This week Black Strat officially launches as an international online community for Black strategy professionals, with the aim of diversifying the historically elitist strategy discipline.
The community soft launched on Whatsapp in 2020 and has since grown to 100 members. Black Strat is focused on exchanging resources, inspiration and mentorship to elevate Black Strategists on a journey towards excellence.
Often the only ‘one’ with a seat at the table - the community is designed to give Black Strategists their own table, creating a space where there wasn’t one previously.
Black Strat is also launching a series of community member talks featuring speakers including We Are Pi strategist Paris Bethel, McCann London head of strategy Rob Scotland and others.
Black Strat has evolved with community input and participation. The branding was made by We Are Pi led by Alex Bennett Grant, Paris Bethel & Seth Josephs. The web design is by Tarik Fontenelle of OnRoad.
Ayo Fagbemi, Black Strat founder says: “I started this group last year after working on a project where we were talking about the fact that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. At that moment I thought to myself I don’t know any strategists at a senior level that looked like me. Starting with a WhatsApp that had three people to one that snowballed to a group of 90 members, with seniors & juniors as well as people trying to get a foot in the industry. I guess in short the aim is for this group to be more visible to encourage more black strategists to join a discipline that we all know can be very closed off & elitist. We can’t wait to open some doors for people & showcase the amazing talent we have in our group”
“Black Strat has been invaluable to me in three key ways. Firstly, providing a sense of community in a profession where seeing other people of colour isn't as frequent as in should be. Secondly that the solidarity formed amongst strategic peers creates a comradeship and confidence which makes dealing with the underlying trauma of race much easier to navigate. And lastly, that there are daily opportunities to share best practices and resources, advise and learn from others - hopefully making it easier as a group for black professionals in advertising to succeed.” - Rob Scotland, head of strategy, McCann London
"The strongest communities are rooted in empathy and a will to drive positive change for all its people. There's something very empowering and humbling about being part of a community that not only understands you but wants to see you thrive. That's what I love about this group, everybody understands our purpose is to lift each other up and push forward".- Ibtisam Omer, director of marketing, MUBI
"The industry has quite a lot of networks and clubs, though the representation of the members is even less diverse than within agencies themselves. Knowing the power of networks in giving support and granting access, gives a clear vision of what the benefit of a Black Strategist network can deliver for the individuals, the clients and the agencies they work for." - Dino Myers - Lamptey, founder, The Barber Shop
“What I love about Black Strat is that it started with a group of people, coming together to push each other and pull each other up. There is no hidden agenda, it’s not just for show, it’s organic and it’s real. It came about in a time where white privilege is on the forefront of people’s minds but it’s not focused on that, it’s focused on giving black people a platform to share, be acknowledged, to learn and to grow.” - Ren Balogun, Something More Near
"12 months ago there was no home for Black Strategists. Most of us had no idea there were 'others' out there. Today the community is over 100 international people which is mind blowing and amazing. The best part for me so far has been the sense of collective energy and community, which is why we stepped up to create the branding. I hope we've created a brand that becomes a recognisable place for Black Strategists to get together and grow together." - Alex Bennett Grant, founder and CEO, We Are Pi.