CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER
Sandra Sims-Williams is the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) for Publicis Groupe, a global leader in marketing, communications and business transformation employing some 22,000 people in the US alone. The areas of expertise within the Publicis Groupe portfolio are numerous, as are its many well known brand holdings which include Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Razorfish, DigitasLBi, Sapient, MSLGROUP, Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia to name but a few. As Publicis Groupe’s CDO, Sandra is responsible for developing and sustaining talent engagement and inclusion strategies, initiatives, tactics and tools in support of all Publicis Groupe’s agencies. In support of this mission, Sandra chairs the Publicis Groupe Talent Engagement & Inclusion Council to which all agencies have delegates that are invited to collectively contribute to and move forward Publicis Groupe’s talent engagement and inclusion strategy.
As an extension of her role as Publicis Groupe’s CDO, Sandra oversees all of Publicis Groupe’s business resource groups but serves as the lead voice for VivaWomen!, Publicis Groupe’s business resource group for women and their allies. The group advocates for the inclusion of women across all levels of the company and empowers them through a variety of gatherings, training seminars, and conferences including the 3% Conference, Diversity Woman, the Odyssey Network Business Retreat and the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit.
Prior to being appointed as Publicis Groupe’s CDO, Sandra was responsible for structuring the D&I strategy across VivaKi’s agencies – primarily media and digital – as Director of Diversity for Digitas. During her tenure with VivaKi, Sandra’s tenacious efforts to underscore principles and policies of diversity and inclusion became widely known, both within the Publicis Groupe family of agencies, and throughout the industry at large.
Sandra has a long tradition of supporting the business community at large. In addition to serving as a member of YW Boston and the 4A’s Diversity Committee, Sandra also currently serves as a member of the New York Ad Club and works with the New York Department of Education to increase the visibility of advertising as a viable career option to high school students through the “I’mPart” initiative. Previous tenures have included serving as a member of the Women’s Executive Committee of the Boston Chamber, member of the Diversity and Advisory Committees for the Boston Ad Club, member of the Executive Council for both WGBH (Boston’s PBS station) and the Woodward School for Girls, and supporter of The Partnership, an organization whose aim is to attract and retain people of color who relocate to Boston.
Outside of the business world, Sandra is an involved member of her community. She has conceived and developed two transformational women’s groups which both revolve around fellowship, peer mentoring as well as professional and personal growth. One group caters to entry level women as they navigate the early stages of their careers while the other is for more established women. Sandra is also a board member of Boston’s Community Servings organization which supports the distribution of meals to terminally ill patients and their families.
Sandra has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and a Master of Arts degree from Hunter College in New York.
Her contributions and successes have earned her many recognitions and awards which include: Howard University’s School of Communication “Global Visionary” Award; the 15th Annual Rosoff “Mentor” Award; Boston YWCA “Academy of Women Achievers” , The New York Ad Club President’s Award and a 2014 ColorComm Award. Sandra was also featured in the April/May 2013 issue of Black Enterprise in an article titled “The Feedback You Need” and again in the summer edition of SAVOY magazine in an article titled “Diversity in the Advertising Industry—Cracking the D&I Code.”