The Professional Journey of Sandra Sims-Williams, Chief Diversity Officer | Publicis Groupe


If you had to choose one specific creative piece (can be a song, photo, artwork, movie, play, etc.) that best reflects your professional journey, what would that be and why?


Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise” is representative of both my personal and professional journey. In her poem, Maya Angelou relates to the fierceness and confidence one needs to keep moving through life’s ups and downs, twists and turns. When you fall, you can and must get back up. There is a stillness about the words and a resolve that you will make it. The diversity and inclusion journey is as full of those moves as life itself. In order to work through numerous layers and dimensions of this work, you must be confident, have resolve and believe in the work and the reasons you do it.

What was the turning point, or most important moment, in your career? How has this moment led you to the leader you are today?

The turning point in my career came at a time when I felt most confident and prepared to advance, but somehow it didn’t happen. One reason I was not given the opportunity was due to my diverse dimensions. I understood what I needed to do, and I vowed to serve and make sure that the path for those wanting to reach higher was fair and inclusive of all people.

Tell us about a female figure who’s had a major impact in your life/professional journey – this can be a mentor, someone who’s inspired you, someone you look up to, etc.

This is a woman who stands for justice and fairness, but also has the personal duty gene that drives her to work for the enhancement of women living their lives by design and not by default. Her passions are to coach and develop people. This plays out in her research and the facilitation of workshops and opportunities to help participants discover their purpose and path to unlocking their full potential. Her no-nonsense approach makes you accountable or at least show up knowing you need to account for your life journey. Having her as a colleague and friend keeps me on the path to finish the race “managing my heat” because she is truly on fire. She is Audra Bohannon.

What is the bravest thing you’ve done in your career so far?

The bravest thing I continue to do in my career is to champion women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, veterans and all those needing a voice, by providing support and championing equitable treatment and opportunity for all.