VMLY&R has appointed two leaders to spearhead the agency’s expanding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across its global network. Tasha Gilroy and Suba Nadarajah, joint directors of diversity, equity and inclusion, will lead VMLY&R’s global DEI strategy. They will be focused on introducing new programs and partnerships that build on the agency’s inclusive culture and diverse workforce, and drive continued cultural literacy, awareness, and acceptance across the organization. Both roles will report to Ronnie Felder, executive director of human resources.
Gilroy will lead talent and partnership initiatives that build VMLY&R’s pipeline of top talent in North America and globally. In this role, she will guide the vision and execution for an equitable talent recruitment and retention strategy across the network. She will continue managing and growing the agency’s many existing relationships with partner organizations such as 4A’s MAIP, ColorComm, AAF Mosaic Center for Multiculturalism, One Club for Creativity, and 3% Conference.
Nadarajah will lead the development and implementation of internal strategies that nurture a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable global culture. In this role, she will cultivate independent employee networks and programs and wider industry support systems in collaboration with organizations such as NAAAP, Mid-America GLCC, and GLAAD. She will also lead in-agency advocacy, identifying and advancing best practices, education, and employee engagement programs that promote progressive environments where all talent can thrive.
“Our goal is for the diversity of our teams to reflect the diversity of the world we create for,” said Jon Cook, VMLY&R global CEO. “While we’ve taken many steps forward—as a Top 100 Best Adoption Friendly Workplace and committed partner to organizations like the 3% Movement—we know how much work we have left to do. DEI is a critical dimension of our success as an agency and industry, and we will continue our education and investment to support an inclusive, diverse workforce and pipeline of leaders.”
Gilroy and Nadarajah will work together to introduce new programs across the U.S. and global markets such as Brave Questions, Safe Spaces (BQSS) a platform designed to promote intersectional dialogue, awareness, and community. It encourages employees to engage in respectful conversations about cultures or perspectives they may otherwise feel nervous discussing. BQSS has sponsored thought-provoking conversations with notable guests such as Academy Award-winning “BlacKkKlansman” co-writer Kevin Willmott and Telly Leung, star of Fox’s hit series “Glee” and Disney’s “Aladdin” on Broadway.
Gilroy has served in culture and inclusion roles for the past 13 years. Most recently, she was director of inclusion and community for Y&R. Over the years, she has introduced a range of high-impact programs including unconscious bias executive training and employee programs that have forged access and opportunities for women, people of color, and the industry’s most underrepresented groups. Gilroy is a member of ColorComm and an active supporter of Advancing Women Executives and The Bougie Brunch Group.
Nadarajah has been an influential thought leader on the role of design and creativity in promoting equality. She previously served as the director of design for VML, leading design and branding counsel for client teams. Her experience spans senior design roles at Hallmark, River City Studio, Bernstein-Rein and Blacktop Creative. Over the years she has worked on major brands such as Walmart, McDonald’s, Sprint, and Bayer, and earned recognition from The One Show, Art Directors Club, and Addy Awards for her work. Nadarajah has also been an adjunct professor at the Kansas City Art Institute and University of Central Missouri, where she taught branding and design systems.