Emmy and WGA Award nominee Amber Ruffin will give the keynote address at the 11th edition of The One Club for Creativity‘s Where Are All The Black People (WAATBP) diversity conference and career fair, taking place virtually September 29-30, 2021. The event is free to attend and open to a global audience.
Ruffin is a writer and performer for NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers”, and was the first African-American woman to write for a US late-night network talk show. Her own series, “The Amber Ruffin Show,” premiered last fall on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming platform.
She has written and performed on Comedy Central’s “Detroiters”, and been a regular narrator on the network’s “Drunk History.” She was previously a performer at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, iO Theater and The Second City in Chicago.
In addition, Ruffin is co-writer of the upcoming Broadway adaptation of “Some Like It Hot,” and previously adapted “The Wiz” for The Muny in St. Louis. Ruffin also served as a writer and performer for the 2018 and 2019 Golden Globe Awards, and wrote for the HBO series “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”
WAATBP 2021 will address how the industry has — and hasn’t — evolved over the past 18 months since the increased focus on race, inclusion and diversity in advertising. Typically held in person in New York, the event went virtual last year due to the pandemic, attracting more than 3,400 registrants from over 50 countries.
This year’s event features two days of insightful online keynote, panels, seminars, virtual recruiting and portfolio reviews.
New this year is a virtual creative workshop specifically for HBCU students, sponsored by The Martin Agency and including HBCU Buzz. Capital One will sponsor a “ThinkLab Creative Exercise” virtual workshop.
Other programming highlights include “Fireside Chat: Healing from Racial Trauma in the Workplace” with Jerry Won, CEO, Just Like Media, and author Minda Hearts; “All The Tea: How to Price Your Work + Negotiate Contracts” with panelists including Julien and Kiersten Saunders of the Rich & REGULAR blog, moderated by Neisha Tweed Bell, Creative Director at Facebook; and a panel conversation about being Black and disabled in advertising and creative leadership.
WAATBP 2021 concludes with a virtual after-party featuring RNBHouseparty, also sponsored by Capital One.
WPP is providing significant support for WAATBP and other One Club DEI programs. In addition to a partnership that includes year-round “lunch & learn” events and ONE School sponsorship, the holding company is sending creatives from 15 of its agencies to WAATBP 2021, including teams at VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson, AKQA, Grey and Ogilvy.
Capital One, The Martin Agency and WPP are just a few of the record number of sponsors who have stepped up to support WAATBP this year. Others include 72andSunny, AKQA, Arnold, BCW, Best Buy, DAVID, David & Goliath, Deutsch LA, Disney, Energy BBDO, Essence, Golin, Grey, GTB, Havas, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Hogarth, Mediacom, Ogilvy, ONE School, Pace Communications, Shutterstock, Team One, The Many, Vayner Media, VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson and Zambezi.
WAATBP grew out of a conversation more than a decade ago between One Club Board members Jimmy Smith, chairman/CEO/CCO at Amusement Park Entertainment, and Jeff Goodby, chairman, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, about the critical need to create job opportunities in advertising and design for minority students. The pair spearheaded the initiative for the organization, which held the first WAATBP panel on diversity during The One Club’s 2011 Creative Week.
The One Club has a long track record of creating ongoing programs that help address the ad industry’s lack of diversity.
Other ongoing DEI initiatives from The One Club include the ONE School free online portfolio school for Black creatives; ONE Production, a new free food styling programs for diverse students sponsors by Popeyes; global Creative Boot Camps and mentorship programs for diverse college students, the WE ARE ONE poster design initiative rallying creatives around the world to take a collective stand against racism and intolerance, the COLORFUL global grant program to help young BIPOC creatives advance their careers, the Paid Internship Pledge to help aspiring BIPOC creatives get a foot in the door at agencies, and The One Show Fusion Pencil and ADC 100th Annual Awards Fusion Cube, the industry’s first global awards to recognize great work that best incorporates DEI principles in both creative content and the team that made it.
WAATBP branding was developed pro bono by Anthony O’Neill and Benny Gold, creatives at Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco.