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Vanaja Pillai to head of diversity, inclusion and impact at DDB Mudra

To work with CEO & MD Aditya Kanthy and HR head on initiatives for diverse, inclusive workplace.

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Mumbai: DDB Mudra Group has announced the elevation of Vanaja Pillai as head of diversity, inclusion and impact, underscoring the company’s commitment to embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in its people and business strategy.

Pillai was the driving force behind the Phyllis India Project, a comprehensive and intense leadership development program to help prepare DDB’s women talent for leadership.

“Vanaja’s work on the Phyllis India program has been applauded across DDB’s borders and is a brilliant example of senior leadership driving actionable change in advancing DEI within the DDB family," stated DDB Worldwide chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer Nikki Lamba. "We are excited about her taking on this larger mandate and bringing DEI to the heart of our business, people and product strategies in India.”    

In her expanded role, she will work closely with CEO and MD Aditya Kanthy and HR head Rita Verma on initiatives to grow a diverse and inclusive workplace, including talent acquisition, retention, training and outreach to talent in underrepresented communities. Pillai will also lead the creation and delivery of effective growth and development opportunities rooted in the company’s purpose and growth strategy, said the statement.

“To compete in our times, we need to take a critical view of every aspect of our business. Our approach to talent and culture included," commented Aditya Kanthy. "There is much to do in this area, and Vanaja is just the right person to lead us to success. This work, with the Group’s effort as a global network, will bring in diverse voices to help shape workplace culture and brand communication of the future.”

“It has been an exhilarating journey, from the intent of creating an India chapter for the Phyllis Project, to having the first batch graduate last week,” Vanaja Pillai said, speaking on her extended role. “The bar has been set high for every challenge we pick up from hereon. Over the next year we will focus on a select set of DEI goals and approach them with the same rigour and passion that made the Phyllis India Project what it is today. From an overall talent perspective, the pandemic made us even more aware of the need for constantly focusing on people and their growth.”

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