Sandra Sims-Williams is the chief diversity officer (CDO) for Publicis Groupe, a global leader in marketing, communications, and business transformation employing some 22,000 people in the U.S. alone. The areas of expertise within the Publicis Groupe portfolio are numerous, as are its many well-known brand holdings, which include Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Razorfish, DigitasLBi, Sapient, MSLGROUP, Starcom MediaVest Group, and ZenithOptimedia, to name but a few. As Publicis Groupe's CDO, Sims-Williams is responsible for developing and sustaining talent engagement and inclusion strategies, initiatives, tactics, and tools in support of all Publicis Groupe's agencies. In support of this mission, Sims-Williams chairs the Publicis Groupe Talent Engagement & Inclusion Council, to which all agencies have delegates who are invited to collectively contribute to and move forward Publicis Groupe's talent engagement and inclusion strategy.
As an extension of her role as Publicis Groupe's CDO, Sims-Williams oversees all Publicis Groupe's business resource groups, but serves as the lead voice for VivaWomen!, Publicis Groupe's business resource group for women and their allies. The group advocates for the inclusion of women across all levels of the company and empowers them through a variety of gatherings, training seminars, and conferences, including the 3% Conference, Diversity Woman, the Odyssey Network Business Retreat, and the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit.
Prior to being appointed as Publicis Groupe's CDO, Sims-Williams was responsible for structuring the D&I strategy across VivaKi's agencies – primarily media and digital – as director of diversity for Digitas. During her tenure with VivaKi, Sims-Williams' tenacious efforts to underscore principles and policies of diversity and inclusion became widely known within the Publicis Groupe family of agencies, and throughout the industry at large.
Sims-Williams has a long tradition of supporting the business community. In addition to serving as a member of YW Boston and the 4A's diversity committee, Sims-Williams currently serves as a member of the New York Ad Club, and works with the New York Department of Education to increase the visibility of advertising as a viable career option to high-school students through the i'mPART initiative. Previous tenures have included serving as a member of the women's executive committee of the Boston Chamber, as well as participating as a member of the diversity and advisory committees for the Boston Ad Club, as a member of the executive council for both WGBH (Boston's PBS station) and the Woodward School for Girls, and as a supporter of The Partnership, an organization whose aim is to attract and retain people of color who relocate to Boston.
Outside the business world, Sims-Williams is an involved member of her community. She has conceived and developed two transformational women's groups, both revolving around fellowship, peer mentoring, and professional and personal growth. One group caters to entry-level women as they navigate the early stages of their careers, while the other is for more established women. Sims-Williams is also a board member of Boston's Community Servings organization, which supports the distribution of meals to terminally ill patients and their families.
Her contributions and successes have earned her many recognitions and awards, including Howard University's School of Communication Global Visionary Award, the 15th Annual Rosoff Mentor Award, Boston YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, The New York Ad Club President's Award, and a 2014 ColorComm Award. Sims-Williams was also featured in the April/May 2013 issue of Black Enterprise in an article titled "The Feedback You Need," and was again featured in the summer edition of SAVOY magazine in an article titled "Diversity in the Advertising Industry—Cracking the D&I Code."
Sims-Williams has a B.A. from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and an M.A. from Hunter College in New York.