‘More than just a DE&I initiative that checks a box’
TPN, an Omnicom Group-owned creative commerce agency, says it is launching OmniBlack, a new initiative intended to “double down” on the shop’s commitment to the Black community, “inside and outside its walls.” The initiative is being helmed by TPN Executive Creative Director Elaine Bragg, backed by a team of Black colleagues. TPN CEO Sharon Love says OmniBlack’s purpose is to be “more than just a DE&I initiative that checks a box.” It carries seven key areas of focus including connecting with other DE&I groups, both inside and outside Omnicom; “creating a culture that unequivocally rejects racism and all other -isms”; fostering more diverse and inclusive recruitment and hiring practices; creating more “focused and empathetic” mentorships and sponsorships; reflecting DE&I in all TPN products as well as in the creative work; building the agency’s “multicultural capabilities so it can authentically serve clients with diverse targets”; and seeking out BIPOC-owned, led and consumer-targeted businesses to help them drive growth. The agency says the initiative will be available for any Omnicom agency to access, not just TPN.
Bragg says in the days following the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer, she and the TPN team started having conversations with leadership and employees around what they could do to “truly create change. The problem with racism in America is unavoidable. It is in your face,” she says. What came out of those talks were the aforementioned seven actions “to really promote economic development for Black people,” Bragg says, though she admits “when we first got together to put a structure around OmniBlack, it felt overwhelming and difficult to digest, especially as a Black female leader in the industry.” Bragg says she “drew upon the idea of eating an elephant one bit at a time. We know that change cannot happen overnight, but with dedicated leaders and a real commitment from our agency, we know we can break through and make a real difference.”
Brief hiring mentions
O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul named Aubrey Walker to the new role of executive creative director, handing him the reins of the independent agency’s creative department from Chief Creative Officer Laura Fegley, who left in September. Walker has led recent work at the agency for The Illinois Lottery including its online interactive “Watch Claude” holiday film and experience. Walker, who joined full-time last February after working as a freelancer for OKRP, is also credited by the agency for launching its “Black Shop Friday” that supported more than 500 Black-owned businesses in Chicago. He previously spent time at shops including Carol H. Williams, Burrell and The True Agency.
3HeadedMonster, an independent agency in Dallas, hired Elisa Silva as a partner and managing director. She hails from Cheil North America, where she was head of content. Silva says she moved back to her hometown of Dallas from New York—where she spent nearly a decade working for agencies like Translation, Barton F. Graf and SS+K—last year, admitting as “a Mexican-American woman and long-time creative agency vet,” she was “nervous” about whether DE&I would “matter to people here the way it does on the coasts. Would I find an agency that lived up to my previous credentials? Would I be able to do award-winning work?” Silva says, so far, 3HeadedMonster “is showing me a whole lot of ‘yes.’”
Accenture promoted Stacey Jones from head of global corporate communications to senior managing director. Jones will now join the top officers of the consulting behemoth. She has been with Accenture for over 20 years, having first come aboard as a senior media relations manager in 1999. The firm credits her with most recently leading global communications across its 500,000-person workforce and overseeing the appointment of its new leadership team including CEO Julie Sweet, who took the helm in 2019. Accenture says she was also instrumental in the development of its recent and largest brand transformation, “Let There Be Change.”
Bounteous appointed Melinda Ramos as VP of learning and diversity. The Chicago-based digital agency says Ramos will focus on “a wide scope of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including the creation, promotion and delivery of effective growth and development opportunities across the organization.” Ramos joins from Philadelphia-based Brownstein Group, where she was VP and director of talent and diversity.