Breaking Barriers to Entry: Key Takeaways from Impact’s Roundtable

Impact’s co-founder, Jules Dosne, recently hosted an inspiring and insightful roundtable on ‘Barriers to Entry’ in collaboration with the London College of Communication (LCC).

As part of Impact’s ‘Future Proofing Talent through Diversity’ Programme, this event brought together industry professionals and course leaders for a brilliant discussion filled with innovative ideas and valuable insights.

We covered several key topics, including perceptions of diversity, future-proofing diversity initiatives, the importance of role models and ambassadors, and sharing tips from industry alongside valuable student perspectives. Here are our key takeaways:


Educating the Workforce on Diversity and Inclusion

Business Education: Emphasis on educating businesses about the value of diversity and inclusion, particularly concerning graduates from diverse backgrounds.

Partnerships for Training: Collaboration with partners such as Creative Access to facilitate line manager training ahead of summer internships, ensuring managers are equipped to mentor and develop individuals from diverse backgrounds effectively.


Tracking and Measuring Diversity Initiatives

Data Review: Consensus on reviewing ethnicity and gender statistics across levels and assessing exit interview data.

Leadership Turnover Challenge: Acknowledgement of the challenge in lack of senior leadership turnover, preventing an increase in broader leadership representation.

Quotas and Targets: Mixed responses on the introduction of quotas and targets, with a shared emphasis on maintaining ongoing conversations about diversity.

Bold Campaigns: Utilisation of bold, creative talent attraction campaigns to signal a commitment to diversity.

Inclusive Culture: Standardising processes, mixed interview panels, and unconscious bias training are critical in fostering an inclusive culture.


Role Models and Ambassadors

Community and Networking: Students crave an environment of community and networking, underscoring the importance of role models and ambassadors.

Industry Collaboration: LCC’s collaboration with industry speakers and ambassadors showcases diverse and unconventional routes into the industry.

Inspiring Partnerships: Partnerships with schools and charities to inspire students before further education decisions and mentoring programmes targeting lower socio-economic and diverse backgrounds.


Bridging the Gap Between Education and Industry

Graduate Expectations: Addressing the disparity between new graduates’ expectations and the realities of entry-level roles.

Commercial Readiness: Consensus that portfolios should be commercially ready, not just compiled for grading.

Broad Thinking: Encouragement for students to think broadly about how their creativity fits industry needs.


Tips for Early Talent

CV Requirements: Some agencies have removed CV requirements for entry-level applications, focusing instead on tactical skills and behaviours.

Extracurricular Activities: Demonstrating a ‘side hustle’ and engaging in extracurricular activities helps candidates stand out.

Owning Experiences: Understanding that some students have financial demands or caring responsibilities preventing them from undertaking more relevant extracurricular activities—industry advice is to own these experiences and articulate their value.

Passion and Responsibility: The importance of showing passion, responsibility, and the ability to articulate experiences.

Recognition of Graduates: Non-graduates are also valued, with degrees still seen as indicative of commitment, passion, and career direction.

Selling Yourself: Emphasis on selling oneself for a role and the ability to confidently critique and discuss work are standout attributes the industry seeks.

Presentation Skills: Encouragement for early talent to bring fresh perspectives, practice good body language, and maintain eye contact.


Embracing AI and Technology

Leveraging AI: Early careers talent has an incredible opportunity to leverage AI to drive efficiencies and add value positively.

Individuality in Applications: Consensus that using tools like ChatGPT for applications and CVs is discouraged. Employers value individuality in applications, which remains crucial.


Industry Drivers for Change

Diversification Drivers: Clarifying the industry drivers for diversifying are centred around client creative work and ideation. The desire to deliver diverse perspectives and meet clients’ demands for representation of the world we live in.

By bringing industry and academia together, we aim to tackle barriers to entry, foster a more inclusive workforce, and prepare the next generation of talent to thrive in a competitive market.

A huge thanks to Carrie-Anne Woodard, Sheriff Showobi, Bridget Flatley, Laetitia Askew, Daisy Hall, Rachel Lenihan, Kate Grealish, Marc Vickery, Louisa Wetton, Carly David, Jonathan Wright, Lainy Malkani, Jackie Raphael-Luu, Chiara Minestrelli, Sam Brooker for your valuable insights and contributions.

Our thanks to Omnicom Media Group UK for enabling Impact to host at your fabulous offices.

How can Employers create a racially inclusive workplace culture?

Impact was delighted to host a roundtable discussion in celebration of Black History Month 2022. Our group comprised of HR professionals and EDI Specialists within the Media and Creative industry who are not only game changers but individuals accountable for D&I within their organisations.

The discussion was hosted by our ED&I Recruitment Consultant – Daniel Oluyomi Asaya who set the tone by sharing both his personal and professional experience as a Black Queer Professional. The space quickly became safe for others to share their individual experiences as well as brainstorm ideas that could lead to effective structural change within the Media space.

Why is it difficult to talk about race within the workplace?

The consensus revealed that many People of Colour couldn’t speak up about their racial experiences within the workplace due to the lack of diversity and care from the Senior Leadership Team.  Some also feared they might be called the “angry black person” or in some cases ostracised or punished if they spoke up about the microaggressions and racism they faced within the workplace. These microaggressions range from mistaking them for their Black colleagues, feeling undermined in their positions, to getting defensive when corrected about an offensive comment.

Another interesting observation was that many White professionals would rather not talk about race within the workplace due to lack of knowledge and fear of being called a racist. Also, discussing race forces people to confront their privilege which is an uncomfortable feeling.

It was generally agreed that race plays a huge role in both our personal and professional lives and should be talked about when and where necessary.

What is your organisation doing to create a racially inclusive workplace culture?

We discussed how some organisations have set up a network for People of Colour to interact, organise and heal. The downside was felt that most volunteers within these groups are often burdened with issues and projects relating to ED&I (just by virtue of their race or identity) without adequate support and budget.  A solution to this was for companies to set out a dedicated ED&I group responsible for ED&I events and initiatives throughout the year instead of relying on employees from marginalised groups to drive this – frequently without reward and recognition.

Other initiatives shared included creating an E-mail and Podcast series aimed at profiling Black professionals during Black history month and beyond as well as an open day for young Black creatives.

How employers create a racially inclusive workplace culture (Key takeaways)

After an insightful session, our takeaways included: –


A big thank you to all our guests and we look forward to continuing this important conversation in our upcoming events.  If you are interested in joining our future discussions, please email

BHM Roundtable Discussion: Thursday 27th October

How can Employers create a racially inclusive Workplace?

A Roundtable Discussion for BHM


Impact’s Future Proofing Talent programme brings you another insightful roundtable session to celebrate Black History Month.  This is a fantastic networking opportunity to connect and share bright ED&I initiatives with HR Leaders and Senior Directors within the creative and media industry.


What is it?

A roundtable discussion to explore ways employers can create a racially inclusive workplace culture.

Where and when will it be?

Thursday 27th Oct at 6:00pm – 7.30pm

Shoreditch, London

Who is it for?

This session is tailored towards HR Leaders and Directors with accountability for D&I in their organisations across the creative and media industries.

Why should I attend?

The session will be a balance of information and conversation from HR professionals with lived experiences and HR professionals accountable for D&I in the workplace.

Impact has a long-term commitment to ED&I and we understand the challenges faced by employers in creating an inclusive workplace culture whilst also having to influence and initiate the difficult conversations required to create positive change.

To register, please email