At last year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Omnicom Group’s Tiffany R. Warren participated in a “beachside conversation” about the importance of diversity in hiring. Reflecting on that panel discussion, “I thought this is a topic that needs to be in the Palais,” the main building at the international event, Warren recalls.
This year at Cannes, the Palais is exactly where Warren will be. “Like, I literally willed it into existence. It is not a beachside conversation. It needs to be the big stage,” Omnicom’s SVP, Chief Diversity Officer says in this interview with Beet.TV. “I’m super excited.”
Warren will join Edward Enninful, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, HP Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio and British actress Thandie Newton in a 45-minute session titled Diversity—a Values Issue and Business Imperative—Requires Bold Action, hosted by Omnicom and HP.
A description of the session reads: “In order for the creative industry to remain shapers of culture and society, it’s critical that we move beyond theory and talk by taking bold action. Research proves diversity initiatives are more effective if they have support at the top. It also requires measurement to hold ourselves accountable.”
Beyond the metrics and statistics to be featured at Cannes, Warren has a fairly simple rationale for determining the value of hiring diversity. “What I say is, ‘What’s the value of sameness?’ That’s how I respond back. Because no one can answer that. No one wants to and has an answer for what sameness has done for your business.”
In a “constricting industry” such as advertising, “there’s other companies that are providing more creative solutions because they’re infusing equity and diversity in the hiring process and bringing in great minds and doing it in a way that’s equitable. That’s how you answer that.”
She has company in her viewpoint in the person of Merck CEO Ken Frazier, who is often asked about the business case for diversity. “His response is, make the business case of sameness for me. It always gets people because you really find it hard and you struggle to think of the things that come out of being the same.
“If you have the same ideas, the same people, the same thought process, your company can do well but it won’t evolve,” Warren says.
While mentoring has always been important to Warren, she considers herself a coach. And she expects those who she is coaching to be coaching her. “So I stay on top of things because I’m not just providing responsibilities and answers to things that I’ve overcome so they can jump over the land mines that maybe I stepped on in my career.”
This video is part of The Road to Cannes, a preview of topics to be addressed at Cannes Lions. The series is presented by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. FreeWheel is a Comcast company.