We All Rise Together launched last year to form a grassroots community among agency BIPOC talent and leadership.

Last year, when it became clear just how much COVID-19 was devastating Black and Brown communities, Judy Jackson felt a responsibility to act.

The global head of culture at WPP reached out to friends in the industry, including Monique Nelson, chair and CEO of multicultural agency UniWorld Group, and Deidre Smalls-Landau, chief marketing officer and EVP of global culture at UM, to ask: What can we do?

“I took a leap of faith and contacted about 50 people and said, ‘let’s get on a Zoom call, identify what’s happening and explore what we can do together,” Jackson said.

Little did they know that call would lead to the industry’s first cross-agency, grassroots community for people of color, We All Rise Together, which officially launched on April 23, 2020.

“One of the things we are passionate about is finding ways to bridge gaps across agencies and holding companies,” Jackson said. “We’re coming together as people and leaders who are passionate about making a difference for our communities, and we’re not beholden to the agencies we’re part of.”

In June 2020, after George Floyd’s killing by police officer Derek Chauvin set off a racial reckoning across the globe, We All Rise Together’s momentum only grew. The group expanded in size and began exploring ways that marginalized communities within agencies could come together to heal and achieve inclusion and empowerment.

To achieve real outcomes, We All Rise Together organized around three pillars: health, led by Jackson; wealth, led by Nelson; and mobility, led by Kai Deveraux Lawson, SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion at Dentsu Creative. Smalls-Landau led the branding and communications work for the organization.

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