i'mPART of Diversity: Q&A from Sandra Sims-Williams, Chief Diversity Officer of Publicis


In honor of i’mPART, AD Club’s diversity campaign that launches today, we asked several industry leaders about the importance of diversity in our industry and why they feel compelled to help raise awareness about the benefits of a more diverse advertising world.

Sandra Sims-Williams, Chief Diversity Officer of Publicis, has played an integral role in rallying the industry in support of i’mPART’s initiatives. Most recently, she helped Ad Club stage our first-ever Diversity Mixer where we presented this year’s findings from the Ad Club and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 10-year commitment to tracking the industry’s progress with effective diversity and inclusion programs.

We sat down with Sandra to find out why diversity matters, how we can increase awareness of the diversity initiatives already happening in our industry, and how she is involved in this important movement.

Why is increasing diversity so crucial to the survival of our industry?

We live in a world of constant disruption – technology, people, communications, education. And it is not just advertising dealing with disruption; every industry has changed. Diversity is a great tool to thrive in that type of unpredictable environment. It allows you to compete in the marketplace because to succeed we must embrace and engage all people and all ways of perceiving our world. To remain exclusive is to perish.

How can we raise awareness about this campaign?

Individually, we can post diversity-centric on the Ad Club site. We can do agency drive-bys and lunch & learns and align ourselves with specific venues where industry folks gather in order to really spread i’mPart’s message. Leave behinds are old school, but they work. And we should all engage the power of social media to turn this campaign into a true, industry-wide movement.

What outside initiatives can you imagine helping us cultivate diversity within the industry?

To cultivate diversity, you have to create experiences and show how difference works in our work, in our family, in our community. We should get creative in the way we do that. We should align with a community efforts already happening in NYC. Is there something happening in the mayor’s office that would be a good partner for this campaign? Are there any celebrities that might make a good spokesperson?

Overall, what does AD Club’s i’mPART diversity and inclusion imitative mean to you?

The Advertising Club of New York is the perfect group to be at the forefront of the D&I efforts because they engage talent at every level and build awareness at every industry event. Their ability to help spread the message of the benefits of diversity is huge. And i’mPart is a great platform to support, advocate, showcase and develop experience and opportunities for diverse audiences.

What makes YOU diverse?

I have many layers of diversity and they are all important to me – woman, black, leader, mentor, sponsor, sister. And I use all of those parts of myself to elevate lives and to change the way difference is embraced!