THE STATE OF THE STORY  —  5 QUESTIONS
THE STATE OF THE STORY  —  5 QUESTIONS

The Inclusion Influencer: How Mita Mallick Leads Businesses to Embrace Diversity, Online and In-person

The Inclusion Influencer: How Mita Mallick Leads Businesses to Embrace Diversity, Online and In-person

Pulp Nonfiction: How International Paper Promotes Forest Stewardship and Conservation

Turning the Tide: How a Smart Motors Company Uses Storytelling

Pulp Nonfiction: How International Paper Promotes Forest Stewardship and Conservation

5qs-thumbnail-mita

 

"For many, finding ways to avoid using this common material has seemed like an easy way to 'go green.' Of course, it’s not that simple."

"For many, finding ways to avoid using this common material has seemed like an easy way to 'go green.' Of course, it’s not that simple."

"For many, finding ways to avoid using this common material has seemed like an easy way to 'go green.' Of course, it’s not that simple."

With over 50,000 followers on LinkedIn, a buzzy podcast, Brown Table Talk, and an enviable career that spans retail and tech, Mita Mallick knows something about building a purposeful personal and professional brand. As the head of inclusion, diversity, and impact at Carta, she also understands why making brands more representative of the population is essential to their success. 

Recently, Magnet Media partnered with Mallick for a Greenhouse campaign about diversity recruitment. “Ultimately, inclusion is the biggest retention tool leaders have in what I am calling, not The Great Resignation, it’s the Great Awakening,” Mallick says. “People want to be seen, valued, and heard. Because you can’t put a price on feeling like you truly belong.” 

We spoke with Mallick about her personal and professional struggles for inclusion, and how people and businesses can be better storytellers on this journey.

01. We're all about powerful stories at Magnet Media. Can you share how your own story led you on this path to be an advocate for inclusion? How did working in the beauty industry early in your career further instill the need for representation?

01. We're all about powerful stories at Magnet Media. Can you share how your own story led you on this path to be an advocate for inclusion? How did working in the beauty industry early in your career further instill the need for representation?

01. We're all about powerful stories at Magnet Media. Can you share how your own story led you on this path to be an advocate for inclusion? How did working in the beauty industry early in your career further instill the need for representation?

I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrant parents. My younger brother and I were born and raised here in the United States, outside of Boston, Massachusetts. And I grew up in a time and a place where it was not cool to be Indian. I was the funny-looking, dark-skinned girl, with a long funny-looking braid, whose parents spoke funny English. Until it wasn't funny anymore. I was bullied by my peers for years. I just desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. And I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way.

As a kid, I didn’t see many stories being told that included people who looked like me. I wondered: whose stories get chosen and why? All of my early childhood experiences led me to a career in storytelling, and into the beauty industry. I have spent over 15 years as a storyteller, leading iconic brands like AVEENO, AVON Color Cosmetics, Chapstick, Vaseline, Suave, and Dove. Throughout my career, I have fought hard to ensure people like me are included, to ensure Black and Brown people were represented in campaigns, to ensure products we created were for all skin tones, to ensure we were not reinforcing stereotypes, and with purpose and authenticity serving those communities.

I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrant parents. My younger brother and I were born and raised here in the United States, outside of Boston, Massachusetts. And I grew up in a time and a place where it was not cool to be Indian. I was the funny-looking, dark-skinned girl, with a long funny-looking braid, whose parents spoke funny English. Until it wasn't funny anymore. I was bullied by my peers for years. I just desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. And I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way.

As a kid, I didn’t see many stories being told that included people who looked like me. I wondered: whose stories get chosen and why? All of my early childhood experiences led me to a career in storytelling, and into the beauty industry. I have spent over 15 years as a storyteller, leading iconic brands like AVEENO, AVON Color Cosmetics, Chapstick, Vaseline, Suave, and Dove. Throughout my career, I have fought hard to ensure people like me are included, to ensure Black and Brown people were represented in campaigns, to ensure products we created were for all skin tones, to ensure we were not reinforcing stereotypes, and with purpose and authenticity serving those communities.

I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrant parents. My younger brother and I were born and raised here in the United States, outside of Boston, Massachusetts. And I grew up in a time and a place where it was not cool to be Indian. I was the funny-looking, dark-skinned girl, with a long funny-looking braid, whose parents spoke funny English. Until it wasn't funny anymore. I was bullied by my peers for years. I just desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. And I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way.

As a kid, I didn’t see many stories being told that included people who looked like me. I wondered: whose stories get chosen and why? All of my early childhood experiences led me to a career in storytelling, and into the beauty industry. I have spent over 15 years as a storyteller, leading iconic brands like AVEENO, AVON Color Cosmetics, Chapstick, Vaseline, Suave, and Dove. Throughout my career, I have fought hard to ensure people like me are included, to ensure Black and Brown people were represented in campaigns, to ensure products we created were for all skin tones, to ensure we were not reinforcing stereotypes, and with purpose and authenticity serving those communities.

02. What are businesses missing in the rush to recruit more diverse workforces? How can they be more thoughtful in their approach?

02. What are businesses missing in the rush to recruit more diverse workforces? How can they be more thoughtful in their approach?

02. What are businesses missing in the rush to recruit more diverse workforces? How can they be more thoughtful in their approach?

Here’s what leaders need to understand: diversity of thought doesn’t happen without diversity of representation. When you have all those points of views, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds coming together around a table–colliding, clashing, and collaborating–that’s when magic happens. That’s when we come up with that one breakthrough idea, campaign, innovation, to authentically and purposefully serve customers and communities. If you truly understand and believe in the power of diverse workforces, then you will be more thoughtful in your approach.

Here’s what leaders need to understand: diversity of thought doesn’t happen without diversity of representation. When you have all those points of views, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds coming together around a table–colliding, clashing, and collaborating–that’s when magic happens. That’s when we come up with that one breakthrough idea, campaign, innovation, to authentically and purposefully serve customers and communities. If you truly understand and believe in the power of diverse workforces, then you will be more thoughtful in your approach.

Here’s what leaders need to understand: diversity of thought doesn’t happen without diversity of representation. When you have all those points of views, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds coming together around a table–colliding, clashing, and collaborating–that’s when magic happens. That’s when we come up with that one breakthrough idea, campaign, innovation, to authentically and purposefully serve customers and communities. If you truly understand and believe in the power of diverse workforces, then you will be more thoughtful in your approach.

Here’s what leaders need to understand: diversity of thought doesn’t happen without diversity of representation. When you have all those points of views, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds coming together around a table–colliding, clashing, and collaborating–that’s when magic happens. That’s when we come up with that one breakthrough idea, campaign, innovation, to authentically and purposefully serve customers and communities. If you truly understand and believe in the power of diverse workforces, then you will be more thoughtful in your approach.

03. What is absent in the DEI conversation right now? There seems to be a lot of goals and posturing, but how can companies be real advocates for workers of color before and after they're hired?

03. What is absent in the DEI conversation right now? There seems to be a lot of goals and posturing, but how can companies be real advocates for workers of color before and after they're hired? 

03. What is absent in the DEI conversation right now? There seems to be a lot of goals and posturing, but how can companies be real advocates for workers of color before and after they're hired? 

So here’s the real question we should all be asking ourselves as we scramble to create inclusive work cultures: How can we expect to show up and be inclusive leaders in our workplaces if we live the majority of our lives in communities surrounded by people who only look like us?  

The real work for inclusion starts at home, starts at our kitchen tables. We need to do the work, outside of our workplaces, to build empathy for experiences that are not our own. To get to really know people from communities we don’t identify with. This is the way to increase our cultural competency, awareness, and empathy, and then start to show up at work differently.

So here’s the real question we should all be asking ourselves as we scramble to create inclusive work cultures: How can we expect to show up and be inclusive leaders in our workplaces if we live the majority of our lives in communities surrounded by people who only look like us?  

The real work for inclusion starts at home, starts at our kitchen tables. We need to do the work, outside of our workplaces, to build empathy for experiences that are not our own. To get to really know people from communities we don’t identify with. This is the way to increase our cultural competency, awareness, and empathy, and then start to show up at work differently.

So here’s the real question we should all be asking ourselves as we scramble to create inclusive work cultures: How can we expect to show up and be inclusive leaders in our workplaces if we live the majority of our lives in communities surrounded by people who only look like us?  

The real work for inclusion starts at home, starts at our kitchen tables. We need to do the work, outside of our workplaces, to build empathy for experiences that are not our own. To get to really know people from communities we don’t identify with. This is the way to increase our cultural competency, awareness, and empathy, and then start to show up at work differently.

So here’s the real question we should all be asking ourselves as we scramble to create inclusive work cultures: How can we expect to show up and be inclusive leaders in our workplaces if we live the majority of our lives in communities surrounded by people who only look like us?

The real work for inclusion starts at home, starts at our kitchen tables. We need to do the work, outside of our workplaces, to build empathy for experiences that are not our own. To get to really know people from communities we don’t identify with. This is the way to increase our cultural competency, awareness, and empathy, and then start to show up at work differently.

04. How do you really feel about how corporations do history months, like Black History Month or Women's History Month? This year there was a lot of acknowledgment that these efforts shouldn't end on the final day of February or March. It feels like there's an opportunity to tell these stories and participate in these moments better, online and in the office.

04. How do you really feel about how corporations do history months, like Black History Month or Women's History Month? This year there was a lot of acknowledgement that these efforts shouldn't end on the final day of February or March. It feels like there's an opportunity to tell these stories and participate in these moments better, online and in the office.

04. How do you really feel about how corporations do history months, like Black History Month or Women's History Month? This year there was a lot of acknowledgement that these efforts shouldn't end on the final day of February or March. It feels like there's an opportunity to tell these stories and participate in these moments better, online and in the office.

Here’s what leaders need to remember: each and every month, we will once again find our social feeds filled with the swirl of Instagram posts, the one-time signature events, and that single brand campaign to spotlight a heritage or history month. And yet, here’s what too many of us fail to remember: moments like Black History Month, Pride Month, and [National] Hispanic Heritage month are not a “check-the-box” exercise or the one time to speak to a particular community. Rather, it should be the beginning of the journey to amplify, celebrate, honor, connect, and advocate for experiences that aren’t our own. It becomes exploitative and performative when you aren’t doing the work consistently year round. This means ensuring you have diverse slates. Focusing on bringing diverse suppliers into your ecosystem. Ensuring you are paying all of your talent fairly and equitably.

Here’s what leaders need to remember: each and every month, we will once again find our social feeds filled with the swirl of Instagram posts, the one-time signature events, and that single brand campaign to spotlight a heritage or history month. And yet, here’s what too many of us fail to remember: moments like Black History Month, Pride Month, and [National] Hispanic Heritage month are not a “check-the-box” exercise or the one time to speak to a particular community. Rather, it should be the beginning of the journey to amplify, celebrate, honor, connect, and advocate for experiences that aren’t our own. It becomes exploitative and performative when you aren’t doing the work consistently year round. This means ensuring you have diverse slates. Focusing on bringing diverse suppliers into your ecosystem. Ensuring you are paying all of your talent fairly and equitably.

Here’s what leaders need to remember: each and every month, we will once again find our social feeds filled with the swirl of Instagram posts, the one-time signature events, and that single brand campaign to spotlight a heritage or history month. And yet, here’s what too many of us fail to remember: moments like Black History Month, Pride Month, and [National] Hispanic Heritage month are not a “check-the-box” exercise or the one time to speak to a particular community. Rather, it should be the beginning of the journey to amplify, celebrate, honor, connect, and advocate for experiences that aren’t our own. It becomes exploitative and performative when you aren’t doing the work consistently year round. This means ensuring you have diverse slates. Focusing on bringing diverse suppliers into your ecosystem. Ensuring you are paying all of your talent fairly and equitably.

05. As a diversity expert and spokesperson, how do you decide to partner with certain companies and brands? What assures you that they'll live up to your values and objectives when you decide to work with or for them?

05. As a diversity expert and spokesperson, how do you decide to partner with certain companies and brands? What assures you that they'll live up to your values and objectives when you decide to work with or for them?

05. As a diversity expert and spokesperson, how do you decide to partner with certain companies and brands? What assures you that they'll live up to your values and objectives when you decide to work with or for them?

I am open to working with anyone who is willing to do the work, who showcases humility, and learns from their mistakes. Companies are made up of people. And guess what, people make mistakes. We all do. And so you can make the mistake, and apologize, and what you do next matters the most. People will be waiting and watching to see how you are trying to do better, be better. 

I am open to working with anyone who is willing to do the work, who showcases humility, and learns from their mistakes. Companies are made up of people. And guess what, people make mistakes. We all do. And so you can make the mistake, and apologize, and what you do next matters the most. People will be waiting and watching to see how you are trying to do better, be better. 

I am open to working with anyone who is willing to do the work, who showcases humility, and learns from their mistakes. Companies are made up of people. And guess what, people make mistakes. We all do. And so you can make the mistake, and apologize, and what you do next matters the most. People will be waiting and watching to see how you are trying to do better, be better.

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For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, May 24, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content. RSVP →

For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, May 24, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content.

For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, May 24, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content. RSVP →

Magnet Media is a global brand studio that uses storytelling and data to drive measurable business results. Our team is made up of strategists and creative thinkers who use our THINK / MAKE / REACH process to develop a marketing strategy, world-class content, and go-to-market distribution strategies for our clients. Much of our work starts with video storytelling and is distributed across all platforms—appearing in the top media outlets, shared by influential community members, and rising to the top of the search rankings. Recently we've produced award-winning campaigns for clients like Google, Adobe, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Airbnb, IBM, CitiGroup, Carbon, The TED Talks, Politico, Blackrock, TIAA, YouTube, MIT Tech Press, and more.

Magnet Media is a global brand studio that uses storytelling and data to drive measurable business results. Our team is made up of strategists and creative thinkers who use our THINK / MAKE / REACH process to develop a marketing strategy, world-class content, and go-to-market distribution strategies for our clients. Much of our work starts with video storytelling and is distributed across all platforms—appearing in the top media outlets, shared by influential community members, and rising to the top of the search rankings. Recently we've produced award-winning campaigns for clients like Google, Adobe, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Airbnb, IBM, CitiGroup, Carbon, The TED Talks, Politico, Blackrock, TIAA, YouTube, MIT Tech Press, and more.

Magnet Media is a global brand studio that uses storytelling and data to drive measurable business results. Our team is made up of strategists and creative thinkers who use our THINK / MAKE / REACH process to develop a marketing strategy, world-class content, and go-to-market distribution strategies for our clients. Much of our work starts with video storytelling and is distributed across all platforms—appearing in the top media outlets, shared by influential community members, and rising to the top of the search rankings. Recently we've produced award-winning campaigns for clients like Google, Adobe, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Airbnb, IBM, CitiGroup, Carbon, The TED Talks, Politico, Blackrock, TIAA, YouTube, MIT Tech Press, and more.

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