Fifteen leaders from across WPP have been named in the global Empower Role Model Lists 2022 for breaking down barriers and driving inclusion for people of colour in business. From India, WPP’s Apoorva Bapna, Chief Culture Officer, is named in the list of Top 100 Executives leading by example and removing barriers on the path to success for ethnically diverse employees.
The lists, compiled by INvolve and supported by Yahoo Finance UK, celebrate 100 Executives, 100 Future Leaders and 50 Advocate Role Models from across all business sectors for their work in championing inclusion and driving strategic change within their organisations.
As a Chief Culture Officer at WPP, Bapna relaunched WPP Stella – an initiative supported by the WPP’s Global CEO – in India. Its aim is to develop and accelerate the careers of current and future women leaders by providing safe space and access to senior women leaders for mentorship and coaching. WPP Stella in India has established a pool of 50 female mentors that have gone on to support 80 early-career, high-potential female leaders.
Thanks to Bapna’s work and commitment, the program has increased women’s representation across all levels and functions in PR, Media & Creative. She has also overseen the launch of WPP’s global LGBTQ+ community in India, the network is made of a group of individuals of different identities, sexualities, genders, agencies and disciplines, united to ensure diverse thinking and creativity thrives within WPP’s workplaces and within its work.
Ten senior WPP leaders were included in the 100 Executives List: Kirk McDonald, North America CEO, GroupM; Dionne Aiken, Chief Marketing Officer, Kantar; Debbie Ellison, Global Chief Digital Officer, VMLY&R Commerce; Traci Dinkins, President – Head of Media, North America, Essence; Demet Ikiler, EMEA CEO, GroupM and Country Manager for Turkey, WPP; Akama Davies, Global Practice Lead, Digital OOH, Xaxis; Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President – Islamic Marketing, Ogilvy; Dorothy Burwell, Partner, Finsbury Glover Hering; Sabrina Natasha Browne, Vice President – Corporate Affairs, BCW; Apoorva Bapna, Chief Culture Officer – India, WPP.
VMLY&R’s Group Director, Client Engagement Nikeisha Beckford and Senior Talent Development Manager Francis Carrero-Green both feature on the Future Leaders list.
WPP CEO Mark Read tops the Advocates list, which identifies leaders who are creating diverse and inclusive business environments, with Jessica Walsh, Managing Director – Health at H+K Strategies and Jennifer Remling, WPP’s Chief People Officer, were also recognised.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said, “For WPP, diverse and inclusive culture is a business opportunity as well as an imperative. Building teams from different backgrounds and experiences help us to understand our audiences better, deliver innovation and produce the best work for our clients. Ultimately, our success is driven by our people and I’m proud of what we’re doing together across WPP to create a culture where people feel they belong and want to be a part of.”
Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder and CEO of INvolve, said, “I’m so thrilled to be celebrating this global group of trailblazing Executives, Future Leaders and Advocates for people of colour in business. All the individuals within these lists are championing inclusion and, most importantly, leveraging their expertise and knowledge to drive inclusion initiatives and strategic change within their organisations. It’s vital that people of colour within our global businesses can succeed and achieve authentically, and these Role Models are essential drivers of change and are smashing barriers to progress to create organisations where people of colour can thrive.”
Empower 100 Executives:
Kirk McDonald, North America CEO, GroupM (7)
Dionne Aiken, Chief Marketing Officer, Kantar (10)
Debbie Ellison, Global Chief Digital Officer, VMLY&R Commerce (13)
Traci Dinkins, President – Head of Media, North America, Essence (18)
Demet Ikiler, EMEA CEO, GroupM and Country Manager for Turkey, WPP (23)
Akama Davies, Global Practice Lead, Digital OOH, Xaxis (29)
Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President – Islamic Marketing, Ogilvy (42)
Dorothy Burwell, Partner, Finsbury Glover Hering (60)
Sabrina Natasha Browne, Vice President – Corporate Affairs, BCW (67)
Apoorva Bapna, Chief Culture Officer – India, WPP (74)
Empower 100 Future Leaders:
Nikeisha Beckford, Group Director – Client Engagement, VMLY&R (34)
Francis Carrero-Green, Senior Talent Development Manager, VMLY&R (97)
Empower 50 Advocates:
Mark Read, CEO, WPP (1)
Jessica Walsh, Managing Director – Health, Hill + Knowlton Strategies (30)
Jennifer Remling, Chief People Officer, WPP (32)