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Tara McKenty: Promoting Diversity in the Tech and Creative Industries

November 16, 2017

Tara McKenty is Creative Director at Google APAC and one of our Berlin School Executive MBA participants. She is also one of the sparkplugs behind RARE — an exciting upcoming initiative to promote diversity in the tech and creative industries.

Tara holds an eclectic portfolio of creative campaigns, from creating books that test the eyesight of children, to launching a real-time platform that reunites lost dogs with their owners. Throughout her award-winning career, Tara has seen first-hand the challenges faced by minority individuals in climbing the ladder in the creative industries, as well as the innumerous benefits afforded to companies and teams who choose to embrace diversity. RARE seeks to multiply these opportunities by equipping diverse creative talent with tangible tools and skills to make their ideas and talent more visible and valued. The Berlin School is proud to be a founding partner their inaugural event in Sydney, this month and to continue our partnership with the launch of the first RARE Scholarship for our global EMBA Program. We caught up with Tara about the creation of RARE and what they hope to achieve for minority individuals.

 

Tell us a bit about RARE and why it is important? 

RARE is a nonprofit diversity platform that raises and channels proceeds into activity which supports diversity such as internship grants, maternity grants, and research. RARE is launching this November in Sydney with a three-day leadership masterclass which is designed to help minorities flourish by arming underrepresented talent with the tools, inspiration, and network needed to thrive today and lead tomorrow. 

The reason why RARE is important is because our industry needs increased rates in diversity to stay relevant, and to push the creative industry forward. Research has shown that an increase of diversity in perspective results in more interesting and successful solutions. We simply want to see our industry succeed and grow in every aspect, and we strongly believe the retention and acquisition of diverse talent is imperative to our industry thriving.

RARE-SYD is the beginning of the journey. We are committed to creating a platform to champion diversity, and to give all minorities in the creative industries a larger voice. We are already in plans to launch RARE-LONDON, and RARE-TOKYO in 2018, so stay tuned!

 

Have you experienced any notable changes, positive or negative, in recent years in how the creative and tech industries are promoting diversity?

I have noticed change in both industries, they do however face very different diversity issues. The tech industry has a pipeline issue due to low female completion and graduation rates of science and technology degrees, whereas the creative industry has almost equal gender graduation rates for advertising and creative tertiary courses, so the creative industry faces a retention issue. I think the tech industry has done a great job understanding their problem, sharing numbers, and investing in STEM education programs etc, and I think has a much harder problem to solve filling a talent pipeline, whereas the creative industries should be focusing on culture and making the industry are more inclusive environment for diverse talent so they remain in our industry.

 

Gender is a major factor diversity imbalance, especially in the tech industry. Are there ways we can tackle this issue with younger generations, say during school years, before it arises in the workplace?

Absolutely, and as touched on in my previous answer, there are massive amounts of efforts and resource being put into STEM programs around the world for girls, as well as organizations such as Girls Who Code who are providing free training and programs to get girls interested in computer sciences and technology. 

 

 

Find out more about the RARE Scholarship for our Exectuive MBA in Creative Leaderhip. Applications are open until November 30th.