Andrew McCaskill’s Profile in Leadership Featured in Diverse Voices
New book profiles the paths taken and people who have brought Diverse Voices to the PR Industry
Diverse Voices: Profiles in Leadership is a new book that is designed to help communications leaders and professionals better understand the challenges faced by minorities in the field. Among the 40 people profiled are Andrew McCaskill, SVP, Global Communications & Multicultural Marketing, Nielsen. McCaskill shares his story of his start at Coca Cola and offers tips on how people who bring diversity to organizations can thrive and overcome obstacles that might be holding them back.
DOUG: Hi I’m Doug Simon Simon of D S Simon Media, with a special guest Andrew MacAskill he’s SVP of Global Communications and Multicultural Marketing for Nielsen. Thanks so much for being with us. Now one of the cool things that makes me excited to do this is, Andrew was recently featured in the book Diverse Voices put out by the PRSA Foundation telling his story to help the industry understand what needs to be done to create more diversity, that’s effective. What were some of your memories for being part of that process?
ANDREW: It was a great process. I mean it was a really good opportunity to talk about the unique experiences of people of color in the industry and also it was great for me because I just had to hear from my peers and what their experiences were as well. It’s a really good teaching opportunity because everyone’s journey is very different and people can get ideas and perspectives from all of our stories.
DOUG: Now that is wonderful and you know yours in particular, as with most people who are successful in their careers-it starts with a break in the opportunity that they create and then take advantage of what was yours?
ANDREW: So, if I have achieved any modicum of success in my career, a lot of it is a tribute to the fact that I started off an internship program at the Coca-Cola Company. It was kind of a fluke accident that I engaged this particular person when she was coming to speak to students, and I think that’s one of the things that you have to have that curiosity and you have to really investigate opportunities and why people are coming to your campuses and things like that. It was a great opportunity for me. She and I had a conversation we bonded we talked about what I wanted to do and what we were doing at Coca-Cola and it really fit. I got an opportunity to intern there and because I was a part of a target demo for Coca-Cola even back then they were really interested in multicultural. I ended up staying on for the last two years of undergrad as a contract employee so after my internship ended, changed the trajectory of my career.
DOUG: Probably a message I might want to give to my kids-actually getting work while you’re in college. It’s a good thing to get going on that and I apologize for that cheap shot guys, but you know what’s also interesting is that you know you’ve taken advantage of this and grown up. What I find is people who tend to be successful if you will have achieved in their career beyond what most others do, are very sort of humble and it just seems sort of normal that they did what they did. So I think a key thing, is the stuff that seems normal to you to Sheryl Battles, as many other people; but how do we make that common for all other people whether diverse or not. Any advice in that direction?
ANDREW: I would say the curiosity part is never going to is never going to go away. You really have to be interested in a lot of different things to do this work really well. I think people who are great writers do this work really well, and those things will never go away. All sorts of things will change, technology will change, constituents, and consumers will change, what we offer will change, but what we all do at the end of the day is we ask incredibly smart questions to try to get the answers and then we communicate them and most of that communication is done through writing. Think that that’s the real important part is to have those table stakes. But the other piece of it too, is to expand your purview start to ask questions about, don’t be afraid to take a global assignment. One of the things I think for people of color, is that often times we don’t necessarily take sort of on the global assignments, where we don’t take on assignments around the big crisis projects. And we don’t raise our hand to ask for those because sometimes we may be intimidated, because we haven’t had that experience before, but just because you don’t have the experience today doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and pursue it with just incredibly dogmatic about pursuing how to fill in the gaps that you have now. And being aware enough to recognize that you do have gaps. I think that those probably some things that across the board. But I think you have to have a certain modicum of bravery to say I’m going to stretch as much as I possibly can particularly in the beginning of my career.
DOUG: Awesome. Fantastic advice. Congratulations on being included in such an important book for the industry.
ANDREW: Thanks to the PRSA Foundation and everyone who’s involved with it was a great honor to be asked to participate.