New JWT CEO Sets Out Diversity Agenda at London Event

Tamara Ingram: 'It Is Our Duty to Produce a More Positive Narrative'

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Tamara Ingram
Tamara Ingram Credit: via Twitter

On just her fourth day as CEO of J. Walter Thompson Co., Tamara Ingram has already set out a clear agenda for diversity.

Ms. Ingram chose the London launch event for a JWT film series called "Her Story: The Female Revolution" and a new report on "Female Tribes" as the backdrop for her first public engagement since taking on the CEO position.

Speaking without a script, Ms. Ingram said, "Top of my agenda is diversity and inclusiveness. Not only is it going to be top of my agenda, it's going to be top of all my executives' agendas and top of every country manager's agenda."

Ms. Ingram was speaking at a movie theatre in central London's Piccadilly Circus called Picturehouse Central, in front of an audience of 130 people, made up of JWT staffers, CEOs and senior marketers, academics, and representatives of the British government and diversity groups.

Ms. Ingram's predecessor, Gustavo Martinez, left JWT "by mutual agreement" last week, after Erin Johnson, chief communications officer at the agency, filed a lawsuit claiming that he had made multiple "racist and sexist slurs."

Explaining her reasons for championing diversity, Ms. Ingram added, "I absolutely believe to the core of my being that diversity of people creates diversity of thinking, which enables diversity of ideas ... I genuinely believe we have not tapped that diversity and that inclusiveness in our workplace. It is our duty to produce a more positive narrative and to include all our people in order that we live in safer times."

The documentary series highlights the gains by women in the last 50 years, and features interviews with female leaders including Hillary Clinton and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. It was co-produced by J. Walter Thompson Entertainment, and executive produced by the agency's global creative director, Jaspar Shelbourne.

Originally James Whitehead, executive partner at JWT London, was going to introduce the film's director, James Rogan. The agenda was changed so that Mr. Whitehead introduced Ms. Ingram, who made her remarks and then introduced Mr. Rogan.

The film was followed by a panel discussion hosted by TV journalist Kirsty Walk with panelists including U.K. businesswoman Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho; Caroline Dinenage, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and Minister for women and equalities; Richard Cristofoli, marketing director at department store Debenhams; and Rachel Pashley, JWT's global planning head.

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