Six years ago, artist and designer Marshall Shorts established the Creative Control Fest along with co-founder Corey Favor.
The annual event promotes diversity in the creative fields, a sector in which Shorts says black professionals have struggled to do as well as their white peers. Since its founding, the conference—set for Sept. 7 at the Columbus Museum of Art—has provided Shorts with many lessons on how to create a more inclusive work environment. Here are four.
Diversity of thought comes from diversity of people. “We throw the diversity term around without specifying the kind of diversity we need, or we say that what we're looking for is a diversity of ideas,” Shorts says. “But I maintain that you can only get that from a diversity of people.”
Don't compartmentalize employees of color. “People of color, especially black creatives, are relegated to certain types of work because of the perception that this is the only work that they can do,” Shorts says. “This limits growth and opportunity for that person and opportunity for that business.”
Look for talent in less obvious places. “If you are only going to certain places to look for talent, that is a simple thing that you can change,” Shorts says. “You can go to different areas and look for a talent. ... Don't do the traditional vetting of discounting someone because of their age or race.”
Beware the myopia of money. “For a lot of businesses, the driving factor is making money. But if you are building a company for the future, these are things that you have to pay attention to right now.”