The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) announced the launch of the Talent Forward Alliance, a new cross-industry initiative committed to inspiring and accelerating the development of exceptional talent to fuel marketing industry growth.
The ANA Talent Forward Alliance is designed to create a unified movement to elevate marketing and advertising as a career profession on university campuses and to engage senior marketing industry executives to develop talent for advertisers and advertising agencies.
“Talent is the foundation for our future success and for providing the pathway that will lead to successful brand-building, innovation, and the advancement of business performance,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “It’s the ANA’s strategic intent to reach out to all constituencies so that we can address this defining issue for our industry. It’s our responsibility to enhance our industry’s most important asset—talent—to energize brand and business growth.”
Liodice said the Alliance will be open to ANA members, ad agencies, and research and media companies, as well as consultants in advertising technology, human resources, and recruiting. A board of advisors has been assembled to help guide the initiative, comprising a cross-section of marketing industry leaders from a wide range of disciplines. They include:
- Raja Rajamannar, CMO at MasterCard
- Wendy Clark, CEO at DDB Worldwide
- Diego Scotti, CMO at Verizon
- Suzy Deering, CMO at eBay
- John Osborn, CEO at OMD North America
- Linda Boff, CMO at GE
- Antonio Lucio, CMO at HP
- Carter Murray, CEO at FCB Worldwide
- Renetta McCann, Chief Talent Officer at Publicis NA.
Liodice said the Alliance will create programs and initiatives around talent development focusing on three key areas:
- Creating a partnership with academia to elevate the on-campus understanding of marketing as a desired career choice. Attracting a motivated, diverse group of candidates is fundamental to the success of the Talent Forward Alliance.
- Accelerating professional development and training of existing talent. The Alliance will help build individual capabilities while developing the skills required to prepare for marketing and advertising’s future.
- Energizing senior industry leadership through mentoring, on-campus visitation, and the creation of industry talent playbooks.
The Alliance will be built, in part, by leveraging resources within the ANA. This includes the ANA School of Marketing’s training and development offerings and the mentoring and leadership initiatives being driven by the ANA’s CMO Masters Circle. It will also help advance the talent programs of the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF) on campuses nationwide. The Talent Forward Alliance will work to extend its capabilities by reaching out to other like-minded organizations throughout the industry.
The ANA has been focused on the talent issue since its acquisition of the AEF in 2015. Last year the AEF called out the talent crisis with its groundbreaking research study called Bridging the Talent Disconnect: Charting the Pathways to Future Growth. Since then the talent issue has been the subject of ANA Masters Circle roundtables in Orlando, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
“As an industry we are falling short in inspiring and preparing our next generation of talent, and failing to invest sufficiently in building the capabilities of our current teams,” Liodice said. “The time for immediate and urgent action is now.”