LinkedIn Launches "Conversations for Change" Directed by Nadia Hallgren

ADWEEK: LinkedIn kicked off “Conversations for Change” Monday, describing it as a series of discussions on important topics at the intersection of life and work, including Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on women, equity in the workplace and mental health.

Research shared by the professional network Monday showed that 46% of Black professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 have faced blatant discrimination and/or microaggressions at work, and 30% of Black professionals are thinking of leaving their current jobs, even during the pandemic, due to a lack of growth or advancement opportunities.

LinkedIn senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer Melissa Selcher said in an email, “40% of Black professionals ages 18 to 34 told us the biggest obstacle in their career is not having a clear path or opportunity for advancement. Partnering with Nadia Hallgren, the award-winning director of Michelle Obama’s documentary, Becoming, we are lifting the voices and experiences of Black professionals from various backgrounds to showcase successes, highlight obstacles past and present and inspire change. The realities of workplace biases—whether conscious or unconscious—means Black professionals being visible is equally important for non-Black professionals, as well.”

The professional network also began rolling out a new feature Monday separate from the “Conversations for Change” campaign. Members in the U.S. will start seeing a prompt asking them to self-identify demographic information such as disabilities, ethnicity, gender and race.

LinkedIn kicked off an integrated brand campaign Monday with the goal of highlighting the career-defining moments of Black professionals and showing job seekers who may not see a path to progression that there is a way forward.

Hallgren is directing the creative for the digital and television portions of the campaign, which features Black professionals candidly discussing how they achieved success and the obstacles they encountered and are still dealing with, including:

Autumn Breon, rocket scientist and art curator, who talks about when her teacher told her that becoming a scientist was an unrealistic career option.

Laurent Correa, owner of Los Angeles-based bakery Lou the French on the Block, who echoes the unfortunate sentiments that many capable and qualified Black professionals feel going into job interviews, saying, “The only thing you think about is, ‘Are they going to be cool with me being Black?’”

Angel Jennings, assistant managing editor at Los Angeles Times, who discusses the importance of Black representation in different careers and industries, saying, “You get to see yourself in someone and you get to dream bigger.”

Hallgren said in an email, “The creative for this was inspired by the stories and experiences we share as Black professionals, and the determination we have to fulfill our dreams, while being ourselves and lifting each other up along the way. It is important to speak the truth of what it feels like to be Black in the workplace, to share our stories and experiences, not just with the world, but with each other.”

LinkedIn is working with a Black-owned research agency on the campaign and engaging with its employees for input throughout each state of production and development, saying that the campaign will help set the precedent for its brand work moving forward, and adding that the feedback it received from employees and from members of the professional network was incorporated at every touchpoint of the development process.

On-platform, there will be a weeklong takeover of LinkedIn News, with actor, director and producer Tyler Perry assuming the role of guest editor of the Conversations for Change section and helming a week of curated programming across the platform.

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