A "diversity Pollyanna." That's what Tiffany R. Warren calls herself.
But diversity in the agency world is no recent concern for her. Considering that Ms. Warren created her first ad (for herself) at age 9 to convince more African-American women to become ballerinas, it would certainly seem her mission has always been diversity.
|Tiffany Warren, VP-director of multicultural programs and community outreach, Arnold Worldwide|
"When I first came into the [ad] business," she says, "I was one of four people of color in the entire agency. I have lived with that imbalance my whole life."
Knowing that imbalance needed to change, Ms. Warren marched up to her boss Jack Connors, co-founder of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, and asked, "How can I help?" Within two years, she was manager of diversity programs for the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
Ms. Warren, 32, was among the first 25 students to be recognized as an American Advertising Federation Most Promising Minority Student in 1997. Today, she's one of the creators of the AAF MPMS Alumni Rising Star Award.
As VP-director of multicultural programs and community outreach at Arnold Worldwide, Ms. Warren heads up seven programs within the agency to recruit and retain multicultural talent. Outside of the agency, she's spearheaded AdColor, a collaboration of the Advertising Club of New York, AAF, Four A's, Association of National Advertisers, Advertising Research Foundation and Arnold to promote increased diversity in the advertising and marketing industries.
"I think she has an extraordinarily passionate vision about making a difference on this issue in our industry. The work we've gotten involved in with AdColor is probably one of the most visible demonstrations of this," says Lisa Unsworth, chief marketing officer at Arnold. "I call her the Pied Piper. She plays her little flute, and all of a sudden, all these fabulous people come out to help. They are very energized by her vision and really believe they can help her make the difference."
While she might someday be the chief diversity officer at a holding company, Ms. Warren says she's most influential in the middle of an organization. She's a mentor to 86 people -- yes, 86 -- who call on her for help and advice.
Ms. Warren thinks it's just a matter of "can-do" attitude, concluding, "If I can do 86, someone else can handle one or two. [A diversity program] never has a long shelf-life if it's done for quotas. It has a more substantial impact if it's done with a genuine focus of creating a better environment for everybody, not just people of color.
"To be more inclusive, period, is my whole goal with all the programs we've introduced here."