Walk the Talk: Championing Gender Diversity with WPP

By May 23rd, 2017

My colleague Ann Willis and I recently had the tremendous opportunity to participate in the pilot program for WPP’s new “Walk the Talk,” an initiative bringing together over 60 senior female leaders from across the WPP group in Europe for an intensive two-day session at The Grove in Hertfordshire, UK. “Walk the Talk” was launched last year by Maxus with great success, initiated by their global CEO, Lindsay Pattison, the first female CEO within the GroupM network and recently named Chief Transformational Officer for GroupM.

The ‘Walk the Talk’ Experience

We didn’t know what to expect as the coaching was based on “in the moment” exercises but we did see some familiar faces including our colleagues from Bookmark Content & Communications Lucy Coles (Chief Content Officer) and Kirsti Webster (Client Services Director). We were welcomed to the session with a personal message from Sir Martin Sorrell, who emphasized WPP’s commitment to increasing the number of women at the top of WPP organizations. We were challenged with the task of making sure that we met every woman in the room and were given a series of exercises that would help us fulfill our potential, play our “Bigger Game” and overcome obstacles.

“We connected with like-minded and dedicated peers who have championed diversity, equality and opportunity throughout their careers.”

As we were guided through the exercises, we met incredible women, shared experiences – both professional and personal – and, most importantly, connected with like-minded and dedicated peers who have championed diversity, equality and opportunity throughout their careers.

On a personal level, I’ve never felt that my opportunities have been limited in any way by gender during my almost 20 years at Spafax. But the issues that were raised during the session do need to be actively addressed across the industry.

And the numbers speak for themselves. According to research from MSCI on gender diversity on corporate boards, only about 18 percent of board seats worldwide are occupied by women. Even more staggering is the fact that only 4 percent of all global CEO roles across the world’s 500 leading corporations are held by women.

Empowerment Through Action

But how can organizations empower women to succeed? One thing is certain: we cannot be complacent. Each and every one of us have a role to play in ensuring that we create an inclusive, supportive and progressive workplace that inspires growth, satisfaction and success.

“Our diverse network contributes to the inspired services we provide our clients and we’re certainly proud to be part of WPP, an organization committed to creating an inclusive workplace.”

At Spafax, Ann, our Global Talent Officer and MD Special Projects, is collaborating with tenthavenue CEO Rupert Day to dive into equality matters. Ann and Rupert are working closely to develop initiatives that champion women in the workplace and ensure family-friendly policies are implemented across the group.

Given the Spafax global footprint, diversity is the foundation of our business – our diverse network contributes to the inspired services we provide our clients and we’re certainly proud to be part of WPP, an organization committed to creating an inclusive workplace throughout the WPP family.