Omnicom Group has today announced the launch of Omniwomen in the UK with a day-long training programme designed to inspire and encourage a selection of Omnicom’s rising female stars across its UK companies.  Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day (IWD), the event will include speakers such as Jo Swinson MP.

Describing the initiative Cilla Snowball CBE, group chairman and group chief executive of AMV BBDO said: “In the UK, we’re proud that Omnicom has an impressive track record in promoting women into senior management and board level positions. We’ve designed this training day to be the Omniwomen debut in the UK, based on what women across Omnicom told us about the issues that affect them on a daily basis, including gender codes, confidence in leadership, motherhood, and finding real role models and mentors.

The programme includes male and female Omnicom executives offering their perspectives on leadership.  The morning session includes ‘He for She,’ which features four male speakers discussing the importance of diversity in the senior ranks.  Other sessions include taking commercial control, sharing top tips, and exploring myths such as ‘The Slow Lane after Kids.’”

In stressing the importance of diversity in leadership, Janet Riccio, Executive Vice President, Omnicom Group, said, “This is not solely a women’s issue, but rather a strategic business imperative. Companies that have diverse, inclusive management teams and boards financially outperform those who don’t. The best investment we can make is in our own human capital.”

Explaining her involvement today, Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities said: “International Women’s Day is just days away and I’m delighted to be at the launch of Omniwomen as part of the celebrations. I know they have the support of female leaders across the media world and I wish them well.  Women have been at the heart of the jobs recovery that has helped rebuild Britain’s economy in the last five years. There are more women in work than ever before, and it’s in large part thanks to women that overall employment is higher than it has ever been. We need women to work in all sectors of our economy, especially in leadership positions.  It’s great to see a company openly asking questions about what their female employees feel can hold them back, and looking for practical solutions to support their progress.”

Speakers today includeKaren Darke, Paralympian; Emma Freud OBE, Director of Red Nose Day; Amanda Mackenzie OBE; Shazia Mirza, Comedian & Columnist; Janet Riccio, Executive Vice President, Omnicom Group; Cilla Snowball, Group Chairman and Group CEO AMV BBDO; Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment, Consumer Affairs & Equalities; Dame Dianne Thompson DBE; Sarah Warby, Marketing Director, Sainsbury’s; Dame Fiona Woolf, CBE.

In addition to launching Omniwomen UK, Omnicom’s global networks are putting their world-class creativity to work in support of IWD on March 8th. From #DDBFreedomtobeher to supporting organizations like Dress for Success, Step Up, Girls Who Code, Room to Read’s “girls’ programme”, Omnicom offices around the world are embracing the meaning of the day and sharing their support on a dedicated microsite with #omniwomensupports.

The mission of Omniwomen is to serve as the catalyst for increasing the influence and number of women leaders throughout the Omnicom network.  Omniwomen brings together senior women leaders in an open and supportive environment for networking and learning. Participants have the opportunity to exchange ideas, insights, information and experience with their peers regarding the challenges of executive-level leadership in the communications industry. Only Omnicom and the Omniwomen group offer access to such a unique group of individuals.