Chino Nnadi: Build a community that looks like you

It is Black History Month, and every day this month, The Message will be sharing Gavin Barrett’s short profiles of Black professionals from across the industry—marketing, advertising, PR, media and production. Barrett writes the profiles as a way to “fight invisibility,” an exercise in representation for an industry where representation must get better.

Canadian advertising and marketing, I want you to give it up for Chino Nnadi—workplace strategy and DEIA consultant.

An advocate for equity and inclusion, Chino has always pushed to break barriers and challenge how organizations approach talent and diversity. Chino sees herself as lucky because she was able to break into the agency world directly after university, and had the opportunity to work on talent strategy for many agencies and clients. “I know for many—especially those who are BIPOC—it isn’t always that easy,” she says.

It’s why she has been leveraging her unique behind-the-scenes industry insights to build programs targeted to fostering more diversity, equity, and inclusion. Last year, Chino joined the SteerCo board for People of Colour in Advertising & Marketing (POCAM) to help our industry become more inclusive. (Let me say, it’s been amazing working with Chino on the POCAM steering committee).

Chino has close to eight years of experience building global teams for some of the top companies in the world; and has worked hand-in-hand with executive leadership to build on talent and diversity strategies.

Along the way, she has been able to work with some incredibly talented individuals. “The best thing I have ever done for myself was to find and build a community of people who look like me or even understand what it’s like being the only BIPOC in the room,” says Chino. “Through this, I have learned from so many talented mentors.”

For young Black talent looking to break into advertising, who feel pulled in so many directions with so many diversity programs, Chino’s biggest piece of advice is to join organizations like POCAM and BTI (Black Talent Initiative) to find great opportunities and helpful tools. She also recommends building a genuine network, “people you work with and meet, whom you can confide in or bounce ideas off.”

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone or a company you admire; you’ll be surprised what great advice or opportunities this can lead to,” she says, before closing with one final piece of advice. “Even if you don’t think you have 100% of the requirements of a role but have most of them and are willing to learn, APPLY ANYWAYS!!! Believing in yourself might just land you your dream job.”

What is Chino proudest of? She’s sharing her new logo and avatar. “Last September I finally took the leap and launched my workplace strategy and DEIA consultancy. Something I have been dreaming up over the past eight years,” she says. And I say, watch out world, here comes Chino.

Gavin Barrett