Margenett Moore-Roberts | The Innovator 25 North America 2019

Margenett Moore-Roberts 

Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer

New York 

“I look for inspiration in unexpected places.”

Margenett Moore-Roberts has had an impressively varied career in technology. But the glaring lack of diversity in Silicon Valley compelled her shift her focus from building revenue-generating video networks (like she did at Yahoo) to making real change on diversity and inclusion. She joined Golin last year in the newly- created role of chief diversity and inclusion officer. Her arrival at the IPG firm coincided with the firm’s initiative to hire more women creative leaders and also an embarrassing D&I incident. But ultimately, getting D&I right isn’t about not making mistakes, it’s about how those mistakes are addressed. And since Moore-Roberts has joined, she integrated D&I with business objectives by establishing the Office of Business Relevance, Inclusion & Equity.  At Yahoo, she shifted the company’s focus from passive diversity to the active practice of inclusion, tangibly increasing diverse hiring rates and training executives around the ways that inclusion brings business success.

In what way(s) does PR/communications need to innovate the most?
The use of technology is a huge opportunity for Public Relations/Communications. There are many efficiencies to be gained for internal and external practices.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation compared to other marketing disciplines?
Not sure

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation?
Business/management practices 

How do you define innovation?
Identifying a new, more efficient/effective way to achieve a better result. Ideally, the innovation is solving an important problem that moves business forward.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
The MacCoin (all disclosures applied, Cannes agreed)

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider innovative.
Making the career transition from Sales and Product strategy to Inclusion and Diversity. I was deeply intrigued by the idea of applying the principles of brand-building, product adoption, and behavior change to the objectives of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity. With bravery - the opportunity for innovation is there.

Most underrated trait in a PR person? 
Having been in the industry for just a bit over a year, I am not particularly well-equipped to offer an informed response to this question. What I have seen, at both the company/industry levels, is the incredibly diverse set of skills required to produce consistently compelling work for clients. Perhaps it is a type of determination and dogged commitment to get a thing done. So maybe that is "determination"?

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
First, look away from the thing you've been staring at for too long. I look for inspiration in unexpected places. The "magic if" can go a long way for the well-worn mind. How might an engineer design a Human Resources department? How might a doctor approach a new cooking recipe? How might a car mechanic repair a heart? Creativity can come roaring back at the most unexpected moments - I try to find a way to stay open to hearing and seeing it when it happens. The Artist's Way "Morning Pages" help. I also keep a waterproof pen and pad of paper by the shower.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Again, after only being in the industry for a year there is still a lot for me to see and learn. An immediate opportunity might be to get purposeful about looking at ways to leverage technology to create more efficiency in the market.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
Disruption that accelerates business instead of stalling it. Snackable - but impactful - business/team enablement models. Growth mindset. Market-making. Non-monetary, impactful success currencies.

What one movie, book, TV show or podcast do you recommend someone rent, read or stream tonight?
Scene on Radio: Seeing White