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Home » Mentorship and multicultural advertising: The lasting legacy of Ron Owens

Mentorship and multicultural advertising: The lasting legacy of Ron Owens

by | Feb 27, 2024

Celebrated annually during February, Black History Month honors the contributions and triumphs of African Americans throughout U.S. history. LMO states: “One individual we’re honoring this month happens to be one of the founders of Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens – the “O” in LMO – and a legend in the advertising industry, Mr. Ron Owens. 

 “Throughout his career, Ron was a passionate and staunch advocate for multicultural advertising and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, and was committed to creating a community that shared these values. Ron worked tirelessly with youth in the Washington, D.C. area to reduce student truancy, discourage teen drug use, and increase the high school graduation rate. He was a frequent speaker at HBCUs, including Howard University, Morgan State University, Bowie State University, and Coppin State University, on topics such as multicultural advertising, market development, branding and more, and participated in many college career recruitment and networking fairs. In cooperation with Howard University and under Ron’s direction and oversight, LMO Advertising established the first historic formal partnership between an advertising agency and an institution of higher learning. This effort culminated with the assignment of one of LMO’s senior copywriters as an adjunct professor and led to the LMO conference room becoming a “classroom” that was frequently filled with students learning the ins and outs of the advertising world. 

 “Thank you, Ron, for all you did for the LMO family, the DMV community and the greater advertising industry.”

In memory of Ron Owens, LMO curated some of his most powerful quotes on Diversity, Equality & Inclusion, as well as words in his honor from those who knew him: 

 Ron Owens on the importance of people:

“The best way to attract and retain good people is to be known as ‘an absolutely great place to work, thrive and realize your potential.’ In closing, my long-time, good friend and business associate, Doug Laughlin, used to say, ‘hire good people, give them the tools / resources to do their jobs, pay them well, and get the hell out of the way and let them do their jobs.’ Amen.”  [From Ad Agencies’​ Biggest Neglect: Their People by Ron Owens] 

 Ron Owens on diversity:

“Contrary to the popular-held opinion, diversity is not a “dirty” word. It’s also not just about race, creed, color or ethnicity. It’s about differences and values including age, religion, the disabled or physically-challenged, generational, LGBTQ, and all underrepresented minorities.” 

 “Diversity stimulates candid, open discussion, innovation, fresh thinking, new ideas, different perspectives and different ways of looking at situations, problems and opportunities in today’s marketplace” 

 “…we will come to realize that for long-term business survival and success, we will have to become more diverse and inclusive. Simply put, from a purely business point of view, the color is not white, black, yellow or brown. It’s green! Therefore, it should naturally follow that we should embrace diversity & inclusion as we treat everyone equally, impartially and respectfully in our search for talent.” 

[From A Case For Diversity by Ron Owens]  

 On Ron Owens:

“We’ve always had a very naturally diverse staff because of the seed that Ron planted years ago.” Karen Laughlin, CEO, LMO 

 Ron’s dedication to investing his time promoting diversity and opportunity in the advertising industry and the DC community leaves a lasting legacy at LMO.  Especially our agency talks with the students at Howard University.” Chris Laughlin, President, LMO

 “Ron was a kind man & a wonderful boss. He was a great storyteller, a devoted mentor, and a great connector. He was generous with this time, was gentle in spirit and words, and always had time for others. He was also a decorated veteran of a war that had many of his fellow soldiers returning with different transport home. This was neither lost on him or on any of us that he spent time with AND I believe that he was a kind man, a great boss, a great storyteller, a devoted mentor, and a great connector because he knew he was offered a gift that others were not as lucky to have received.” Jasmine Hoedeman, former LMO employee

Truly honored to have known Ron – a man who was always kind, wise, giving, and enthusiastic. He inspired and mentored so many, and I know he will live in our hearts forever.” Ody Leonard, Sr. Director, Creative at IQ Solutions 

 “We all have those people in our lives who helped positively shape our future. Ron was that person in my life. He opened the door for me to start a new career in advertising after my military service and continued to care about my personal and professional progress for over 20 years. Always a gentleman, advocate, patriot, and professional, Ron was a role model. I will miss him and will continue to pay his generosity forward” Andy Blenkle, SVP, Yes& Agency and former LMO Employee

Owens was a Capitol Communicator contributor and did an insightful post stating that advertising and public relations “are gradually ending their rivalry in the marketing communications family and joining hands.” (You can read Owen’s other posts by doing a search for “Ron Owens” on the Capitol Communicator website.

PHOTO: (L to R): Philip Douglas “Doug” Laughlin, Dave Marinaccio and Ron Owens

About the Author

Capitol Communicator

Capitol Communicator is a unique online and offline resource for Mid-Atlantic advertising, marketing, public relations, digital and media communications professionals. The e-magazine, e-newsletters and events bring together communications professionals, fostering community and providing important information; news; trends; education; and opportunities for networking, career enhancement, business exchange and showcasing great work. Visit www.capitolcommunicator.com to learn more.

1 Comment

  1. Sherri Anne Green

    Ron made a great impact at LMO and on so many individuals in the industry. Even after retiring from the company, Ron was a cheerleader to so many whether they were still at LMO or when they had moved on to other ventures–me included. He is missed, but his mark and legacy endures through the people he touched and encouraged wholeheartedly.

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