Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Heide Gardner is the first woman of color to serve as an elected corporate officer at Interpublic Group (IPG), a leading international network of marketing services firms. IPG has over 50,000 employees who serve over 4,000 clients worldwide. Heide’s brief includes the company’s award-winning inclusion business strategy and developing resources to support IPG’s family of agencies and employees.
Since Heide joined the company in 2003, IPG has approached diversity and inclusion as strategic business issues, supported by rigorous metrics and formal linkages to agency CEOs’ compensation. Chairman and CEO Michael I. Roth formed a CEO Diversity Council and the IPG Global Diversity and Inclusion Group has implemented solutions ranging from workforce and cultural analytics, career accelerators, training, resources for diverse market insights, client partnerships, to strategic events. IPG’s annual breakfast to focus on gender diversity at the annual Cannes Lions festival has become a marquis moment often featuring game-changing proprietary research. Her award winning and cutting edge strategies have driven exceptional results in driving advancement for women and People of Color into leadership roles, disrupting biases and engaging leader commitment. IPG’s approaches have as a result been included in respected research and think tank publications. IPG also operates five national inter-agency Business Resource Groups to support multicultural affinity communities, LGBT employees and, globally, women.
Most of Heide’s career has been in marketing communications and external affairs. Prior to joining IPG she worked on several major brands in a range of disciplines, with a track record of award-winning results, and as a state and federal lobbyist. At the American Advertising Federation (AAF) she was the founding Executive Director of The AAF Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism. During her tenure she developed AAF's Most Promising Minority Students Program, drove the industry’s first Congressional Summit on Diversity and Multicultural Marketing and established the annual Mosaic Awards and Supplier Diversity Forum to promote best practices. Heide also built a coalition and coordinated proceedings for leaders representing the world’s top global brands and agencies, who crafted AAF’s Mosaic Principles and Practices for multicultural marketing and diversity. That effort was recognized by President Bill Clinton.
Over the years Heide has been recognized for her advocacy. Ebony counted her the first group of Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications and Working Mother Magazine profiled her in their annual Mothers We Love feature. The Greater New York City Council of Girl Scouts honored her as a Woman of Distinction and the industry’s AdColor coalition included her among the inaugural slate of recipients for the Change Agent Award. The Network Journal recognized her in their annual roster of Most Influential Black Women in Business. Heide has been named one of Black Enterprise’s Top 100 Diversity Executives and was included in Advertising Age’s roster of the century’s Most Influential Women in Advertising. She was also the recipient of the Mount Holyoke College Alumni Achievement Award.
Diversity has always been a part of her life -- Heide is a true multicultural globalist with roots in Germany and the US. She has two sons and resides in Brooklyn, NY.