March Hot Seat Panel

Accountability for Diversity & Inclusion in the Advertising Industry

One of the most critical issues facing our industry is that of diversity. Over decades, the Marketing industry has continued to struggle with issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion. Central questions remain: What does true diversity look like in the Marketing field? Why can’t we diversify? And, what will it take to get us there?

This panel will explore the critical issues that are holding us back and discuss the steps we can take together to empower our industry to build cultures of diverse thinking and inclusivity.

When:  Wednesday, March 14
Time: 8:00-9:30 am
Where: Havas, 36 E. Grand Ave, Chicago 60611
Cost: Members $50, Non-Members $75

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Hosted by Havas

Featuring leading diversity professionals as panelists including:

Rona Fourté, Director of Supplier Diversity, Walgreens 

Rona is the director of supplier diversity for Walgreens, member of Walgreens Boots Alliance. In this capacity, she leads a team to impact the diverse owned business inclusion rate in contracting for merchandise, goods not for resale and professional services.  She and her team serve as the primary liaison and subject matter experts for identifying, developing and introducing diverse suppliers for opportunities at Walgreens.  Rona has also supported HR Transformation for Walgreens and is an integral leader within the Global Office of Diversity & Inclusion recently completing a Walgreens hosted development track for its future leaders.  Rona has also successfully launched two job readiness programs at Walgreens for youth aging out of foster care to gain entry level store positions. 

Prior to joining Walgreens, Rona led supplier diversity initiatives in both the private and public sectors and held senior management roles in finance and accounting. Rona directed the Chicago Minority Business Opportunity Center, a $1.2M US Department of Commerce, MBDA funded project, and was acknowledged by the National Director for successfully executing financial transactions for minority owned businesses in excess of $105M.  Rona has led information technology system design projects for organizational transformations as an employee and as a consultant.  Rona has been cited in diversity publications, received recognitions for advocacy, commitment, and most importantly for delivering results that have contributed to the development and economic growth of the diverse owned businesses.

Rona is an active member of the community and serves for several organizations throughout the U.S. including affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, US Business Leaders Network, Conference Board, Holy Family Scholars (HFS), and the boards of Providence Englewood Charter School and Tuskegee Next Academy.  Rona was recently recognize by Mass Market Retail as 1 of 6 who made a difference in 2017.

Rona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Accounting from DePaul University, a Masters of Arts in Divinity, is a Certified Fraud Examiner and an ordained minister.

Wendy Lewis, Global Chief Diversity Officer, VP Global Community Engagement, McDonald's Corporation

Wendy Lewis is responsible for guiding McDonald's Global Diversity and Inclusion efforts across all McDonald’s Corporation business functions to enrich the organization’s history and culture of opportunity, growth and economic impact within diverse communities and strategic partnerships.  Her primary focus is to direct the “Diversity IS Inclusion” business strategy as the value proposition for total employee engagement for business results.   She is also responsible for creating innovative and measurable strategic alliances with internal and external stakeholders and partners as well as support the pipeline development of diverse and inclusive representation within the workforce. 

A major development of her “Diversity IS Inclusion” business strategy is to execute the development, design and facilitation of a modern and progressive education platform that builds culturally intelligent leaders and grows McDonalds’ brand purpose, “Making delicious feel good moments easy for everyone.”

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Wendy spent almost 30 years at Major League Baseball (MLB), where she developed and implemented numerous innovative and successful metric-driven strategies and initiatives throughout the League and the sports industry. She designed MLB’s Diversity Economic Impact Engagement.  The “DEIE” model was developed to advance MLB’s workforce and supply chain engagement levels, league-wide.

Wendy holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. 

Renetta McCann, Chief Talent Officer, Leo Burnett

Renetta McCann has been recognized as one of the leading innovators and most influential executives in the advertising, marketing and media industries, with a global reputation for not only building brands, but also the organizations and leadership to sustain them.

As Chief Talent Officer at Leo Burnett, she heads up the agency's People & Culture department. She plays a key role in ensuring that the company retains, attracts and arms the best and brightest minds in business today, with oversight of the agency's U.S. recruitment, training, benefits and talent management.

Renetta is no stranger to the Publicis family. She began her career at Burnett, and, after a long tenure, she became the CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group Worldwide. Under her leadership, client billings exceeded $26 billion and the global workforce rose to over 6,000 people. After two years as CEO, she assumed the role of Chief Talent Officer of VivaKi.

Along the way, Renetta has been an active volunteer and contributor to various industry and civic organizations, not to mention a frequent name in the press. In 2002, she was named "Corporate Executive of the Year" by Black Enterprise magazine and was selected by Ebony as one of the "57 Most Intriguing Blacks." Essence named her one of "50 Women Who are Changing the World” and she has appeared on the pages of Advertising Age, Business Week and Chicago magazine. Recently, the American Advertising Federation honored her with a Diversity Achievement Award for her contributions as an Industry Influential.

After nearly 30 years of communications management and leadership, she went back to the books, earning an M.S. in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. She worked as an executive coach and organizational change consultant before rejoining Burnett in the fall of 2012. Currently, she is an adjunct lecturer in the MSLOC program, teaching a course on organizational design. Renetta has also served as a Corporate Director of Tribune Publishing (now named Tronc).

She lives in Chicago with her husband Kevin and children, Ella and Alexander.

Nicholas Pearce, Professor, Management & Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern

Dr. Nicholas Pearce serves as the founder and chief executive officer of The Vocati Group, a boutique global executive advisory consultancy, and as an award-winning clinical professor of management and organizations at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He is a leading scholar, lecturer, and trusted strategic adviser on values-driven leadership, collaboration, and change in organizations. He has served leaders of corporations, social impact organizations, communities of faith, and governments on six continents, including Abbvie, Advocate Health Care, Allstate Foundation, Aon Hewitt, Archdiocese of Chicago, Boston Scientific, BP, The Capital Group, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago United, Chicago Urban League, Council of State Governments, Deluxe, DiversityInc, The Episcopal Church, Exelon, FMC, Google, Hearst, John Deere, JLL, JPMorgan Chase, KIPP, McDonald’s, Michigan Medicine, Monsanto, NASA, Nike, Northwestern Medicine, Novartis, Perkins Coie, The PrivateBank, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Society of University Surgeons, Surge Institute, Teach for America, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Olympic Committee, USG, Wheaton College, Whirlpool, WomenHeart, YPO, and ZS Associates.

Dr. Pearce is deeply committed to civic engagement, serving on the boards of the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Community Trust’s African American Legacy Fund, Access Community Health Network, and the Seminary Co-Op Bookstores. He has been a Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago since 2015 and has also been named one of Chicago’s 40 Game Changers (under 40) by WVON/Ariel Investments, Kellogg’s MSMS Professor of the Year (2015), a Galbraith Scholar by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Public Voices Faculty Fellow by The OpEd Project. He has also been honored for excellence by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Mustard Seed Foundation, National Black MBA Association, and Union League Club of Chicago, among other notable institutions. His thought leadership has been featured in global media outlets including The Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Chicago Tribune, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CNBC, Crain’s Chicago Business, Discovery Channel, Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, National Geographic, The New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, Slate, Time, Univision,, and The Washington Post.

Dr. Pearce currently serves as Assistant Pastor of Chicago’s historic Apostolic Church of God, where he is responsible for overseeing Christian education and discipleship for Apostolic’s 18,000-member congregation. He is an internationally sought-after speaker, and is the youngest minister appointed to serve Apostolic as assistant pastor since the church’s founding in 1932. He is emerging as one of his generation’s most trusted and influential voices, with a ministry that has already impacted tens of thousands of lives across cultural, generational, and denominational boundaries.

Dr. Pearce holds the Ph.D. in Management & Organizations from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the S.B. in Chemical Engineering & Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a concentration in Religious Studies earned in conjunction with Harvard Divinity School. A Chicago native, Dr. Pearce currently resides in his hometown with his family.

Judy Franks, Lecturer, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern

IMC Lecturer Judy Franks joined the Medill IMC faculty in 2008 following a 23-year career in Chicago’s leading ad agencies, where she rose to the executive ranks across both the media and creative strategy disciplines.

She teaches undergraduate Media and Message Delivery, graduate Media Economics and Technology and undergraduate Consumer Insight, and she serves as the Faculty Advisor for graduate students pursuing a concentration in Media Strategy. Franks teaches across Medill's full-time, part-time and online programs. With extensive experience in corporate training and development, Franks also develops executive education programs for Medill IMC.

She travels the world to teach the integration of medium and message through her company, The Marketing Democracy, Ltd, a global consultancy that advises blue chip marketers, top marketing services agencies and the media on integrating content and connection in a new media world. She is a frequent guest speaker at industry conferences on changes in the media landscape. Furthermore, she assists global multi-national marketers such as LEGO and McDonald’s with training and development in the new media landscape and she recently authored a "Media 101" document for McDonald's Global Marketing training.

Franks is also a guest faculty in Medill’s Social Media Marketing Massive Open Online Course.

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