“A changemaker primarily is someone who takes action. So, seeing the need is one thing. For myself, I have the ability to assess objectively where there are gaps and where there’s needs, but then you have to also be bold enough to just kind of go for it or to push it forward, or maybe pick up the conversation where it left off.”
As a changemaker, Chyann Sapp is living up to her name.
Since she joined Wavemaker, the second-largest media agency network in the world, the strategy manager has continued to advocate for BIPOC by leading Wavemaker’s 2% pledge.
The 2% pledge is a media inclusive initiative founded by Group M with partners including Wavemaker, who have committed to spending two percent of their total annual media budgets on Black-owned media companies.
According to Sapp, “No other initiative has been this heavily invested in widening the pool of opportunities for Black-owned media companies by providing both visibility and investment to clients.”
To say Sapp is committed to growing this initiative at Wavemaker is an understatement. Her work on Wavemaker’s 2% pledge has already benefited minority-owned media companies in a way beyond its original intent. “It started as a pledge that was open to specifically Black-owned media companies, and now it’s grown to all minority-owned,” she said.
Her goals for the initiative are growing. “I think there’s huge opportunities to bring these companies to the forefront, and that’s just the first step,” said Sapp. “The second step would be investing time to really understand where they need support, through relationship development and leveraging opportunities that play to their strengths.”
She continued, “So my hope is to really cultivate strong relationships with these companies and provide them with the tools and support that would lead to long-term results and growth.”
Sapp has been growing initiatives and getting long-term results well before joining Wavemaker. After college, she worked as the youth voter coordinator for the city of New York. She attributes her work there as the start of her changemaking.
“That was actually real time trailblazing because I was responsible for creating a lot of programs and curriculum that still exist in New York City to get young people to vote,” she said. “It was a really bold and audacious opportunity for me to grow into the role and to be able to mold the role for the needs of young voters.”
After serving as a voting coordinator, Sapp went on to work in government relations, the nonprofit sector and real estate. She believes her curiosity and willingness to meet a need wherever it is, has made her the changemaker she is today.
“I do love the challenge of diving into different fields, primarily just to expose myself to new knowledge and absorb it. So, my career path definitely hasn’t been linear at all, but I love that, “she said.
In the current workforce, people are no longer limited to learning and doing one thing. Sapp believes that when you explore different opportunities, you acquire skills that can be used anywhere.
“Being curious, seeking out new resources to really understand what it means to be adaptable — that is probably what has resonated with me the most and has carried me throughout my career, and has opened up new paths where I can blaze my own trail.”
According to Sapp, her work as a changemaker is nothing more than a continuation of the opportunities mentors and community leaders have given her. “I’m just following suit, because I think I’ve been lucky enough to be in positions where people have opened doors for me. ”
Finally, she said, “In media that hasn’t changed, and I’m just trying to perpetuate that and lean into the resources that already exist by making them more visible. So, others following me could also do the same thing, and maybe they’ll have an easier path, finding these resources a little bit faster.”
Rae Onwumelu is a correspondent for Marcom Weekly. Onwumelu's writing and reporting have appeared in The Huffington Post, Blavity and CityBeat. She previously served as a feature writer for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and content specialist for The Educational Theatre Association.