Ronnie Dickerson Stewart: VP Talent Engagement & Inclusion, DigitasLBi NA

Ronnie Dickerson, 2004 MAIP Alum, 2010 Rising Star, and VP, Talent Engagement & Inclusion at Digitas, attributes her advertising foundation to MAIP. Ronnie has held cross-media strategy and investment roles on brands such as Morgan Stanley, Nintendo, and Toyota. In 2015 she founded a career navigation consultancy, The Dickerson Stewart Group, as a commitment to education, growth and development. Ronnie reaches back, helping the leaders of tomorrow grow and develop, via the MAIP Alumni Association, 4A’s IAAS Partnership, and ADCOLOR.

How did you get your start in MAIP?

I applied for MAIP junior year at Kentucky and got declined, so I went to Dillard’s and applied for a job selling shoes and planned to take a free internship. I was at a step show in Chicago and got a phone call from Tiffany R. Warren informing me that someone dropped out of MAIP and I was able to reapply. It was for a position at Starcom in Chicago so I reapplied and drafted a letter about why I was fortunate to work under Renetta McCann. I got the position and had an offer before I went back to school.

How has MAIP helped you?

We carry this hunger and desire to be in an industry where historically, we haven’t been allowed. MAIP provided the arms and legs in - they provided us a window when perhaps a door wasn’t offered for us.

What are some side projects you're working on?

I had a baby. Coaching, sponsoring, supporting. Shining a light on tools people already have to be really great in the industry. I want to be a resource for diverse folks to have that ally or coach on their side to celebrate their wins and help navigate the world. I’m a certified career management and executive coach at the Dickerson-Stewart Group. We offer free 20- minute sessions and an exhaustive list of products and resources. Between now and launch of #MAIP2017, MAIPers will get 25% off services using the code: MAIPfam. (One per customer and valid through June 5, 2017.)

What are some workplace wins that you're most proud of?

Starting my career in media but over the last 3 years, I’ve been evolving out of that. In 2015 I became the NA lead for talent at DigitasLBi. It positions me to empower others to make an impact just like me. It helps me be more able to create programming and to support programs like MAIP. I can advance those things that help others.

What are some key lessons you’ve learned since being in the industry?

Show up as a badass but don’t be an asshole. Bring your best authentic self. Know that you’re there to learn. You should always be in a position to receive that knowledge and make yourself better.

What would you tell your MAIP self now?

No need to buy out all the business suits in the business suit section. You’re supposed to be here. I started at an agency that invested in MAIP but when I walked into the room and didn’t see people like me, I had to remind myself that I’m supposed to be here. We want MAIPers to come into our agencies to change the dynamic. They have the fortunate and unfortunate opportunity to change the moment. 

Written by Tien Dang, Coordinator, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, and Talent Development