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Mark Read

Mark continues to work hard to improve diversity and build an open and inclusive culture at WPP; women now make up 50% of WPP’s senior managers and 50% of Board members. WPP was named in the 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equity Index for the second year running. This year, WPP introduced a global conscious inclusion training programme, designed to embed inclusion and diversity into hiring processes and performance management systems. Mark also launched a global Inclusion Council to accelerate change throughout the company. The Council will give a voice to under-represented groups, recommend programmes and policies, remove barriers to progression and input on leadership succession. As a member of the Male Champions of Change Global Tech Group, Mark advocates for gender equity in the technology sector. He also made a public commitment not to appear on male-only panels. WPP’s partnership with UN Women has resulted in multiple campaigns to amplify the voice of women.

Mamaa Duker

Mamaa was born and raised in Ghana and has lived and worked across four countries including the UK, US and Hong Kong. She is the lead for WPP Roots – WPP’s ethnic & cultural diversity employee network which plays an active role in amplifying the voices of ethnic minority leaders within the company and creating platforms for ethnic minority women to share their experiences. She has actively worked to embed inclusive thinking throughout WPP’s global network – leading Roots’ expansion, and successfully launching a workshop called “Covering in the workplace”, which explores how ethnic minority employees cover aspects of their identities in order to fit in. She also created an Anti-Racism Resource Pack following George Floyd’s death featuring support resources for Black women. As well as providing informal mentoring for junior colleagues at WPP, Mamaa provides mentorship to young female students at Aves International Academy in her hometown of Tema, Ghana.

Kai Deveraux Lawson

At WPP, Kai’s role has allowed her to highlight top women and leaders of color throughout the network. She supports all employee resource groups, providing marketing, financial, and membership support. She works to provide a platform to showcase WPP’s diverse employee talent and retain a strong pool of talented women and people of color. Externally, Kai co-hosts and produces the Mixed Company Podcast, where she advocates for cultural issues, especially those affecting women in advertising. She has spoken on various panels to bring the importance of diverse representation in advertising to the forefront. Additionally, Kai leads the Fishbowl Women in Advertising Bowl.

Jacqui Canney

As WPP’s Global Chief People Officer, Jacqui is responsible for the company’s global talent organization and making WPP the destination for the industry’s top talent. Passionate about inclusivity and diversity, Jacqui is creating an integrated talent team that will work with leaders throughout WPP to help build a culture that empowers people to do their best work. She serves on WPP’s Executive Committee and is the Chair of WPP’s Charity Committee. Jacqui is a Board member of the American Marketing Association, and she is active in organizations at her alma mater, including the Council for Women of Boston College and the Boston College Women in Business Network. Throughout her career, Jacqui has driven large-scale, people-centered business transformations and she is motivated by the journey to workplace inclusion.

Karen Blackett OBE

Karen is a proven business leader with a track record in creating vibrant cultures, energising teams and consistently delivering business growth and success. She is U.K Country Manager for WPP, the world’s largest marketing services group, and U.K CEO of GroupM, the world’s leading media investment company.

In June 2014, Karen received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours and in November 2018 Karen won the Inspirational Leader category at the Ethnicity Awards.

Karen was appointed Race Equality Business Champion by the UK Prime Minister in 2018.

Mark Read

Since becoming CEO in September 2018, Mark has made culture a cornerstone of WPP’s new strategy. His commitment to create a more inclusive WPP has led to an increase in the proportion of women at the most senior levels: the number of women on WPP’s board has increased to 42%, and the number of women leading WPP’s 20 biggest global brands has doubled under his leadership. Mark continues to champion WPP’s Stella, Propeller and Walk the Talk networks, which provide mid-level and senior women with networking, coaching and help with increasing their internal and external profiles. He and his team have introduced new guidelines for best-practice maternity, paternity and flexible working policies, and made unconscious bias training part of WPP’s ethics training for all staff. Mark has been vocal about the need for WPP and the wider industry to reflect the diversity of society to help clients better connect with consumers. In January, through his membership of the Male Champions of Change Global Tech Group, he called on male leaders to improve gender equality in the technology sector. Mark sees pay gap reporting as a positive move, forcing businesses to act faster and think harder about what can be done to achieve the ultimate goal of equal representation in executive leadership. He shared WPP’s own challenges at the launch event of the Women in Advertising and Communications report into the industry’s gender ‘leadership gap’, speaking of a need for a generational and cultural shift in leadership to better understand what women need to succeed.

Aisling Ryan

The Corporate Practice that Aisling leads at WPP is a committed agitator for positive impact. As well as championing diversity among clients, Aisling is involved in a wide range of mentoring and training for women of all levels and functions at WPP. She personally supports female colleagues through training, career development, conflict resolution, challenges returning to work from time off, and salary negotiation. Aisling also contributes to WPP’s formal mentoring programmes, such as their X Factor programme which prepares women for the next level of executive leadership. Aisling herself is an alumnus and shares what she learned with the women she manages and mentors. Aisling negotiated free office space for the WOW Foundation, the organisers of the annual Women of the World Festival. Beyond WPP, Aisling is passionately involved in wildlife conservation, supporting numerous NGOs. She advises and mentors many women who are senior in these organisations, and in August she hosted some of them in her home.Recently, Aisling joined the Board of Trustees of CSL (Conservation South Luangwa) an anti-poaching and wildlife rescue NGO based in Zambia. As the WPP lead for the United Nations, Aisling has been an advisor to the UN Women. Aisling also helped create The People’s Seat campaign with the UN and UNFCCC. The People’s Seat gave people the opportunity to have their voice heard directly by world leaders. Launched at the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference, Aisling interviewed Greta Thunberg, amplifying the inspirational activist’s voice on the global stage.

Karen Blackett

Karen is an established leader who champions diversity of all types. In 2012, Karen launched an apprenticeship scheme for 18-24 year olds at MediaCom, the first of its kind in the industry. Karen developed Inclusion@MediaCom, where external speakers are invited to share life stories, acting as role models. Karen championed a Women Returners programme with the organisation Successful Mums, and launched Project Blend with the help of Open Blend, focusing on helping everyone reach their true potential blending work with life. Karen introduced a female empowerment programme at MediaCom in 2014 with Shine4women. Karen is a mentor, both internally and externally, as well as taking part in reverse mentoring schemes. Karen helped launch the Our Time initiative, a mentoring programme for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan at City Hall. She is a member of Women in Advertising and Communications London (WACL) and part of their Gather committee. In her new role as WPP Country Manager, Karen is helping to drive through change by creating a UK Inclusion Board with programmes focused on reverse mentoring, cultural inclusion and a leadership exchange programme. Karen was appointed as one of four external advisors to help diversify the Civil Service. Karen is also a Business Ambassador for the Department of International Trade. In the past year, Karen has been named as one of the most influential women in Britain by Vogue 25 and as the Prime Minister’s Race at Work Champion.

Lindsay Pattinson

Concerned by the lack of senior female peers, Lindsay launched a global gender strategy in GroupM, beginning with “Mind the Gap”, an initiative reviewing external barriers to women; pay, flexible working and parenting policies. She then launched Walk the Talk, a global programme aimed at helping senior women identify and overcome any internal barriers. They saw amazing results: accelerated promotions, heightened confidence and ambition, and a powerful women’s network across the agency globally. This success led to change at scale and it is now a global initiative at WPP level. She is now focused on ensuring that women are (at least) shortlisted for all senior roles at WPP, and she personally mentors women of all levels across the WPP network. Externally, Lindsay is an active member of WACL (Women in Advertising & Communications London) serving 5 years on the ExCo and a term as President. Our purpose is to accelerate gender equality in communications and marketing. Alongside programs to accelerate gender equality, they provide inspiration to aspiring female talent via Gather, the annual conference, and quarterly mentoring sessions. She regularly appears on public platforms to champion the importance of gender equality, and writes extensively on the subject.

Karen Blackett

Karen is an established leader who champions diversity of all types. In 2012, Karen launched an Apprenticeship Scheme for 18-24 year olds at MediaCom, the first of its kind in the industry. Karen developed Inclusion@MediaCom, where external speakers are invited to give life stories, acting as role models. Karen championed a Women Returners programme with the organisation Successful Mums, and launched Project Blend with the help of Open Blend, focusing on helping everyone reach their true potential blending work with life. Karen introduced a female empowerment programme at MediaCom in 2014 with Shine4women. Karen is a mentor, both internally and externally, as well as taking part in reverse mentoring schemes. Karen helped launch Our Time initiative, a mentoring programme for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan at City Hall. She is a member of Women in Advertising and Communications London, (WACL) and part of their Gather committee. In her new role as WPP Country Manager, Karen is helping to drive through change via creating a UK Inclusion Board with programmes focused on reverse mentoring, cultural inclusion and a leadership exchange programme. Karen was appointed as one of four external advisors to help diversify the Civil Service. Karen is also a Business Ambassador for the Department of International Trade.