WPP leaders recognised by Empower for championing inclusion and diversity


Twelve leaders from across WPP have been honoured in the 2024 Empower Role Model lists, aimed at celebrating leaders who are driving inclusion for people of colour within global businesses.

Empower lists by Involve

Created by Involve and supported by YouTube, the lists celebrate 100 Executives, 100 Future Leaders and 50 Advocate Role Models who do not work professionally in the field of DE&I for their work in championing inclusion and driving strategic change within their sector.

This recognition comes as WPP CEO Mark Read was inducted into the Involve Hall of Fame, acknowledging his inclusion in the Empower Top 10 Advocate Executives Role Model Lists from 2021 to 2023 for his efforts in driving diversity and inclusion.

Under his leadership, DE&I goals were introduced into WPP senior leaders’ incentive plans and WPP established a Global Inclusion Council, which allows underrepresented voices to advise on DE&I goals and identify barriers to progress.

In June 2020, Mark announced the company’s commitment to combat racial injustice and support Black and minority ethnic talent, including a pledge of $30 million over three years to fund global inclusion programmes.

“Creativity is the ultimate competitive advantage, and at WPP we understand that the most innovative and impactful ideas come from diverse teams and empowered individuals”, said Read.

“I’m proud to see our leaders celebrated in the Empower Role Model lists for their unwavering commitment to cultivating an inclusive culture where everyone feels inspired to contribute their unique perspectives, helping our clients stand out and captivate their audiences.”

WPP said it is dedicated to creating a workplace that reflects the diverse communities it serves, tailoring initiatives to address specific market needs.

This includes programmes in the UK such as the One School – supported by funding from WPP’s Racial Equity Programme – and WPP’s Creative Technology Apprenticeship which have encouraged underrepresented groups to explore careers in advertising.

Projects like the Home at Work exhibition in the Netherlands celebrate bi-cultural identity within the company’s Amsterdam Campus, while the Welcome Talent initiative in Belgium is aimed at diversifying the talent pipeline in the communications sector.

In Brazil, AKQA launched the SOMA+ project in 2021 and has since equipped more than 3,000 students from Black, indigenous or low-income backgrounds in foundational training in advertising and communications, getting exposure to projects with world-leading brands.

In June 2023, WPP also invested in US-based diversity-focused creative agency Majority, which combines a multicultural talent model with marketing capabilities to create work for clients with cultural impact.

WPP’s ongoing investment in its people also includes comprehensive training programmes such as Inclusion as a Skill, equipping the company’s global workforce with the necessary skills to foster inclusive environments, and establishing global Employee Resource Groups that provide support and resources for employees with shared identities or experiences.

Empower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executive Role Models:

  • Apoorva Bapna, Chief Culture Officer, WPP
  • Dorothy Burwell, Partner, FGS Global
  • Kapria Jenkins, Executive Director, Detroit Experience Studio, VML
  • Julia Rast, Global Senior Director, Emerging Innovation, GroupM Nexus
  • Niken Wresniwiro, SVP Global Communications, WPP

Empower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders:

  • Chelsea Breur, Social Creative Director, Wavemaker
  • Matthew Chew, Paid Social Innovation Lead, EssenceMediacom
  • Ashford Mills, Global Project Manager, GroupM Nexus
  • Jené Mitchell, Technology Specialist, VML
  • Diane Munyeshuli, Account Manager, Ogilvy Social Lab
  • Jennifer Nnamani, Project Manager, AKQA

Empower Top 50 Advocate Executive Role Models:

  • Lindsay Pattison, Chief People Officer, WPP