Women of color, particularly within the tech space, are often champions for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
With tech jobs growing rapidly in every sector of the economy, these women at Interpublic Group’s Kinesso and Matterkind are not only flourishing in their careers, they are working toward providing these opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Last August, Kinesso, IPG’s marketing intelligence company, named Dr. Femi Olu-Lafe its vice president of culture and inclusion. This announcement continues its efforts to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are accounted for in everything from business practices to product offerings to talent acquisition and career development.
“My focus will be to ensure employees have meaningful ways to engage so they continue to co-create the diverse and inclusive culture that is core to the companies’ values,” OLU-lafe said in a statement.
According to Renu Hooda, Kinesso’s global chief talent officer, the company offers a variety of career advancement programs and learning opportunities to support employees professionally and personally, AfroTech reported. Hooda said women employees suffer from imposter syndrome, “where they doubt their accomplishments and feel that they’re going to be exposed as frauds.”
So she is an integral part of ensuring that current employees are recognized and celebrated with internal awards.
For Joanne St. Gerard-Joshua, a senior counsel at the tech company, Kinesso’s career advancement pilot program “helped participants identify their career aspirations, strengths, and opportunities within the organizations while developing individual growth action plans.” She was paired with career coaches to help her push beyond her comfort zone.
“One of the goals of the program is to provide access and representation to the underrepresented talent throughout the organization,” she said, adding that she feels valued on the team as a Black employee.
Yerddy Lanfranco, Kinesso’s vice president of audience practice, created an award for the marketing sciences team to recognize and foster innovation. “[The award] also served as a team collaboration tool that led teams across the world to work together and showcase borderless values.”
As a 20-year veteran in digital advertising and marketing, Wendi Dunlap, senior vice president of outcome-based marketing at Kinesso, takes pride in “designing the future of communications planning through technology.” She uses big data, IPG research, and external academic studies on Black consumers to design more accurate and representative Black audiences.
Dunlap advises Black professionals in tech to “pull up their own seat at the table” and establish a support network.
“This is not a solo venture. We cannot be successful without one another. Forging community with other Black professionals in tech is key. It really does take a village,” Dunlap said.