Months before the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests over racial injustice and systemic racism, the 2020 edition of The List, the group of 30-odd marketing, advertising and media leaders assembled by Ad Age in partnership with Facebook, lamented the industry’s talent crisis, particularly the lack of representation for Blacks and other POC—and resolved to band together to fix it.
When the inaugural class of The List gathered at The Modern restaurant in New York in April 2019 to select its mission for the upcoming year, consensus quickly formed that the lack of progressive, equitable parental leave policies had deleterious consequences not just for new parents but ultimately for the companies themselves and by extension the entire industry. To raise awareness about the need for family-forward leave, The List 2019 spread the message to Cannes, Advertising Week New York, Sundance and Davos. The group's signature "Ask About It" campaign provided businesses and employees with tools to have productive conversations about corporate family policies. The 2019 members capped off their year by naming the "10 Companies That Get Family Leave Right."
At The List 2020’s first meeting (see the photo gallery below), also at The Modern, on February 7, the new class was given the option of continuing 2019’s mission. Almost immediately, the 2020 cohort coalesced around the core issue of unconscious bias more quickly than last year’s class had around parental leave.