need to take to ensure diverse team members feel valued and included, and are put into positions to thrive?
It’s so important to not just hire folks from diverse backgrounds—you need to be able to also make space for them in positions of leadership in order to create effective and lasting change within your company/organization. Diverse team members also need effective training and mentorship to thrive. This can be inclusive of, but not limited to the following: offering leadership and industry trainings, providing a mentorship program and opportunities to network and grow outside of the company.
What one habit or learned skill has been most instrumental to you getting to this point?
ADCOLOR’s theme this year is “Take A Stand,” which I feel speaks volumes to my entire career thus far. I’ve never been the type of person who can stay quiet, especially in the face of injustice. I feel like it’s been crucial for me in my career to always have my voice heard, but particularly when it’s in defense of elevating other perspectives that are underrepresented in the spaces I work in. By that same token, another skill I’ve acquired has been learning to step back and make room for quieter voices in the space.
Tell us about your hopes and dreams. What do you want to accomplish in the coming years? How do you want the creative and non-profit industries to stay the same? To change?
I have lots of hopes and dreams, but here are my top three:
1. Continue to innovate in the social good/diversity space, particularly at a media, advertising, or tech company.
2. Create a business in my native East Harlem that embodies the neighborhood’s culture of art, activism, and POC/immigrant-owned businesses.
3. Write a book and/or screenplay based on my life as a queer Latinx woman growing up in New York City and working in media/advertising.