Global CDO Debbie Ellison Named in Top 5 Empower/Yahoo Finance Ethnic Minority Role Model List

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

We are thrilled to announce that Debbie Ellison, our global chief digital officer, has been named a top five executive in this year’s EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model list. This is the second year in succession Debbie has been recognized – and we couldn’t be prouder.

Supported by Yahoo Finance, this highly coveted annual list celebrates 100 inspirational business leaders breaking down barriers at work and working to smash the ceiling for ethnic minorities in the UK, Ireland, and people of color in the US and Canada.

Debbie joins a powerful line up of people including Ivan Menezes, CEO, Diageo; Warren Thompson, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality – strategic partner of Compass Group; Monique D Jefferson, chief human resources officer, New York Public Radio, and Bina Mehta, chair, KPMG UK.

“I am so honoured to have been recognised a second year running. I will never give up on my passion to help create the most inclusive and welcoming places and spaces. Supporting others in achieving their aspirations and potential.  Our future focus will be to help clients understand people and communities needs better, to create more relevant, personalised and connected commerce experiences” commented Debbie.

Our global CEO, Beth Ann Kaminkow added: “We believe that diversity of thought and people enables us to grow as individuals, as a community, and as a business.  Debbie models this through her commitment to expanding successful initiatives such as Roots and The Incubator across our network and continuously challenging us and our clients to walk the talk. I am so pleased to see the industry recognize her in this way.”

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.

Named Industry Shaper by the global Women in Marketing Awards 2019 and Empower Ethnic Role Model in 2020, Debbie is one of a handful of female chief digital officers in the industry, pioneering transformational changes through people-first, technology solutions to help clients drive growth.  In January 2021, Debbie was promoted to global chief digital Officer, VMLY&R COMMERCE where she sits on the executive board.

Debbie actively encourages diversity in business. She is co-chair of VMLY&R COMMERCE Global Inclusion Council, sits on WPP’s Inclusion Board and WPP’s Roots steering committee, championing greater ethnic and cultural diversity across WPP operating companies. Debbie is a member of Inspiring the Future, a charitable initiative connecting professionals with students. She has lectured at Condé Nast Design College, Cambridge University and speaks regularly at schools and industry platforms.