I left GLH having attended CreatEID: Emerald Network X Wunderman Thompson last Thursday night, smiling ear to ear. Sufia pulled me aside back in the beginning of April with an idea she prefaced ‘might be crazy but…’. What she, with the help of Emerald Network’s Rooful Ali, and the wider team at WT brought to life, was in fact not crazy but the UK’s industry’s first-ever Eid Celebration with diversity, community, and inspiration at its core.

These first-to-do experiences don’t just happen by chance. Like the work we do; good, lasting, and inspiring work stands the test of time, because it came about over time and speaks to unique backgrounds and experiences that are universally important to us. The wonderful thing about creativity is that it has diversity at its core, and when it does that right it has the power to connect and give people access to seeing the world in unique ways.

Being the first meant we brought together a diverse group of Muslim professionals, and my work colleagues, both shining in their respective fields, in an evening of energy and enthusiasm, forging connections, inspiration, and ultimately deepening our understanding of one another. It also made for a truly authentic experience, one in which both parties were coming to a space, as they were, with no agenda. Just a genuine interest in broadening our horizons to leave a little more educated and connected. I was amazed at the power of that simplicity and reminded that it just takes an idea which at its core aimed to unite and create space for people to embrace the spirit of unity and inclusivity.

It is important to keep moving forward in the Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity space and action more on the things and people we want to see both within our work and broader society, and CreatEID has inspired me to ask the question of ‘what can we do next’ to act with shared purpose.

I am grateful to work in such a company that encourages and champions these experiences and opportunities, that not just goes along with business cadence of IE&D, but fully champions it and breaks new ground to encourage a more inclusive and connected industry for everyone. I am also excited for the connections made in that evening, both on an individual basis and also on a broader partnership level between Wunderman Thompson and Emerald Network. Watch this space for how that will take shape with future events and collaborations – there’s more than a big enough appetite and inspiration that has been ignited!

- Sasha Grover, EMEA Corporate Development Executive

Working in advertising, we are in the privileged position of being constantly surrounded by big creative ideas, connecting brand strategy and concept to areas of rich contemporary culture. On a conveyor belt of tight deadlines, big reviews and important pitches, moments taken to reflect collectively on how our work impacts society at large are seemingly few and far between.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to take part in one of those moments, witnessing first-hand how members of a particular section of the community perceive and value our work. Wunderman Thompson and Emerald Network’s CreatEID event was an industry first, at which Muslims celebrating Eid were invited into our London office to find out more about the agency, whilst reflecting and reconnecting after the month of Ramadan.

It was an incredible evening of live Arabic calligraphy, cultural cuisine and thought-provoking conversation, highlighting the importance of embracing diversity and faith in the workplace.

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The event began with a chance to meet members of Emerald, the UK’s longest established Muslim professionals’ network. There were representatives from a vast array of business and industries, all intrigued and excited to find out more about Wunderman Thompson’s work. “You did KitKat, right? That’s SO cool!”

Qari Is’haaq Jasat beautifully recited and reflected upon an āyah from the Quran. He talked about key learnings from Ramadan as a period of reflection, eloquently advocating his belief that making even a small positive change in one’s behaviour constitutes a success; a life lesson for us all.

Rooful Ali, founder of Emerald, took to the stage to provide an overview of the important work done by the professional network from both an individual and community aspect. Through a diverse range of events, Emerald acts as a connecting platform for Muslims to gain inspiration and knowledge, promote and develop business acumen, as well as raising money for a wide range of causes.

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It was then over to Wunderman Thompson, with Sufia Hussain (EMEA Inclusion Equity & Diversity Director) and Steve Aldridge (UK CCO) talking about the paramount importance of nurturing a culturally diverse workplace, both for employee wellbeing and as a foundation for the creativity that underpins our industry. After a showcase of our most recent work from Steve, there was a palpable sense of inspiration in the room that was only briefly interrupted by the news that the - really delicious - food was being served.

I left feeling proud. Proud that I work in an organisation that embraces diversity and faith, proud of the work that we create, and proud that we give space for community engagement and collective reflection on how our work impacts society at large.

- Tom Grantham, EMEA Growth Manager

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