For years, American marketers have talked about the lack of diversity in advertising.

Roger Adams, who served as CMO of USAA from 2010 until September 2017, then remained at the company in an advisory role until December 31st, 2017, demonstrated that he preferred action to thought. And he found a powerful partner in Renetta McCann, Chief Talent Officer at Leo Burnett/US, an agency owned by Publicis Groupe.

"About a year-and-a-half ago," Adams told 700-plus delegates at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, an event held in November 2017, "we needed to make an agency change."

Roger Adams

Roger Adams, CMO, USAA

"We received buy-in from our senior management" with the business rationale for a Request for Proposal (RFP) that had greater inclusion at its heart. "About five years ago, this is where we would have stopped. But we said, 'Given what's going on with diversity in the advertising industry, we have to put something out here.'"