In the summer of 2020, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor made us look at the systemic racism faced by Black people in every walk of life in America. We committed to change what we could, starting with making our own agency and industry more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming of Black voices, perspectives, and talent.

Every year since, we’ve posted an update on how we’re doing on that commitment. As we prepare to celebrate Juneteenth this year, we’re posting our fourth annual update.

Change the way Cornett thinks

We continue to do regular anti-racism and inclusion trainings. Thanks to the connections provided by BLAC, we’ve been able to try new trainings each year, honing in on what works best for our team. This year, the mentors working directly with interns participated in a training session hosted by Dar Thought, a Black-owned strategy studio. The training focused on leadership, mentorship and giving and receiving feedback, with takeaways that are applicable not only with our internship program, but throughout the agency.

The agency as a whole is about to do our annual training. This year’s session, which we’re doing with New & Improved, is all about how white supremacy and anti-racism can affect the work we put out into the world. We’ve been able to get more and more specific in what we’re learning and how it applies to advertising, marketing and culture, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it affects our work.

Finally, we’ve seen another, more organic shift in our agency culture over the past couple years. If you come into the office on a Thursday afternoon, there's a chance you'll see us learning about a coworker's Native American heritage—and admiring beadwork (and maple syrup) made by her Chippewa tribe. Or we’ll be sharing mana'eesh—it’s like a Palestinian pizza, and it’s ridiculously good. Or maybe you’ll just see a bunch of us getting schooled at spades. We’re making time to celebrate our heritage, cultures and backgrounds, and we’re learning a lot (and eating well) in the process.

Change the way Cornett looks

Every year, we post a breakdown of our agency demographics. Despite the concrete nature of numbers, it’s always an inexact exercise—constructs like gender, race and ethnicity aren’t as cut and dry as numbers make them seem, and these charts will always flatten some nuance. But we think it’s important to continue to post them, giving ourselves a way to compare year-over-year.

Over the past four years, we’ve been lucky enough to add several interns from the BLAC program to our full-time team—which is exactly what the program was designed to do. We’re thrilled to have them with us, and to continue participating in BLAC.

Commitment to Change 2024 Race
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Commitment to Change 2024 Gebnder
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We’ve continued to work pro-bono with local groups through our Cornett For Good initiative. This year’s projects have included photography and videography for Brasas and Matchstick Goods, work for Lexington’s 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration and the Fund for Greater Lexington, and branding work for an event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

As always, if you know of a local group who could use our skills, please get in touch—we’d love to do more work like this for the diverse community we call home.