Diverse viewpoints drive innovation and deliver more authentic and creative outputs. From the beginning, we’ve believed that living our values of humility, authenticity, inclusivity, and (social) responsibility at Firewood drives not only a stronger culture but stronger outcomes for our clients and partners.
Today, along with our S4 sister companies, we celebrate the launch of the S4Capital Fellowship Program—a four-year immersive accelerator program for graduates from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—that will deliver meaningful work experiences, mentorships, and apprenticeships with our most senior leaders as well as formalized and on-the-job learning.
To commemorate the launch of this new program, we asked Firewood Co-founder and President Lanya Zambrano for her thoughts on the fellowship program and why it’s important.
S4 is about creating a new agency platform, one that focuses on speed, quality, and value—and more importantly, at its core creates a culture of innovation and a growth mindset. At every turn, we are excited by our business that represents over 50+ nationalities in over 30 countries. The richness of our diverse viewpoints will drive our business forward and make us stronger.
This program is the brainchild of Sir Martin Sorrell. The initial program is focused on recruiting US graduates from HBCUs and delivering a comprehensive blend of meaningful work experiences, mentorships, and apprenticeships as well as formal learning and support for self-directed study, client immersions, and, once travel opens up again, opportunities to work in other countries.
The important part of this program is not the nuts and bolts of how it works but what it seeks to do. At its core, the focus is outward and on our communities. The idea is that if we understand our community better, we will be more effective in terms of what we do.
This fellowship program serves as one of the many foundational programs that connect us to our communities and make us stronger as partners, clients, and global citizens. I strongly believe that talent programs focused on creating well-rounded, inclusive, authentic mindsets become the building blocks for stronger cultures.
Supporting the initial S4 fellows in our dynamic environment will be important, and equally important will be to listen to their experiences, learn how to refine the experience, and refine the program over time. This is just the beginning—the first of many initiatives that S4 will focus on celebrating the value of diversity.
I’m going to quote my dear friend Wesley ter Haar, it’s about having access to leadership globally. The fellows can expect to write their own ticket, and build an experience in a truly global context.
I envision the S4 fellows as young teachers who will bring young, diverse voices, educating others in the company and contributing to the company doing better work. When you bring fresh voices in organically, diverse viewpoints and perspectives flow through the entire organization and into your work authentically, increasing our potential to create a richer work experience for employees and a richer work product for clients.
For the inaugural class of the S4Capital Fellowship Program, we’re seeking US graduates from HBCUs who boldly question the status quo and rip up the rulebook when confronted with challenges, using creativity and analysis to launch new ways of thinking, working, and doing. If you’re energized to build on the foundation of a new era, we encourage you to apply here.