WPP Global Walk the Talk programme

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The Challenge

Back in 2016, then-Maxus WW CEO Lindsay Pattison got a little tired of being one of only a few women in the room.  Not one to let things lie, she committed to make a change.

Despite being a young agency with a fairly equal gender split of 54% female: 46% male, just 27% of the top positions in the WPP agency Maxus were held by women.  At a higher level within parent company GroupM, Lindsay was the only female CEO.  It was a problem with serious consequences; the media industry should reflect the wider world where women account for massive spend.  The agency could easily have been accused of being out of touch by clients who needed it to be more in touch than ever.  The ethical case was strong and the business case even stronger.

The Solution

Introducing Walk The Talk, a bespoke programme

Shine worked with the senior team to create a programme that amplified female talent and allowed both male and female colleagues to collaboratively stand side by side.  At its very heart was a series of intensive 2-day workshops for 200 high potential women from all over the world.  We worked across The Americas, EMEA and APAC where women gained clarity around their values, energy management, inner saboteurs and their bigger game.  What emerged was a compelling vision of their future at Maxus. Crucially, Lindsay supported the programme by being at each workshop and by talking to the entire Maxus community about the financial case for equality.

The results

The ripple effect was felt immediately

All 200 women accepted the responsibility to drive gender equality through the network, introducing new behaviours and tools into their respective markets.  Women immediately started to step up and be bold about the work and promotions they wanted, with over 15% promoted within four months of the programme ending.

The following year, Walk the Talk was adopted at a holding company level by GroupM and WPP, and to date, over 2500 women have now experienced the programme, which has become famous across the network for the impact it’s making on the lives of female leaders, personally and professionally.

Here, GroupM and WPP talk through our approach to the Walk the Talk programme, and the impact it’s had on the business.

Walking the talk...

Walking the talk...

  • 94% working towards their 'bigger game'
  • 30% promotion rate within the first year
  • 14% increase of women on boards