UniWorld Reboot: Monique Nelson Carrying the Torch, Rebranding a Legacy

After two years at the helm, CEO drives massive makeover

Monique Nelson, CEO, UWG (UniWorld Group; Image: File)

Monique Nelson, CEO, UWG (UniWorld Group; Image: File)

On June 3, the advertising industry was rattled by a game-changing announcement from the longest standing black-owned agency in the country.

UniWorld Group, one of the nation’s leading multicultural advertising firms, announced a re-branding initiative to ensure it remained a 21st century industry giant and in doing so magnified its  footprint in this digital age.

The makeover included an official name change, from UniWorld to UWG, a website overhaul and the introduction of the Culture Labs program.

UniWorld was founded by Byron Lewis back in 1969, when the lifestyles inside the Madison Avenue offices of many of the leading ad agencies still resembled the sets of AMC’s “Mad Men.” It was a time when the prevailing culture was unflinchingly sexist and discrimination a currency.

Today, the company is one of Black Enterprise’s BE 100s companies and an African American female powerhouse, Monique Nelson, is at the helm.

BlackEnterprise.com spoke with Nelson at the UWG headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Jay Street. Check out the interview:

BlackEnerprise.com: What do you see when you look outside your office window?

Monique Nelson: I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I actually went to Brooklyn Friends right across the street which is really quite scary. I look out the window and think this is unbelievable. It’s unreal. What an amazing boomerang journey.

RELATED: American’s Most Powerful African American CEOs

What’s your background?

My father is West Indian, my mother’s from Texas. I went to LaGuardia School for performing arts as a voice major then became a Posse scholar on a full leadership scholarship at Vanderbilt University. You can imagine a Brooklyn girl going out to Nashville Tennessee and under a diversity leadership scholarship? Quite the culture shock.

There is no mental. It was a choice, but also a dream that I’ve always had. I always knew that I wanted to own my own business. What I couldn’t tell you was what kind or when the opportunity would show up.

Find out more about the expansion of UniWorld on the next page …

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