Industry consolidation, busy schedules and simple inertia have conspired to set back efforts to increase diversity within the ad-sales community, argued panelists at NAMIC’s morning session on Tues in NYC. "We call each other, and we poach from each other," said Phillip Woodie, dir of multicultural sales at Comcast Spotlight. "It takes effort on all of our parts to bring [new] people in." Woodie said the multi-platform world requires new skill sets that often come from outside the existing cable club. "There are lots of places we can look now," he said. "We just have to take the time and effort to do that." Panelists said a candidate’s unique life experience and knowledge base should get more attention. "It’s time for us to look beyond people with just the pre-formatted resume," said Mark Walton, evp, sponsorship and corporate development at The Africa Channel. "We need to open our doors a little more." Said Vimal Verma, chmn/CEO of American Desi TV: "Every time I hired a resume, I fell flat on my face." (Verma said he’s actually looking to fill 6 ad-sales positions at Desi and urged audience-members to apply). Wendell Scott, vp, multimedia sales at ESPN, said senior execs must educate all employees on "why diversity is important" to ensure that new hiring attitudes permeate the ranks. But Sean Cunningham, pres/CEO of CAB, said firms should also develop better entry-level hiring pools by educating college sophomores and juniors about media ad-sales opportunities. Much depends on busy execs making time to expand hiring practices. "It’s not just the right thing to do anymore," said Cunningham. "There’s a business case for diversity as well."

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