"I would work with (or for) Necko Fanning in a heartbeat. I have learned so much from him over the years and continue to seek his expertise to inform my work as a DEI Consultant. Necko's lived experience, paired with his infectious passion for DEI, make him a natural DEI champion, but it's his ability to think strategically while activating initiatives at the local level, that elevates him to an exceptional DEI practitioner."
- Paige Robnett, Founder & CEO, DEI Consultant
I got my start working on DEI issues and solutions while working for the US Army as a Military Intelligence Analyst. During my service I saw massive disparities in the treatment of my fellow soldiers based on their identities, particularly between how People of Color, women, and LGBTQ+ plus folks were treated in relation to their cis-het, white, male counterparts. Given that I was often led and mentored by some of the most ambitious women I’d ever met, as-well-as my own treatment, a persistent desire for change emerged that would eventually lead me to leave the military.
While obtaining my degree in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, I took a position as the Assistant Editor for BlakeWrites.com (SelfHIMprovement) with a specialty focus in advocacy and DEI. During this time, I edited and wrote articles exploring social justice topics including the effects of hypermasculinity, LGBTQ+ inclusion within different communities, racial equity, and misogyny.
In 2019, I published an article with the New York Times about my personal experiences as one of the first soldiers to serve as openly gay in the wake of the repeal of DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). I would later become the winner of the “David and Sylvia Nelson Award for Creative Writing” from the University of Michigan’s Dept. of Creative Writing.
In January of 2020 I accepted a position as a UX Writer/Content Designer with Quicken Loans (Rocket Mortgage) and quickly became a DEI Consultant, advising on inclusive language, reworking our existing copy and content, and accessibility in collaboration with the Global DEI Team. I was responsible for facilitating conversations surrounding racial equity and justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in partnership with the Chief Product Officer. Before leaving Quicken Loans I was recognized as a finalist for the FOC 2020 Rock Honors “We Are The They” inclusivity and culture award.
In 2021 I became the first Sr. Global DEI Manager for Havas Group, working with the award-winning Global Talent team to oversee 70+ advertising/PR agencies operating in ~42 countries. During this time, I worked directly for the Chief Global Talent Officer to manage Global DEI programming (All In), co-lead efforts for the President and CEO to become a United Nation’s HeForShe Champion, wrote and produced the All In For Allyship podcast, coordinated the NA DEI Advisory Committee, and generated content for the All In Blog. In May 2022 I was asked by our flagship agency Havas New York to become the first person to hold the title of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
As Director of DEI, I have been responsible for creating, managing, and protecting the interests of Havas Creative ERGs, the creation and management of the HNY Creative DEI Review Board, (which informs the creation and implementation of our services and work), departmental audits, inclusive hiring standards and training, informing supplier and partnership diversity, crisis management and celebratory/reflective communications, and creating NA wide DEI strategy. I’m particularly excited about launching our Executive Leadership Cultural Competency Training which seeks to increase our leadership’s ability to engage in meaningful discussions regarding diversity and inclusion through one-on-one education, testing, and training.