Erica Grubman on the importance of harnessing Creativity for Good

Erica Grubman, Head of Production of our New York studio, discusses the values she practices and incorporates into her role as a key leader at The Mill.
Thought November 8, 2021

What is the importance of companies in our industry to demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility?

It’s extremely important.  We spend most of our waking hours at work, so it’s critical that we feel our workplace aligns with our social values. As one example, I was recently reading an article in the New York Times about how there has been too much focus on the individual’s role in climate change, and that in order to make a difference we need to be looking at the role of our largest corporations which have more ability and influence to shape policy and change.

In what ways has CSR evolved at The Mill over the years? 

All companies, including The Mill, have evolved in recent years as clients and consumers want to work with and support brands that align with their own values. While 2020 will surely be remembered for working remotely during Covid, equally so, it was a critical year for diversity & inclusion in the workplace, particularly in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd.

As a creative company, I do feel that diversity and inclusion were always part of The Mill’s DNA, but we’re now being more vocal and active about how we are expressing this both internally and externally. I’m quite proud that we are now offering very frequent programming for staff in regards to DE&I, led by our DE&I task force and BIPOC global grassroots action initiative, “What’s Next”. Some of the direct examples are panel discussions with expert leaders, book clubs, client events focused on diversity, mental health activities, etc.  It’s amazing to join some of the company-wide discussions on sensitive, critical topics, as it’s amazing to see the same person who you were in Dailies with now moderating a panel on Trans-rights (for one example).

What values do you incorporate in your role as a leader at The Mill?

My largest role in CSR is hiring a diverse production staff.  And this does not refer to one specific type of diversity, but rather all the ways that make us different…be it the color of our skin, our sexual orientation, religion, our upbringing, etc.  I think the more diverse our staff is, the more we will be able to learn from one another, practice empathy, and grow as individuals.

I also am a huge advocate for work-life balance, and I’m actively working with my team to help them “turn off” after hours.  It’s important for everyone to have time for activities that are meaningful to them, as we all have different interests and particular social causes we want to dedicate our time to.  Personally, I spend time volunteering with the ACLU, and also am a professional mentor through an amazing program called Braven (look it up!).  Hopefully in “leading by example” I am encouraging my team to also find time to participate in whatever extracurricular, volunteering, etc is most important to them.

Here at The Mill we do quite a bit of work for important causes. Are there any of these projects that you have particularly stand out to you?

Indeed, that has always been a big part of our culture!  As Head of Production, my main focus now is making sure that we’re finding a way to take on projects that my team feels really passionate about.  When someone comes to me with a project that is particularly meaningful to them, then I will work with the rest of the leadership team to figure out how we can make it happen.  This will always be a priority for me.

Erica Grubman, Head of Production NY

Check out more about how we use Creativity for Good here and discover The Mill’s full community outreach initiatives here.