New York — Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of National Action Network (NAN) and one of the country’s foremost civil rights leaders will announce during NAN’s upcoming national convention in April, the appointment of Munson Steed as Director of the Madison Avenue Initiative (MAI), a program under the National Action Network that addresses fairness in advertising.
Steed is the CEO of Steed Media Group, Inc., a multimedia conglomerate that includes newspapers, magazines, television programming, internet properties, custom publications, signature events and more. Over the course of more than ten years, Mr. Steed, a noted and much sought after motivational speaker and thought producer, has not only moved the company’s flagship publication, rolling out, into national prominence as the largest chain of African American-owned weekly papers in the nation, he has also soundly established a consummate urban lifestyle brand.
The rolling out brand denotes a lifestyle characterized by an unyielding passion for enhancing access for people of color in the media and advertising industries along with community conscious behavior. Steed’s acute industry acumen is often credited with cutting edge applications for technology and best use practices. Well known for his melding of iconic relationships to benefit those impacted by a fluctuating economy, he regularly leverages his company’s resources to generate greater dexterity in media relations.
Since its inception the MAI has addressed the needs of minority-owned companies that do not receive their fair share of corporate and governmental advertising expenditures and the Initiative has already helped redirect millions of dollars to Black and Latino media. MAI has successfully pushed for corporations to make advertising purchases that approach the level of minority consumer patronage of their products in specific markets. According to Rev. Al Sharpton: “Munson Steed is the right person to accelerate this vision in 2010 and his background and business acumen within the media and advertising industry exemplifies a vision of equal access and inclusion for minority-owned media outlets.”
A part of the MAI philosophy has been to encourage corporations to step up their efforts as it relates to working with businesses of color. For example says Rev. Sharpton: “If we’re talking to a company that does 40% of its sales with blacks and Latinos, we expect a lot more from them than a company that might do marginal sales.” He also says that NAN has been successful in explaining how advertising to minority consumers is beneficial to their company’s growth, and is not a philanthropic gesture. When negotiating with advertising agencies, Sharpton says that he will negotiate more than media placements. He says he wants to deal with “everything from employment to jingles and how they deal with a lot of black artists’ material but won’t hire black artists.”
Munson Steed is a graduate of famed Morehouse College, with a bachelor’s degree in political science. The accomplished publisher is directing a concerted effort to develop partnerships and internship positions with marketing corporations, advertising agencies and media related technology companies. “We can assess the focus and commitment of an entire company based on the inclusion of interns, strategic partners and diversity in their business portfolios as well as the boardroom,” says Steed. As the director of MAI, the media expert intends to concentrate his considerable skills and resources to instituting strategic partnerships and relationships to enhance industry diversification and forge fertile and economically rewarding experiences. Corporations which are traditionally unfamiliar with individuals and companies of color will be encouraged to expand their business interests to include the aforementioned and avail themselves of their valuable contributions to media and technology companies as well as the overall industry climate.
“We’ll offer a creative workshop which will facilitate internships and incorporate a national creative workshop tour to highlight future workplace opportunities in the areas of technology, science, marketing and design. It is critical that the future generation is clear as to where their focus needs to be and that they extend themselves beyond simply listening to music and playing video games to embrace the economic opportunities enveloped in the creation and marketing of those activities,” Steed explains. The new partnerships planned will provide the foundation for NAN to develop creative workshops as a future training ground and industry incubator for media and business development forums.
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