Nielsen Snags Diversity and Inclusion Powerhouse Sandra Sims-Williams for its Executive Team - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

Nielsen Holdings has announced that Sandra Sims-Williams will join the company as its diversity and inclusion lead, beginning in January 2020. Sims-Williams will lead Nielsen’s D&I strategy as well as teams for both the Media and Connect sides of the business, through Nielsen’s transition into two independent, publicly traded companies.

Nielsen announced in November a strategic plan to spin off into two companies—the Global Media business and the Global Connect business. As Senior Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, she will join the company’s executive leadership team and will report to Nielsen’s Chief Executive Officer David Kenny, who is slated to ultimately be CEO of Nielsen Global Media.

“Diversity and inclusion are essential to everything we do at Nielsen,” said Kenny in a statement, adding that he considers the emphasis to be a significant differentiator for the company that will continue throughout, and beyond, the pending transition. “That’s why we’re excited to have Sandra, a transformational leader with 30 years of experience linking diversity and inclusion strategies with corporate initiatives that drive diversity and inclusion cross-functionally, join our team.”

A graduate of Rutgers University and Hunter College, Sims-Williams has spent the majority of her career as a diversity and inclusion expert, most recently at Paris-based Publicis Groupe as chief diversity officer. Having made the Black Enterprise list of Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity earlier this year, she was also profiled by BE’s Derek Dingle in 2018 as a leader who “maximizes the power of one.”

A great supporter of the Women of Power Summit for more than a decade, Sims-Williams told Dingle in an interview, “I don’t believe in diversity training because you can’t train people to change their minds. What you can do is create experiences for them to feel a different way about a subject matter or a group.”

With a tremendous depth of experience that encompasses diverse leadership development, multicultural talent acquisition and retention programming, analytics and effectiveness, supplier diversity, and corporate initiatives that drive diversity and inclusion cross-functionally, Sims-Williams is outspoken on her belief in the effectiveness of D&I as a driver in optimizing organizational success.

“I am proud to be joining the Nielsen team and continuing to leverage diversity and inclusion as key elements for growth and leadership,” said Sims-Williams. “I look forward to working with and supporting Nielsen’s talented teams as we enter the next chapter of the company’s transformation.”