Eleven leaders from across WPP have been recognised in the 2023 Empower Role Model Lists, designed to celebrate leaders who are championing inclusion for people of colour within global businesses.
The lists, compiled by INvolve and supported by YouTube, celebrate 100 Ethnic Minority Executives, 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders and 50 Advocate Role Models from across all industries for their commitment to DE&I in the workplace and to driving strategic change within their organisations.
Empower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executive Role Models:
Dionne Aiken, CMO, Profiles Division, Kantar
Dorothy Burwell, partner, FGS Global
Debbie Ellison, global chief digital officer, VMLY&R Commerce
Shelina Janmohamed, VP of Islamic Marketing, Ogilvy
Kirk McDonald, North America CEO, GroupM
Niken Wresniwiro, SVP Global Communications, WPP
Empower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders:
Narmda Bhudia, global credit risk manager, GroupM
Andre Charles-Foster, global product manager, GroupM Nexus
Amber Tomlinson, product director, GroupM
Empower Top 50 Advocate Executive Role Models:
Mark Read, CEO, WPP
Jennifer Remling, chief people officer, WPP
Mark Read (lead image), CEO of WPP, said: “Our priority at WPP is to continue to foster a culture where everyone feels valued, supported and inspired to create world-leading work for our clients. We believe that diversity and inclusivity are not only moral imperatives but also powerful business opportunities. I’m delighted that WPP leaders have once again been recognised in the Empower Role Model lists, highlighting their contributions to breaking down barriers for people of colour in our industry.”
The recognition of role models comes against a backdrop of ongoing strategic work by WPP to address racial injustice both within the company and across the industry. In 2020, WPP made a series of commitments aimed at combatting racial injustice and supporting Black and minority ethnic talent. As part of these commitments, WPP pledged to invest $30m over three years to support anti-racism charities and inclusion programmes around the world.
This includes WPP’s Racial Equity Programme which funds projects that help bring about change, and WPP’s Elevate, a United States sponsorship programme designed to support Black women in their career growth. Elevate has since been rolled out to 25 high-potential Black women in the UK and will be piloted in its evolved format, SUMMIT, a year-long sponsorship programme for people of colour in Brazil and South Africa this year.
WPP has also introduced diverse candidate slate policies in the UK, US and APAC, has roles specifically marketed and accessible to candidates from under-represented groups, and is nurturing early talent to build a diverse pipeline. In 2022, we appointed a new Global Chief Talent and Inclusion Officer, highlighting our commitment to sustained momentum.
Following the success of the United States pilot, WPP partnered with The One Club for Creativity to launch ONE School UK in 2022, a free 16-week online portfolio programme designed to open doors to a career in advertising for talented UK-based Black creatives.
To ensure progress is driven by accountability, WPP established a global Inclusion Council in 2020 which gives a voice to under-represented groups and advises on goals, identifies barriers and recommends new systems and, in 2021, introduced DE&I metrics linked to leaders’ compensation and quarterly reviews. For the third consecutive year, we have published our workforce diversity data for the US and UK in our Sustainability Report.