Debbie Ellison Named in Top 100 Empower/ Yahoo Finance Ethnic Minority Role Model List

VMLY&R COMMERCE Global Chief Digital Officer Debbie Ellison headshot with statement congratulating her on being named to Empower Ethnic Minority Role Models List 2022

Debbie Ellison, global chief digital officer of VMLY&R COMMERCE, WPP’s end-to-end creative commerce agency, is named one of the highest achieving executives in this year’s Empower role model list – for the first time, fully international. It is the third year in succession that Debbie has been recognized.

Supported by Yahoo Finance, the annual list celebrates 100 inspirational business leaders who lead by example and remove barriers on the pathway to success for ethnic minority employees.

Debbie joins a powerful lineup of people including Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO, Genpact LLC; Shirine Khoury-Haq, Chief Financial Officer/CEO Life Services, Co-op; Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive Officer, Diageo; Bina Mehta, Chair, KPMG UK; Serufusa Sekidde, Chief of Staff, ViiV Healthcare, GSK.

Commented Debbie Ellison, global chief digital officer, VMLY&R COMMERCE, “I’m incredibly honored to join this list of senior leaders driving positive change. We are all entering an era where DE&I transformation should be a mandate, influencing all parts of future-fit businesses. This year, our ambition is to use our own DEI transformation framework to help companies accelerate their own diversity and inclusion ambitions.”

Diversity and inclusivity are at the heart of our culture. We believe that everyone should have a voice at the table so that we can all grow as people and as businesses,” shared Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO VMLY&R COMMERCE.

“I’ve worked closely with Debbie since 2019 and I’m in awe of her unique ability to blend pioneering business growth, brilliant innovation and relentless commitment to championing a change agenda for DE&I transformation. Her boundless capacity to nurture talent and prioritize advocacy on industry priorities is exemplary. Huge congratulations from all of us– we’re delighted that the industry is recognizing Debbie and all that she does for us.”

The ethnic minority leaders were nominated by peers and colleagues with nominations reviewed by EMpower’s judging panel, including former head of Yahoo Finance UK, and director of creative content development for Yahoo, Lianna Brinded. Each person was scored on the influence of their role, their impact on ethnic minority inclusion inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.

Comments Michelle Whelan, UK CEO VMLY&R COMMERCE, “Over the last three years, Debbie has focused on the DE&I transformation of our business. We have learned so much through our DE&I journey that it is our intention to share those learnings with others. This industry recognition for Debbie is so very well-deserved.”

Debbie has led a sustained journey to champion DE&I transformation in the UK where she is based and globally. The company has introduced a ground-breaking work experience program: The Incubator – for diverse young talent. Now in its fourth year, partnering with Hult Business School, exported to New York with Bronx Community College and is set to expand in Europe.

This sustained momentum has led to industry recognition in the UK with VMLY&R COMMERCE named Diversity & Inclusion Company of the Year 2021 by The Drum. And VMLY&R network being awarded Best Place to Work by Campaign in 2022.

Debbie’s visionary leadership has seen her named a global 100 Chief Digital Officer by Hewlett Packard [2022]; Industry Shaper by the global Women in Marketing Awards [2019]; Top Ten Inspirational Leader in 2021/ HSBC Ethnicity Awards.

For the full Empower List 2022 including Empower Future Leader Nikeisha Beckford, VMLY&R Group Director of Client Engagement and Fluorescent Co-Chair, please click here.