2021 Ethnicity Awards Nominate Debbie Ellison Top 10 Inspirational Leader

Headshot of Debbie Ellison, Chief Digital Officer, VMLY&R COMMERCE

The Ethnic Minority Awards - Britain’s most influential Black & minority awards - have nominated Debbie Ellison, VMLY&R COMMERCE Global Digital Officer, a Top Ten Inspirational Leader in the 2021 shortlist.

The annual awards, held in partnership with HSBC UK, celebrates people, brands and businesses with a track record for enhancing the representation of ethnic minorities across senior levels in the workplace.

Debbie rounds out a list of strong business leaders within the Inspirational Leadership category – in which she was winner last year alongside Geometry – including Tosin Akinluyi, MD, Head of European Macro Research, Morgan Stanley; Om Dhumatkar, Head of Propositions & Channel Development, Business Banking, Lloyds Banking Group; Imran Yousaf, Regional Manager, Morrisons plc – among others.

A star-studded list of celebrities and public figures also are tipped for the awards, including Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock, footballer Rio Ferdinand, chef Nadiya Hussain, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and editor Edward Enninful.

“I’m genuinely honoured to be listed as an inspirational leader in the awards.  I work with a remarkable senior leadership team across our global business, all committed to driving the diversity and inclusion agenda for our people, our business, our clients’ business and our industry,” said Debbie Ellison, VMLY&R COMMERCE Global Digital Officer.  “I’m doubly pleased that the news lands the same week as The Incubator, our work experience programme for 16-18 year olds from diverse backgrounds – now in its third year. It’s a terrific example of how we can create positive change.”

VMLY&R COMMERCE Global CEO Beth Ann Kaminkow commented, “Diversity and inclusion cannot be merely buzzwords and promises. We need actual leadership diversity and understanding to transform how we deal with complex critical thinking around race, gender identity, age and unconscious bias. Debbie’s  championship is not only helping to shift the conversation around DEI to create more deeply engaged teams – she’s bringing transformative change, with real initiatives that influence culture and the work we put in market. I genuinely cannot think of more deserving recognition.”

Michelle Whelan, UK CEO, added, “Debbie’s unwavering commitment to driving our diversity, equity and inclusion agenda is helping to shape a far fairer world for all of us here in the UK and beyond. It’s wonderful when this is recognised. I could not be more delighted for Debbie.”

Judging the nominations is a panel of expert leaders which include Rob Neil, OBE Krystal Alliance, a founding member of Ministry of Justice’s BAME network and first elected Chair of the Civil Service Race Equality Network; Amir Kabal, Global Director of D&I, Burberry; and, Wincey Knight, VP Global Inclusion Strategy at ViacomCBS Networks International EMEA.

Founder of the awards Sarah Garrett MBE, said: All of those on the shortlist have used their platforms to shine a light on the issues facing the Black and minority ethnic community in what continue to be challenging times for people of colour…They are incredibly deserving of this recognition and I’m looking forward to celebrating with them at the Ethnicity Awards in November.”