Celebrating five years, Verizon’s adfellows announces bold plans for expansion

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A model of career development for diverse talent, adfellows brings on new partners, expands its footprint and sets plans to support 250 fellows per year by 2026

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NEW YORK - Today, as Verizon and its partners celebrated the graduation of the fifth class of adfellows, Verizon announced its goal to significantly expand the paid fellowship program, which is designed to address the diversity and inclusion gap in advertising and marketing by providing meaningful job experience and career acceleration opportunities to the next generation of diverse talent.

Verizon announced that industry leaders and long-time adfellows partners IPG, Publicis Groupe, and Accenture are deepening their commitment to adfellows as “accelerators”. Their partnership will support Verizon’s goal to expand the program to eight times its current size – from providing opportunities for 30 fellows per year, to 250 per year – by 2026.

Verizon also announced the addition of Disney Ad Sales, United Airlines, CVS Health, and AKQA as new partners in the adfellows program. And for the first time, adfellows will expand beyond New York City to Chicago, providing fellowship opportunities in the country’s second-largest advertising hub.

As adfellows seeks to further accelerate the program’s impact, Verizon also wants to ensure companies and agencies of all types have the chance to work with adfellows at a level that works for their business. The adfellows model will continue to evolve to create various levels of participation and investment customized to each partner, to allow companies of all sizes to join their mission.

“At Verizon, we believe that you must take real, measurable, and scalable action to drive change within industries,” said Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon. “To date, the adfellows program has an impressive 98 percent placement rate into full-time positions across agencies and brands, and 95 percent retention rate within the industry following program completion. We’re proud to celebrate five years of welcoming new, diverse talent to the marketing industry, and are humbled by the mark they’ve already made in their roles at some of the world’s most forward-thinking companies. The growth of this program is a testament to each fellow’s individual success, and the collective support of partners who believe in empowering talent from all backgrounds.”

During this program, fellows cycle through a series of companies and marketing agencies over an eight-month period, trying out various roles in public relations, creative, media, client-side brand marketing, and more. Fellowships are paid, and the program covers costs including accommodations and living expenses, to remove potential barriers to participation.

This year, Verizon also is providing an exciting experience to further accelerate the careers of outstanding adfellows alumni. Alumni can apply for the opportunity to attend the Cannes Lions festival in June 2022, to attend inspirational keynotes, shadow Verizon and partner executives, and network alongside some of the most influential leaders in today’s advertising and technology industries.

The adfellows program is just one of the many ways that Verizon is working to create a diverse marketing ecosystem, both inside and outside the company. In 2020, Verizon introduced Citizen Verizon, its plan for societal, economic, and environmental advancement, and in spring of 2021 rolled out Verizon’s Responsible Marketing Action Plan, reflecting a commitment to a diverse marketing ecosystem across Verizon and all agency partners. To help other marketers and brands make an impact with actionable, measurable goals, the company released a set of free online tools, including insights from Verizon’s own DE&I work. Verizon will be releasing a transparent report of its progress against those goals later this month, with ambitious new goals for 2022.

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