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Santia Nance, 31

Supervisor, Cultural Impact Lab Digital Engagement

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A media professional, Santia Nance pushes creative teams to reflect reality within the advertising world, pushing for people of color to be included in ads with a contextual lens that’s set to authenticity rather than force-fed standards of inclusion.

She starts at the conceptual phase, not just in casting, advocating for hiring diverse talent that allows for perspectives broader than that found in syndicated research.

Nance discovered her love for advertising through the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, which she credits for being one reason she was able to get where she is today. For inspiration, she looked to her mother and grandmother, who instilled in her a desire to achieve more than they were able to. Nance continues to be involved with the program as a mentor.

“It’s important to me to show up to support younger people,” she says. “I’m proud to be in that position to allow others to see me and know that they’re represented. Because coming up, I didn’t have that role modeling.”

A hula hooper since high school, Nance rediscovered hula hooping after she graduated Virginia Commonwealth University after taking a class. These days, she’s the main force behind RVA Hoop House, an all-volunteer group that helps minority youth in low-income communities find artful expression and exercise options.

“Anyone who wants to learn hula hooping, I’ll teach them because it always puts a smile on their face,” she says of performing at local events. “I’m all about the hoop love and finding who I can make smile today.”

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