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Take the Lead: TBWA’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


June 19, 2020

Our work for a more inclusive and equal company

TBWA is committed to dismantling the systemic racism that persists in this industry and in society. Racism and equity are not just American issues, they are global issues. We are committed to fighting for a more inclusive and equal company and world.

Black Lives Matter.

Our plans will be clear, actionable and long-term. Instead of a tactical, reactive short-term plan, we are creating something more inclusive, global, research-based and custom-built to make systemic, sustainable change in our organization. In addition to the many actions within specific markets, we have committed to the following, now and next. 


  • Many of our agencies are matching employee donations to social justice organizations.
  • We are holding open forums and listening circles for employees to voice their feelings, concerns, and discuss action plans.
  • Beginning this year and in future years, we will recognize June 19th (Juneteenth) as an official holiday, globally.
  • We have created working documents to facilitate resource sharing, including guidance on how to self-educate, what to read, where to donate, what to listen to, who to follow, where to shop to support Black-owned businesses.
  • We are updating and expanding OneSandbox, a curated search platform for creative diversity. OneSandbox was created in 2019 to connect, advocate and showcase diverse makers and vendors in the creative industries. As advertising agencies, media companies, and global brands look to hire and generate more business opportunities for MWBEs (Multicultural and Women-Owned, Operated and Controlled Business Enterprises) this site contains a list of over 400 of the best-in-class MWBEs for companies to search, creating business opportunity and greater equity for Black, women and multi-cultural-owned businesses in the U.S.


We are bringing in a third party to help us objectively assess where we stand with our systems, institutional biases, recruitment strategy and more. They will help us identify our gaps, create an informed plan and ensure objectivity, as we work to eliminate any racism, bias and inequity from our company.

Our efforts will be shaped by a cross-disciplinary global working group of TBWA employees to form our strategy, action our plans and monitor our progress.

For the past five years, our Take the Lead program focused on advancing gender equality within the collective, with a goal of increasing the percentage of women in leadership roles. With significant progress made, we are evolving Take the Lead to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Diversity: Changing the composition of our agencies when it comes to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability.
  • Equity: Equity when it comes to compensation, access to training and development opportunities, leadership roles and partnerships.
  • Inclusion: Creating a space for challenging conversations and feedback, ensuring our entire collective feels they can express themselves and ultimately come to work as their authentic selves.

Our initial commitments, with more to come, are as follows:

Diversity and Inclusion will be a business priority, with budget and teams – within working hours.

Accountability and Evaluation. Agency leadership will report their diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and action plans five times a year, where they will be held accountable for progress.

Pro-Bono client. By the end of 2020, every TBWA agency around the world will take on and execute a pro-bono project to fight for equity and social justice. This will allow us to use our creative and strategic talents to contribute to a more equal world, locally and globally. 

These are our first commitments. More will come. Progress won't be overnight. It will take time. There will be missteps along the way. But we will continue to share our progress, and together we will move forward.