To improve our D&I efforts in 2017 we set incredibly ambitious goals: increase women in leadership positions by 10%, implement more flexible parental/family leave programs, create L&D programs supporting the development/mentorship of diverse talent and further foster a culture of diversity and belonging.
After an honest assessment of UM's employment profile, we acknowledged that although we were ahead of industry leaders in diversity and inclusion efforts, there remained a fundamental issue in how we defined diversity and inclusion. Inclusion's connotative definition evokes a feeling that initiatives implemented by our organization were done exclusively to fulfill quotas - becoming bars on a graph to ultimately differentiate us from our competitors. Statistics are not what distinguish UM from other agencies though - our familial culture does. With that in mind, we've made our agency's primary objective to foster a climate of diversity and belonging - tackling tough issues like equity and empowerment inadequately addressed by other organizations.
Enacting agency-wide change is no small endeavor, so UM prioritized making diverse executive appointments to ensure the composition of our leadership team was reflective of the make-up we desired for our agency. With Daryl Lee, the first openly gay CEO within the IPG Mediabrands network, and Kasha Cacy, the first female United States CEO in company history, our agency had a formidable tandem at the helm committed to setting and accomplishing lofty D&B goals. Both Daryl and Kasha recognized the immense benefit of appointing more women to the Executive Leadership Team and pledged to increase number of female executives by 20%. UM shattered expectations by making four female executive appointments in 2017:
" Deidre Smalls-Landau - Chief Cross-Cultural Officer
" Lynne Reilly - Global Head Of New Business
" Lynn Lewis - East Coast President
" Karen Hunt - West Coast President
Addressing female representation at the highest level of our organization indicated our intent to more broadly mirror those efforts across the agency.
UM recognized that the next generation of diverse, dynamic talent was already present within our agency, so we created programs concentrated on developing that talent. IDEAL is a program specifically designed to engage, retain and promote diverse female leaders from within our network.
Beyond IDEAL, there are other learning and development programs curated by our Human Resources department tightly focused on a multitude of demographics, with something available for every one of our 5,000 global employees.
Part of our agency culture is dismissing convention in order to realize the needs and desires of our employees. It became apparent to us that the traditional model of work/life balance did not apply to how we operate. We wanted all employees to have the freedom to discuss their personal lives openly, but also have the flexibility to deal with matters unrelated to work in the way that worked for them. UM launched its Discretionary Time Off Policy in 2017, enabling employees to take paid time off as they saw fit, giving them the freedom to manage matters whenever. In addition to the innovative DTO program, UM has amongst the most robust maternity/paternity leave policy in the industry. Female UM employees are granted 12 weeks of full pay after the birth date, work from home prior to the due date and a flexible "ease back" schedule upon their return. All employees are granted 6 weeks of full compensation regardless of sex for parental leave with the policy additionally covering adoption.
Aside from all that UM does internally to support diversity and belonging efforts - it's equally as important to our agency and employees to extend our contributions to the non-profit space. UM is a proud sponsor of the following organizations, many of which have a strong UM member representation as well:
" GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
" Fortune/U.S. State Department Women's Mentorship Program
" New York Women In Communications
" She Runs It (Formerly Advertising Women of New York)