Omnicom’s The Marketing Arm Hires First VP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By Erik Oster Comment

Omnicom agency The Marketing Arm has hired Veronica Appleton as vp, diversity, equity and inclusion.

In the newly created role, Appleton will be responsible for leading the the agency’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and initiatives. She’ll be based at the Chicago office and report directly to The Marketing Arm CEO Andrew Robinson.

“While TMA’s caring and team-centric culture have always been a source of pride, I’m keen for us to enact our core values more fully and meaningfully with the benefit of Veronica’s experience and expertise,” Robinson said, explaining that the agency began a search for a leader to drive its DEI initiatives in January.

“The imperatives for action and transformation are intensifying as the antiracism movement gains strength in the U.S. and even globally, but they are certainly not new. Veronica has been a change agent for DEI for nearly a decade,” he added. “I’m grateful for her dedication to the mission and her accomplishments to date, as well as her commitment to continue this vital work at TMA.”

Appleton’s experience with diversity, equity and inclusion programs spans agencies, academia and nonprofits. She was most recently a DEI curriculum advisor at Northwestern University, a lecturer at DePaul University and a Ph.D. candidate in organizational behavior and leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, during which time she also partnered with over 35 companies to develop DEI training for their workforces.

She previously led DEI strategy and initiatives for Omnicom’s McDonald’s-dedicated unit, We Are Unlimited, which has been folded into DDB Chicago. McDonald’s appointed W+K New York as its lead creative agency last September.

“From its current investment in organizations like The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Color of Change and The Loveland Foundation to developing leaders within agency-led employee resource groups, I know TMA is ready to build practices, policies and programs that will keep the voices of those marginalized top of mind,” Appleton said in a statement. “For too long, BIPOCs, people with disabilities and those who identify as LGBTQIA+ have been overlooked, undervalued and misrepresented in our industry. I’m excited about the opportunity to partner with a mighty team to keep these voices magnified and to steer continuous action, as our work is not just for today or tomorrow, but long-lasting for generational change.”

According to a statement, The Marketing Arm is in the process of implementing Omnicom’s OPEN 2.0, a plan the holding company introduced with the release of its EEOC diversity data, with Appleton’s hiring an important component of that process.

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