At Spotify, we know that sitting on the sidelines is not an option when it comes to diversity in the marketing industry. That’s why we brought a team of employees to this year’s ADCOLOR Conference in Los Angeles to get inspired and build connections. (Spotify also served as a sponsor of the event.) ADCOLOR convenes over 800 experts and thought leaders from various creative industries — advertising, marketing, media, tech and more — for an immersive weekend with one ultimate mission: “to create a community of diverse professionals who support and celebrate one another.”
One of ADCOLOR’s signature programs is FUTURES, an initiative that spotlights diverse voices who represent the next generation of the industry. In this year’s class, 40 young professionals were selected to attend the ADCOLOR Conference for a fully immersive mentorship and collaboration program.
One of those 40 rising stars was Spotify’s very own Nicole Godreau. Nicole’s a native New Yorker, travel enthusiast, brunch lover, and avid Solange fan. She began her Spotify career as an intern, and is now an experienced sales coordinator who speaks to advertisers about why they should tell their stories on Spotify and reach our highly engaged audience. Alongside her work, Nicole is passionate about implementing change in the media industry to focus on inclusion and bring diverse voices to the forefront.
We spoke to Nicole about her weekend at ADCOLOR, to get her perspective on where the industry is at when it comes to these issues — and where it’s headed in the future.
Q: What were your top moments from ADCOLOR?
The best had to be participating in the ADCOLOR FUTURES Hackathon, where teams presented on mental health in the workplace with the goal of changing the culture of the companies we work in for the better. It’s vital for companies to realize that mental health can no longer afford to be overlooked.
Also, Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G had a great session called “Moment of Truth: Stepping Up.” He talked about his personal journey surrounding privilege, and the courage he found to share his story with others to ultimately become a better leader for his company.
Q: What does the FUTURES program means to you personally? How do you think it will it shape your career?
ADCOLOR FUTURES represent the next generation of leaders in the industry. We’re fighting to make sure that not only do we have a seat at the table, but that we’re bringing chairs for others, too.
As a young woman of color, navigating the advertising and tech world can be hard. When I started my internship, I was the only black person in my department at the time, and it was tough being the only one in the room. This program provides me with a community of people who validate my experience and let me know that I’m not the only one. The FUTURES program teaches you the value in bringing your whole self to work and knowing your worth. Whether it’s supporting me during a rough patch or celebrating a win, I know I have a team of 39 other FUTURES that have my back.
Q: ADCOLOR aims to bring diverse voices to the forefront. How do you think Spotify does this as a company today?
One of the reasons I love working at Spotify is that we are intentional in focusing on diversity and inclusion. For instance, “Black History is Happening Now” is our partnership with Saturday Morning that celebrates black history and culture year round. Along with our content hub, which has been curated so far by Janelle Monae and Pharrell Williams, we also created the Sound Up Bootcamp, where we provided resources to ten aspiring female podcasters of color. We’re even taking that Bootcamp on the road and expanding it to the UK! And we also created a fellowship for an entry-level position on our Shows + Editorial team. Initiatives like these make me proud to work at such a company that truly believes in the power of diversity, and moves the conversation forward with actionable plans to change our company for the better.
Even here at ADCOLOR, we hosted a panel with hip-hop mogul Joe Budden and renowned director Paul Hunter. They both talked about how they’ve disrupted the status quo in their fields, and my colleague Amanda Butler did an amazing job moderating. Our presence at this event is just another instance of how we use our platform to bring interesting, diverse voices to the forefront.
I think the industry can do more in the future by giving more opportunities for young diverse talent to have a seat at the table, be heard, and enact change. Companies need to invest in their early professionals by providing a culture where they are able to learn, develop and sharpen their skills. This will breed leaders who will ultimately elevate the success of their companies. In addition, there should also be a focus on having diverse leadership, so young people can see what a successful career path looks like for people who look like them.
Q: Let’s end with a music question. You're a big Solange fan...how does her music connect with your passion for diversity and inclusion?
I love A Seat at the Table because it’s a black woman empowerment album, bold and unapologetic in its style and delivery. When Solange released her album, she said: “With the state of our country and all of the messages that we are constantly being fed about not being good enough...I wanted this to literally be an hour long PSA that we are beyond enough. That we have always been and we are not asking for your permission.” This album is a nod to black women to be complex and multifaceted, delving into our pain and joy to reaffirm that I too belong.
Spotify partnered with FUTURES to curate the official 2018 ADCOLOR FUTURES takeover playlist. Listen below.