Duncan Channon — an award-winning independent creative agency has appointed its first director of collaboration and equity.

According to Business Wire, Kumi Croom is now the agency’s first director of collaboration and equity. Her new position will build on the formation of Duncan Channon’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) group.

She was responsible for creating the group in 2019.

In a role specifically created for Croom, she will be responsible for embedding the inclusive, culturally-sensitive mindset and collaborative process that she established for the company’s largest client, the California Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, across the agency.

Croom will also lead Duncan Channon’s DEI group focusing on ongoing anti-racism education for the agency and equitable talent recruitment and retention. She will report to CEO Andy Berkenfield.

“At Duncan Channon, we take to heart the responsibility that we have as marketers and citizens to help shape cultural and social norms that are representative, inclusive, and equitable,” said Berkenfield in a news release. “It’s what drives us in our growing body of social impact work across the COVID-19 vaccine, vaping and tobacco, and health insurance. At the same time, our agency is reckoning with the same challenges around diversity, equity, and inclusion as most of our industry peers. Real change requires new thinking, resources, and commitment. Elevating Kumi as our first director of collaboration and equity will formalize and accelerate our ability to live our values, both inside the agency and through work, we put into the world.”

In 2017, Croom was tapped as the account director for the California Department of Public Health Tobacco Control Program where she assembled an integrated cross-agency team. She won a $40 million contract from the California Department of Public Health to build trust in COVID-19 vaccines among Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities.

“My vision is for Duncan Channon to be and be seen as a multicultural agency. An agency that develops inclusive, human ideas that create change – with an institutionalized process to honor cultural nuances,” said Croom in the release. “To get there, we need to be intentional about everything – our recruitment, retention, culture, and work process across strategy, creative, and communications planning. I’m energized by the support and collaboration from my DEI group colleagues and senior leadership to take on this challenge.”

Before joining Duncan Channon, Croom held account roles at top agencies that included ATTIK and Young & Rubicam. She also worked on multicultural marketing campaigns for Burger King, First Five California, and McDonald’s.