Former CMO and Chief Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Officer turned D&I Consultant to blue-chip, high-profile businesses / institutions, Sam Phillips has a passionate and positive style that energises people to confront their (often unspoken) fears and comprehend that growth can come from the lowest of lows. She believes in action that’s founded in strategic vision, not just words. Her style breaks down barriers, is data, inspiration and empathy based and focuses on the power that individuals and corporations have to make a difference in the world, no matter what that world throws at them.
Phillips launched Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) consultancy Representnation in January 2021. She specialises in going into businesses at the highest level, working with leaders to change hearts, minds and metrics in this complex and often messy arena. She is currently the interim Head of Culture (incorporating D&I) at Lloyds of London (insurance) working across Corporation and Markets. Throughout summer 2021 Sam consulted with the Board of RPC Law. Her inaugural consultancy role, from January to June this year, was as EDI Strategy Consultant at the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), working with C suites and Chairs across the ECB / County / MCC infrastructure.
Phillips’ previous 15 years were spent at Omnicom, a global leader in marketing communications, where she held 3 roles simultaneously though her primary focus in latter years was leading 50+ businesses (media, creative, PR, health, branding, experiential), their C-suites and 9,000 employees from thinking of D&I as a tertiary issue to making it a top-down leadership focus to drive bottom-up trust, energy, voice and change. Phillips’ parallel roles when at Omnicom were CMO of Omnicom Media Group UK (across 240 Clients) and Assistant Dean (global) of Omnicom University – Omnicom’s Executive Education leadership programme. Prior to joining Omnicom, she spent nine years as Marketing Director of Time Inc / Head of Marketing at ITV. Back in the dim distant past she cut her teeth as an account handler at advertising agencies J.Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) and TBWA, leading client businesses such as Wonderbra in the ‘Hello Boys’ era.
Phillips’ personal story is an inspirational and powerful narrative of harnessing almost unbearable personal tragedies to make the world more human and equal – whilst simultaneously driving her Board level career. Unbroken by her eldest son’s stillbirth, his resuscitation and significant disability
– and following the adoption of her youngest child from a Russian orphanage, next came her husband’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis and ultimate death, which left her widowed in her early 40s with 3 very young children. Her second child was diagnosed with ADHD and this combination of personal events led to intense familial pressure to leave the corporate world behind. But instead, she pushed forward, forging a pathway to D&I leadership before much of the rest of the world caught up.
Phillips has spoken about leadership, diversity, inclusion and resilience at 10, Downing Street, the Council of Europe and the Global Festival of Media. She founded leading multicultural marketing consultancy OMG Ethnic (now OMG Unite) in 2009. She stepped down last year from a 3-year tenure as UK Government appointed ‘Sector Champion for Disability’. She is a Fellow of the IPA for her services to diversity across the communications industry. She is a Trustee of the coronavirus-focused National Bereavement Partnership and sits on the Development Board of RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts). She is the recipient of ‘Trailblazer for Change’, ‘Women To Watch, Europe’ and ‘People Of The Year’ awards across a variety of publications.
"It was fantastic to hear Sam's passion, wisdom & insight on this topic. It was a brilliant conversation, and we are really pleased with the outcome. Please can you pass on our special thanks to Sam from all of us and a personal thank you from me, she's definitely made me feel more empowered to talk about my invisible disability more."
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