Debbie Ellison, chief digital officer of Geometry UK, WPP’s end-to-end creative commerce agency, has been named as an ethnic minority executive in this year’s EMpower ethnic minority role model list.
Supported by Yahoo Finance, the annual list celebrates 100 business leaders breaking down barriers at work and working to smash the ceiling for ethnic minorities in the UK, Ireland, and people of colour in the US and Canada. Debbie joins a powerful line-up of people including Ajay Banga, president and CEO, MasterCard; Punit Renjen, CEO, Deloitte Global, and Rachael Palmer, head of VC and startup partnerships, Google.
Commenting on the list, Debbie Ellison, chief digital creative officer, Geometry UK, has said: “I’m incredibly humbled and proud to stand alongside such inspiring people. I’m passionate about our industry and being able to help uplift its diversity means a lot to me personally. An incredible level of support from agency grass roots through to UK, regional and global leadership means we all have confidence to make positive impact to communities in the business and outside too”.
All 2020 ethnic minority role models were nominated by peers and colleagues. The nominations were reviewed by EMpower’s judging panel. Each person was scored on the influence of their role, their impact on ethnic minority inclusion inside and outside the workplace and their business achievements.
The judging panel included: Ashok Vaswani, global head of consumer banking and payments, Barclays; Dame Vivian Hunt, managing partner, McKinsey & Company; Nina Vaca, chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group; Paul Polman, co-founder and chair, IMAGINE; Linda Yueh, economist, author and broadcaster; Karen Blackett, UK country manager, WPP and chairwoman MediaCom UK and Ireland; Lianna Brinded, head of Yahoo Finance UK; and Suki Sandhu, founder and CEO, Involve.
Michelle Whelan, CEO, Geometry UK, said: “Thanks to Debbie’s leadership and focus we have been ahead of the curve in our journey to equality. We actively monitor over 50 activities across 4 key areas in the business to attract, develop and retain BAME talent. Taking action is important and we’re thrilled that Debbie is leading the charge and recognised in this way.”
Named Industry Shaper by the global Women in Marketing Awards 2019, and voted an Campaign/IPA Woman of the Future in 2016, Debbie is one of a handful of female chief digital officers in the industry. She is pioneering transformational changes through people-first, technology solutions enabling clients to drive growth.
Debbie actively encourages diversity in business and sits on WPP’s Inclusion Board and on the steering committee of WPP Roots, championing greater ethnic and cultural diversity across WPP operating companies. Over the past 18 months, she has launched Geometry Roots and The Incubator, an 'agency within an agency' experience encouraging students from a BAME background to pursue careers in creativity, technology and advertising. She is a member of Inspiring the Future, a UK government initiative connecting professionals with students. Debbie has lectured at Condé Nast Design College, Cambridge University and speaks regularly at schools.
The full list can be viewed here