McKinney names two 2018 Joni Madison Mtern Diversity Scholars
McKinney is proud to announce that Nijah McKinney and Jacob Hege have been named recipients of the 2018 Joni Madison Mtern Diversity Scholarship. Established in 2016 to honor former McKinney COO Joni Madison, the scholarship helps students from underrepresented minority groups and the LGBTQ community learn from working as interns at the agency while aiming to help diversify the ad industry.
McKinney, a native of High Point, North Carolina, is a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University, receiving her B.A in mass communication. Hege, a native of Durham, North Carolina, is a recent graduate of Davidson College, receiving his B.A in communication studies and gender and sexuality studies.
“What started as a way to honor the work and remarkable achievements of one of our most beloved McKinneyites has become much more than that,” said McKinney Chief Talent Officer Sue Roche. “With last year’s scholarship recipient, Barbrianna Adams, conducting an actionable diversity study, we saw the value in awarding two recipients this year. These talented scholars gave us the opportunity to focus on both racial and gender issues as we continue to embrace the purpose and life-provoking insights this scholarship adds to our culture and community.”
Nijah McKinney indicated that attending a historically black university fueled her personal passion for ensuring people of color get equal opportunity to achieve excellence in all endeavors. “Being surrounded by minority groups and seeing that cultural divide firsthand changes you. It lit a fire in me to make a difference that still burns today.”
For Hege, his passion for diversity and inclusion was inspired by growing up in the progressive city of Durham and his experiences as a gay man living in the South. “I hope through my work with Nijah and the rest of the team at McKinney that we can give people a better understanding of their role as allies to marginalized groups and really make an impact on the culture.”
“Both candidates are impressive, especially with the challenges both have overcome” said Joni Madison. “I love and appreciate how they complement each other.”
As chief operating officer from 2003 to 2016, Madison helped create an agency culture that champions diversity. She was a human rights advocate and leader both in the public and private sectors. As a volunteer for Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights agency, Madison served as a member of the board of directors from 2007 to 2014. Today, she is HRC’s chief operating officer and chief of staff.
About the Joni Madison Mtern Diversity Scholarship
Scholarship recipients are selected by Madison and the Joni Madison Mtern Diversity Scholarship committee based on their participation in campus or community activities and their demonstrated impact, with preference given to first-generation college attendees and applicants from underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ community.
The Mternship program is structured for full-time graduate or undergraduate students, or a recent grad who is pursuing a career in advertising or marketing communications. In its 13th year, the program offers students career assistance, training, development, hands-on work experience and a paycheck.