Dominique Robinson and Nneka Ude selected as 2021 Vanguard Fellows

The program comes from the 4As Foundation to support Black rising stars and drive industry-level change in advertising

In the summer of 2020, as racial inequity became a renewed national focus amid calls for urgent social change, it was clear that across all industries and sectors D&I needed immediate prioritization.

In addition to offering trainings and educational resources for all employees, it is critically important to foster the talent pipeline in advertising, an overwhelming white industry. In fact, in 2019 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Black individuals made up only 0.7% of advertisers.

One of the programs seeking to address systemic challenges while advancing sustainable change is the Vanguard Program, offered through the 4As Foundation. This year-long initiative focuses on strengthening the talent pipeline for Black marketers by creating a mentorship network for each participant as well as teaching their agency mentors and sponsors how to best support and nurture transformative Black leaders in the industry.

Both Dominique Robinson from Leo Burnett and Nneka Ude from Arc Worldwide have been chosen as Fellows for the inaugural year of this program. “I am so excited to be embarking on this journey as a Fellow with the Vanguard program,” Dominique shares with us. “While I have been really blessed to work on some of the biggest, coolest brands, the road to get there has not been easy. As a Black woman in the ad industry, you’re often seen as a unicorn. You’re often on a remote island and when you see another Black employee you instantly get excited! To know that the Vanguard program will help escalate the inclusive and equity agenda of Black talent to not only feel seen, but to be seen, gives me a feeling of hope for the next generation of Black ad leaders.”

Account Director Dominique Robinson started her career at Leo Burnett as an Assistant Account Executive and returned in 2019 as a key member on the Kellogg’s team. In her time at Leo Burnett, she’s been featured in our GenLeo series and named a 40 Under 40 awardee by Chicago’s Young Women Professionals League. In addition to her career endeavors, she stays busy with her personal blog and as a virtual cooking class host where she has created an international community rooted in fellowship and friendship among strangers.

Follow along in this year of learning with Dominique, Nneka and their respective mentors and sponsors throughout the 2021 Vanguard program. We’ll be connecting with the Fellows, mentors and sponsors at different touchpoints this year to give you an inside look at their journey, their experiences and learnings, and applicable lessons for the industry writ large.