Talent agency UTA has announced a commitment of $1 million to social justice causes.
The pledge accompanies a series of internal initiatives, including raising pay for entry-level positions, unconscious bias training for all colleagues and promoting senior agents of colour to the UTA partnership.
“The past few weeks have shown that we must address the pace in which we’ve approached our diversity and inclusion efforts,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. “It’s our responsibility to move forward with immediacy to ensure change happens, as a company and as individuals. I am incredibly grateful to my colleagues who stepped up and spoke truth to power. They are making UTA an even better place to work and helping drive true and meaningful progress well beyond our four walls.”
The financial commitment to social justice organisations will be provided over four years, guided by the UTA Foundation. UTA expects to begin making decisions on the distribution of financial support in the coming weeks.
In addition, UTA’s iconic Project Impact, where the company traditionally closes for a singular day of action on community-based projects, will focus solely on issues of social justice and racial inequality this year.
UTA’s executive director of inclusion Shanique Bonelli-Moore said: “We believe diverse backgrounds and life experiences influence positive perspectives and great storytelling, yielding broader opportunities for our clients. Much of this work is already underway. It won’t all happen overnight. But we are putting our stake in the ground publicly to hold ourselves accountable and are implementing systems to sustain urgency as we pursue lasting change.”
UTA also made a series of internal commitments, including:
*Observing Juneteenth as an annual holiday and closing all US offices on that day.
*Increased representation of people of color throughout UTA, including senior-level positions—a commitment advanced with the elevation of senior agents Chelsea McKinnies and Emerson Davis to the UTA partnership.
*Unconscious bias training for all UTA employees.
*A commitment to increasing wages for assistants and other entry-level colleagues, to be implemented over time. This builds on UTA’s multi-year plan that took effect in 2017 to raise assistant pay annually through 2020.
*UTA’s recruitment efforts will ensure candidates of color are actively pursued and considered for every available position at the company.
*Enhancing UTA’s highly successful internal Mentoring Program by creating a specialized, identity-based path supporting colleagues of colour.
*A remodeled UTA Agent Training Program that will focus on driving increased inclusivity, retention and promotion for colleagues of color and other underrepresented employees.
*Creation of an internal Leadership Council comprised of a diverse coalition of colleagues from all levels to advise, shape and influence company culture and policy.