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FleishmanHillard Partners with Cannes Can: Diversity Collective to Bring Positive Impact to the Industry with New Voices

September 14, 2023

FleishmanHillard and Cannes Can: Diversity Collective (CC:DC) joined forces this summer to bring fresh perspectives to key creative gatherings, leveraging the power of FH4Inclusion, FleishmanHillard’s pro-bono and volunteer initiative that has provided more than 37,000 hours of service to more than 130 global nonprofit organizations advancing inclusion.

It all started when Adrianne C. Smith, FleishmanHillard Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and CC:DC founder, attended her first Cannes Lions Festival and witnessed a significant lack of representation. She created CC:DC in 2017 to continue the conversation about the lack of diversity in the communications industry and to bring previously underrepresented groups to the table. In 2018, the organization brought its first group of ambassadors to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where storytellers, creatives and other industry professionals gather annually. From there it took off, bringing more ambassadors each year and creating bespoke programming.

Fast-forward to 2023, we locked arms with CC:DC and supported social media management, media relations, thought leadership, activation planning and on the ground logistics at CC:DC’s two annual activations: the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and Inkwell Beach at Martha’s Vineyard. At the events, our colleagues helped connect Grammy award-winning producers, well-known activists, artists and Fortune 500 sponsors to facilitate thoughtful and impactful conversations surrounding the intersection of inclusion, creativity and the need for continued investment into both within our industry.

Our global creative team also got in on the action, working with CC:DC to reinvent its AYA Inclusion Awards program hosted in Cannes. This included developing the graphic design and overall aesthetic of the awards, along with creating the award categories and judging standards, and having a hand evaluating the entries. In the spirit of inclusion, the AYA awards are free to enter.

“The goals of FleishmanHillard and CC:DC align in many ways to create a more inclusive communications and marketing industry. We were able to uplevel the already impactful work that CC:DC has been doing by enhancing the AYA Inclusion Awards with our world-bending creative leaders, managing the flow of events flawlessly, and increasing social and traditional media awareness, which garnered great feedback and engagement online while landing over 20 pieces of coverage in publications such as PRWeek, PRovoke, the Lions Daily News, Campaign, Fast Company, Human Resources Director Magazine and more,” said Francesca Weems, Director of DEI, FleishmanHillard.

The reinvigorated awards were also a hit.

“It was inspiring to see so many amazing pieces of work that center various aspects of diversity – be it race and ethnicity, accessibility or gender equality. With work entered from China, Brazil, France and the U.S., the AYA Inclusion Award is a great showcase that across the world diverse agency teams are using creativity to make an impact for marginalized communities,” said Anne Beutel, FleishmanHillard vice president.