Why I stand for diversity as a young, white male  

Tom Curtain
By Tom Curtain | 28 March 2022
Tom Curtain

Tom Curtain, Activation Director, Half Dome

Let’s call a spade, a spade. As a young, white male who grew up in Australia, I am someone who wouldn’t typically fall into the category of coming from a diverse background, however, I think it is vitally important to step up and be a leader within this space and set a good example within the industry.

While relatively young in my media and advertising career, I have entered an industry where I have seen predominately white males in leadership roles or in senior positions. Did these people deserve their position? Yes, but as society continues to become more diverse, do they have the experiences or education to be able to facilitate a diverse and inclusive working environment for everyone? Perhaps not. Is this through a lack of not wanting it and putting it into the ‘too hard’ basket? Or through a lack of education and resources available? From my experience, I think it’s the latter. That’s why the IMAA Diversity Council is important an initiative to educate and support those within the industry to influence change.

Having the opportunity to help educate others and influence change when it comes to embracing diversity within the industry is why I applied to join the Independent Media Agencies of Australia’s (IMAA) new Diversity Council as an industry representative. I am excited to have the opportunity to be able to listen and learn to those within the industry from diverse backgrounds and be able to help facilitate respectful conversations and initiatives to encourage and support diversity across the industry.

I believe at Half Dome we do a great job at supporting diversity and inclusion, however, like with anything, there’s always space for learning and development and the need for continued conversations in order to facilitate positive change. By joining the IMAA Diversity Council, I have the opportunity to make an impact across my workplace and the wider industry and this is something that excites me. It should also excite others that the IMAA is taking diversity and inclusion seriously, helping to influence change across the industry for the better.

It’s important to have people from different backgrounds as part the IMAA Diversity Council’s representation to stimulate conversation, which can lead to real outcomes for all across agencies and the industry.

As a white male, I haven’t experienced the number of biases that others may have faced. I want to influence change and provide an environment where people I care about have the same opportunities that I have had. I hope those I work with feel supported and included without feeling judged, but if they do, I aim to be the type of person they can approach, to share their experience and to collectively drive positive change.

I am starting to lead a team of young adults with a mix of genders and race, and it’s become quite evident that there is an underrepresentation of role models with similar backgrounds for those in my team. They feel underrepresented or have a lack of role models within the industry who they can consider the standard to strive for or compare themselves with.

While I can’t change who I am, I want to be able to influence change and provide support to strive for self-improvement and progression without feeling that their race, gender, or age will hold them back. Conversely, why shouldn’t we also consider those outside our industry that are seeking change, or that may be able to bring a new perspective into the world of media? That in itself is another example of diversity and inclusion, where we can continue to learn, improve, and grow as an ever-evolving industry, right?

My hope is that the IMAA Diversity Council provides a support system for independent media agencies to embrace and support those with diverse backgrounds while creating an environment where everyone feels equal and has the same opportunities. This needs to include the Diversity Council’s four pillars of focus: cultural diversity, age, and gender, LGBTQI+, and ability and accessibility, with the goal of providing education, agency engagement and to enhance employee satisfaction.

The first step for us is to support respectful conversations and collaboration between members, aiding positive outcomes and change. It's not an easy journey, or one that I expect will change quickly. But like anything, change needs to start somewhere and I’m excited to be a part of that.



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