Four GroupM Leaders Recognized on Empower 100 Lists

Today, GroupM NA CEO Kirk McDonald and three leaders across our U.K., EMEA, and Nexus teams were recognized in Empower’s annual Empower 100 Executives Role Model List and Empower 100 Future Leaders Role Model List, showcasing leaders paving the way toward increasing representation and driving inclusion for others in the workplace.

Kirk appears for the second consecutive year on the Empower Executives list at number 12. Appearing on the Future Leaders list are Amber Tomlinson, Product Director with GroupM U.K.; Narmda Bhudia, Credit Risk Manager with GroupM EMEA; and Andre Charles-Foster, Global Manager of Product Management with GroupM Nexus.

Founder & CEO of INvolve, Suki Sandhu OBE, says, “I’m so thrilled to be celebrating this global group of trailblazing Executives, Future Leaders and Advocates for people of color in business. All the individuals within these lists are championing inclusion and leveraging their expertise and knowledge to drive impactful initiatives and strategic change within their organizations. It’s vital that people of color across global organizations can succeed and achieve career success, and these Role Models are essential drivers of change who are smashing barriers to progress. We could not effect change without them leading the way.”

As CEO of GroupM North America, Kirk McDonald leads 7,500 people shaping the next era of media where advertising works better for people. An industry leader with 25+ years of experience across leading brands, media companies, and technology providers, Kirk champions a new balance where advertising is a less interruptive and more valued part of the media experience. Kirk is deeply committed to increasing representation and developing talent through purposeful inclusion and responsible media investment. Under his leadership, GroupM formed the Media Inclusion Initiative to support and grow diverse media companies and creators and launched GroupM University and GroupM Launch Pad to bridge the gap for applicants from non-traditional backgrounds and education pathways. Kirk is a founding member of the Black Executive CMO Alliance and serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including Elanco, Paley, Ad Council, and the Advertising Week Advisory Council.

Amber Tomlinson is a Product Director at GroupM and a consistent advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. As a Black Employee Network Committee member, she co-organized their first social event, fostering community and retention amongst Black employees. Currently, she leads efforts to ensure inclusivity in GroupM U.K.’s advertising product set by reviewing processes, technologies, and media supply, conducting tests to create inclusive minimum standards and benchmarks. Outside of work, Amber curated a programmatic module for underrepresented communities to gain skills and co-hosted a networking session with Visible Start participants — women over 45 that have taken an extended leave from the workplace — to create access and understanding around working in data.

Narmda Bhudia is an EMEA Credit Risk Manager at GroupM, and since June 2022 has chaired Lifetimes, GroupM’s intersectional and intergenerational group. As an older Asian woman, she values working with a specifically intersectional group to ensure we all have thriving careers throughout our lifetimes. She works across ERGs to surface specific experiences of older employees, parents, carers, those from minority ethnic backgrounds, and those with disabilities and conditions. Narmda has worked tirelessly to raise issues that particularly impact marginalized older people. Through her advocacy, policies have been updated to provide better support, including a 24/7 menopause helpline and a 3-year plan for WPP to provide support to women through menopause. Narmda is also passionate about giving back to her local community and actively engages in her local and Indian communities.

Andre Charles-Foster is a Global Product Manager at GroupM Nexus and Chair of the Roots (Multicultural) ERG. As the Multicultural chair, he led efforts to rebuild culture through connection as the company adapted to hybrid working. He also served as a key stakeholder for GroupM’s sponsorship program for Black, Asian, and marginalized-ethnicity colleagues, ensuring opportunities for critical feedback were created. He worked with the group of sponsored employees to identify challenges and shared his own experiences, contributing to the program’s success over its 18-month pilot period and leading to a 57% promotion rate. Outside of work, Andre volunteers with Brixton Finishing School and the Visible Start program, providing speed networking, speed mentoring, and talks about his industry, role, and journey. He is an active member and mentor with Media For All.

The full Empower lists can be viewed here.