Heide Gardner, 2015 Executive Honoree


Heide Gardner is Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), one of the world’s leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies.  The first African American and person of color to serve as an officer of Interpublic Group, she is responsible for collaborating with senior management to develop global inclusion strategies and resources for IPG and its family of leading agency brands.

Since Heide joined the company in 2003, IPG has linked formal inclusion scorecards to executive incentives. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael I. Roth has led a CEO Diversity Council, formed in 2006, and through her office, the company is working to maximize professional development opportunities for women and people of color, to deploy world-class education and training on diversity and inclusion management practices, and to better leverage relationships with diverse business partners and external organizations.

Prior to joining Interpublic, Heide was a Senior Vice President of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the founding Executive Director of The AAF Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism.  She also worked to build bridges across industry segments, uniting many of advertising’s most influential leaders to create a groundbreaking set of paradigms for leveraging diversity, The Mosaic Principles. Heide also launched AAF’s Most Promising Minority Students Program, which is an enduring major hiring pipeline for agencies, clients and media companies.

Heide is the proud mom of two sons, James and Robert. She is a volunteer director for the Girl Scouts Council of New York City, the International Radio and Television Society Foundation, the Ad Club of New York and The New Federal Theatre.

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