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Ebert Symposium 2019 Preview: Diversity in Advertising & Communication Panel

If some panels are sold out, please check back with us tomorrow.

On Friday, September 27th, you are invited to attend the second Chaz & Roger Ebert Symposium at the Illinois Ballroom of the I-Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., in Champaign, Illinois. It is a collaboration between Chaz Ebert, the College of Media and Ebertfest. The symposium, titled "Creating an Inclusive Media and Cinema Ecosystem," opens at 9 a.m. and has various panels scheduled throughout the day. This year’s topic grew out of Roger’s vision of movies as a tool for generating empathy among those of different genders, races, ages, classes or other circumstances. Fostering empathy “is the most noble thing that good movies can do,” he said.  

Though the symposium is free and open to the public, online registration is highly encouraged to reserve a spot for selected panel discussions. Here is a preview of the day's third scheduled panel... 


Jason Chambers, panel moderator

Chambers’ research background and course offerings are all historically based. He currently teaches a section of an advertising history course, as well as a course on the foundations of advertising. He also has crafted a course that examines the use of race and ethnicity in advertising. 

Chambers has presented his research into the African-American consumer market both nationally and internationally. His work has been published in books and journals in the United States, Asia and Europe. He has been invited to speak to gatherings of practitioners and academics throughout the United States, Canada and Asia. He also has appeared on The History Channel discussing advertising issues, and his opinions have been sought by a variety of periodicals including Forbes and Black Enterprise magazines. Chambers also has served as a consultant on advertising history programs appearing on the BBC. In addition, he has consulted with national nonprofit organizations and Fortune 100 companies, as well as advertising agencies on matters of diversity, stereotyping and various consumer issues.

The University of Pennsylvania Press published his first book, “Madison Avenue and the Color Line: African Americans in the Advertising Industry,” in early 2008. This penetrating work examines the employment and entrepreneurial experiences of blacks in the advertising industry and their fight to diversify both the industry and advertisements.

Shazzia Khan, Diversity in Advertising & Communication panelist

Shazzia has been with years with Havas Health and You for 15 years, she was named Global Chief of Staff of the organization in 2015. In this role she oversees all of HR, training and development and corporate social responsibility efforts worldwide. Additionally, she partners with the company’s Global CEO on special projects and initiatives. 

She earned her BBA from Hofstra University, continued her education at New York University, and began working her way up through the ranks of the New York advertising world right out of college. Before joining Havas Health and You—and the Talent Management realm—in 2004, she worked with top advertising agencies on the account management side, honing her chops on a number of big brands, notably Maxwell House Coffee (Ogilvy & Mather), Snapple (Deutsch), and Jockey International (Grey). During this time, she also acquired extensive new product development and global launch experience.

Shazzia also volunteers for the Developments in Literacy (DIL) organization, which builds schools for girls in rural areas in Pakistan, and is a Board member for the NAACP.

Ericka Riggs, Diversity in Advertising & Communication panelist

Ericka Riggs’ natural state of mind is curious—her desire to see and explore the world stems from her childhood spent as a corporate gypsy. Ericka’s family steadily moved every three to four years, moving across the country, from Texas to New York, she attended well over five primary schools and two high schools, graduating high school in Paoli, PA., these experiences expanded Ericka’s views and understandings of the world, and she applies that adventurous mindset to her life whenever possible.

In her professional life, Ericka is equal parts architect and entrepreneur, continuously taking on roles that require lots of legwork and building of programs from scratch. In September of 2016, Ericka joined the AD Club of NY, presently she is the Foundation and Inclusion Director—a role in which she is actively advocating, managing and developing talent pipeline programs, diversity-outreach efforts, and culturally inclusive experiences for the advertising, marketing, and media community.

Adrianne Smith, Diversity in Advertising & Communication panelist

Adrianne is the Founder and Visionary of the Can: Diversity Collective, a non-profit organization created to provide access and exposure to young people of color and under-represented communities to global thought leadership conferences on advertising, marketing, creativity, economics, innovation and technology. In 2017, she launched the first iteration of the Diversity Collective, the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective (CC:DC) which provides rising stars in the advertising and creative industry the opportunity to attend and participate in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In 2019, she made history by creating the first stand-alone Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Beach in the festival’s 66 years of existence. Cannes Lions is where the best creative work in the world is judged to the highest standards. 

With more than 20+ years of industry and advocacy experience, including her work as the Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Advertising at Howard University, Adrianne has helped many individuals achieve their personal career goals and organizations achieve their strategic corporate goals. Her training and development programs were the catalyst for the success of several advertising executives. Graduates trained in her program have received numerous awards and accolades including Cannes Lion awards. 

Adrianne’s career has been primarily based on making the invisible visible by creating opportunities for under-represented communities. She has created and produced both documentaries and television programs as well as participated on the launch team for a digital sub-television network. In addition to her advocacy work, Adrianne is the founder of Vision Corps Media Group (VCMG), a media incubation company developed to create new content for current and emerging media outlets.

Lincoln Stephens, Diversity in Advertising & Communication panelist

Lincoln Stephens is a former Advertising Account Management Executive (TracyLocke, Martin Retail, Carol H Williams Advertising, TPN, and Moroch) turned education advocate and social entrepreneur. In his professional career, Stephenshas worked with top brands such as Frito Lay, Quaker, Pepsi, Cadillac, Hummer, Chevrolet, Western Union, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Lexus and Moet Hennessy USA.

In November 2008, he decided to quit his job to pursue his passion for mentorship and co-founded a non profit organization called the Marcus Graham Project. The organization which is focused on bringing more diversity to the advertising industry through mentorship, exposure and career development, has been featured in Advertising Age, Black Enterprise Magazine, Savoy Magazine, and on CNN and NBC. 

Additionally, Lincoln has been acclaimed as one of Advertising Age's top 40 marketing leaders under 40, Ebony Magazine's top entrepreneurs under 34, the Dallas Business Journal's Minority Business Leader Award, AT&T Game Changer, Adweek Rising Star Brand and honored with the University of Missouri School of Journalism's Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in the Media Industry.

To register for the 2019 Chaz & Roger Ebert Symposium, click here.

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