Havas Emerge is a 9-month, virtual learning & development experience designed to prepare emerging team leaders for management roles through skill adoption, leadership exposure and community building.
Having recently participated in the North America pilot programme that supported a class of racially diverse employees, Anthony Lowe, Associate Creative Director, Havas New York, shares his learning experience and tells Dare! what he found to be the main benefits for his career development at Havas.
What were your feelings being nominated for the North America Havas Emerge pilot programme?
When my supervisor told me that he had nominated me for a management opportunity, I was excited to hear that Havas wanted to invest in my career. When I learned that this was a part of a greater initiative for diversity from within, I was glad to see Havas take sincere steps towards inclusivity. I was honoured to be considered for the founding opus of the Emerge programme.
What does the 9-month programme involve?
The Emerge programme consists of three modules, each structured towards the education of critical skills necessary to support the growth of an individual as a manager. Each module takes place over the course of twelve weeks, with multiple sessions a month. The first module focuses on understanding oneself through a series of informal psychological exercises in group settings. The second module focuses on working with others based on what you’ve learned about yourself in the first module. Participants apply their learnings in hypothetical difficult scenarios in the final module.
What have you found to be the main benefits of the programme for your career development at Havas?
My greatest takeaway was that no one is perfect. Even peers who seem to have it all together have their shortcomings. I learned to accept the shortcomings of others instead of expecting the same talents from everyone. The co-worker that moves slower than their peers may have an insight that others miss, likewise, even the star member of the team can have struggles with some tasks. To go even further, I learned to give myself that same level of patience. In learning to not expect the world from any one person, I learned that all of the pressure of a team doesn’t fall solely on oneself either.
Why do you think programmes like this are so important for the Group?
I’ve been working in advertising for over a decade and in my time as a creative, a lack of diversity has always been a source of discomfort for me in my career. We are now in a world that has come to understand the importance of diversity and its broader implications for the benefit to both society and the workplace. Even with that understanding, the greater machinations of society have closed the doors to opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds. There are several ways to tackle these issues, yet no one cause can make the change we need alone. Making opportunities to promote diverse talent from within creates opportunity for those typically overlooked in our industry. I believe that representation within management is necessary to promote diverse talent. In essence, opening opportunity for diversity in management has a greater chance of promoting further diversity within the group, and in turn, the industry as a whole.
Tell us what is has been like getting to know people from around the Network you wouldn’t have otherwise met.
To have the opportunity to see other people from outside my office in the Network from diverse backgrounds gave me a sense that I belonged to something. That feeling is something that I’ve previously searched for from within my office and wanted to find within the industry. I had difficulty finding that sense of community and belonging. When I had the chance to meet professionals who also understand the difficulties navigating the professional world through a similar perspective, it gave me the comfort to talk about topics that we shared in common. That allowed for a growth that was previously shut down by a sense of cultural isolation.
What advice would you give anyone approached to take part in future editions?
Clear your calendar! Emerge sessions are intended to give the tools for your professional growth. Sometimes the investment in time may put your time in the red. Just like a financial investment—it’s important to budget your time for potential growth. Put the time aside beforehand to ensure you don’t over budget yourself. To have a training meeting in the middle of a client work day may make it tempting to give the time all to the 9-5. Havas has put in time for you to have this time for your growth, don’t squander it by missing any sessions.