The TBWA collective elevated Aliah Berman, previously Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) at global experiential agency GMR Marketing, to Chief Diversity Officer, North America. Berman takes on the role previously held by Doug Melville, who is leaving the company for a new role after eight years with TBWA.
In this role, Berman will lead the vision, strategy and execution of TBWA’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the collective, working in partnership with the company’s North American offices and Omnicom. She will continue working with GMR Marketing, which is part of Omnicom and the TBWA collective, as its Chief Diversity Officer, advising the agency on its DE&I strategy in this expanded dual role. GMR will add additional resources in their diversity, equity and inclusion team in the coming weeks to support Berman.
During her time at GMR, Berman served as advisor in matters of diversity and inclusion, connecting initiatives and efforts to tangible outcomes which impacted the company’s culture, workforce and client work. She added anchor educational DE&I programming, key infrastructure such as DE&I councils and committees to build in accountability at multiple levels of the organization, and consulted with the recruitment team to build a comprehensive diversity recruitment strategy.
“Aliah quickly made her mark at GMR, developing DE&I programs that have led to meaningful progress for the agency’s people, culture and client work,” said Troy Ruhanen, CEO, TBWA\Worldwide. “Today, action is required over virtue-signaling statements. Aliah will insist on accountability and will push us forward when it comes to ensuring our workforce reflects the diversity of the offices in which we operate and that we are using our creativity to drive social justice. She is the right leader for our collective and we are thrilled to elevate her to this important role.”
Ruhanen continued, “We are also grateful to Doug for his contributions to these past eight years. Doug was one of the first Chief Diversity Officers on Madison Avenue and has been a public advocate and champion of the importance of DE&I. His work on supplier diversity has created positive economic impact for many and our supplier diversity platform One Sandbox will live on as his legacy. His ideas, platforms, energy and charisma will be missed and we wish him every success in his next role.”
“Aliah has been instrumental in ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion is a foundational, strategic priority across the agency,” said Cameron Parsons, CEO, GMR Marketing. “We are thrilled to elevate her to Chief Diversity Officer and know she will make an even bigger impact with this expanded remit across the North American collective.”
With more than 15 years of experience, much of it outside the advertising industry, Berman will inspire, educate and support the mission of diversity, equity and inclusion in its many forms around TBWA’s global collective. She is charged with driving TBWA’s Take the Lead program, which was refocused in June toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion after achieving its goal of advancing gender equality in the leadership ranks of the TBWA collective globally. Berman will create an overarching framework for accountability and ensure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is prioritized as a business and workforce imperative, while also leading the company’s DE&I educational programs.
TBWA’s agencies in North America are also hiring leaders of diversity, equity and inclusion in their agencies as dedicated resources, all of whom will work closely with Berman in advancing the company’s DE&I commitments.
“The work of diversity, equity and inclusion has never been more urgent,” said Berman. “I’m encouraged by TBWA’s commitments to fostering belonging across its collective and to create greater inclusion and equity for all talent. The opportunity to work across this broader group of agencies to promote measurement and accountability and to serve as the subject matter expert with our leaders around the world is an opportunity I could not refuse. And I am thrilled to continue working with the team at GMR to continue building on our progress to date.”
Prior to GMR Marketing, Berman served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Acquisition at Advocate Aurora Health. She serves on several boards, including the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, the Institute for Women’s Leadership and the Marquette University (HR Management Advisory Board). An attorney by trade, she is a graduate of Xavier University and holds a J.D. from Marquette University Law School.