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Havas Appoints Sharon Annafi as UK Group DE&I Lead

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Sharon’s non-industry background will bring a fresh perspective to the group’s DE&I approach

Havas Appoints Sharon Annafi as UK Group DE&I Lead

Marketing and communications group Havas UK has appointed Sharon Annafi as its new diversity, equity and inclusion lead. Reporting into UK group chief people officer Ewen MacPherson and working closely with Havas Creative global CEO Chris Hirst, she will be responsible for shaping the group’s overall DE&I approach, initiatives and policies, including Havas’ ongoing DE&I programme, All In, and driving its ambitious 10-point DE&I charter, first unveiled in 2016 and refreshed in 2020.

She will also sit on Havas UK’s DE&I executive committee, alongside MacPherson, Stephanie Marks (managing director, Havas Media London), Faye Raincock (communications director, Havas UK) and Tamara Greene (global brand director, Havas Creative).

Sharon joins from responsible business consultancy Business in the Community – where, as senior diversity advisor (2019-2021), she created and led change programmes for a wide range of FTSE 100 and blue-chip organisations including Barclays, Vodafone, Nike, Credit Suisse and Cancer Research UK. These programmes, rooted in workplace culture, aimed to improve organisations’ gender equality, race parity, age equity and employee wellbeing and included allyship and advocate training, anti-racism training, mentoring, and inclusive leadership and behaviour change initiatives.

Her appointment by Havas represents Sharon’s first role in the advertising industry – which, coupled with her experience working with some of the world’s largest employers and global brands, proved a compelling proposition.

Chris Hirst, global CEO, Havas Creative says: “Sharon brings deep and extensive experience of helping big, blue-chip brands become as inclusive, diverse and representative as possible – and I’m thrilled she’s decided to come on board to turbocharge our own ongoing development. What excites me most is her ability to approach our industry with a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh approach. We will learn from her immensely.”

For Sharon, the chance to shape a large, culturally influential organisation from within was too good to turn down.

“I believe businesses play a fundamental role in shaping society”, Sharon says. “I don’t just want Havas to be the most inclusive organisation in the industry, but for us to drive the sector forward as a whole. Through the reach and agenda-shaping nature of its work, this industry has almost unparalleled cultural influence – and it’s important we use that influence as positively as we can.

“Havas’ campaigns, ambitions and existing initiatives appealed to me greatly. They already demonstrate real commitment in this area, and have made good progress. There’s a shared understanding that continued improvement, and hitting ambitious 2025 targets, doesn’t just sit with me, but everyone across the business. Ultimately, I want to help create a culture whereby a kid on a council estate in Islington can walk into Havas’ Village in King’s Cross and feel wanted. How’s that for an exciting ambition?”

Prior to Business in the Community, Sharon spent two years as CSR/D&I project manager at the BIG Alliance, and has also had stints working with educational facilities, local councils and UNESCO. She volunteers extensively and is currently a mentor to graduates entering the corporate arena as well as young care leavers. She is also part of a London-based team working with schools to encourage greater participation of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic parents in the education system, with a target to reducing school absenteeism for minority ethnic young people.


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Havas UK, Thu, 17 Jun 2021 11:45:40 GMT