Two new cohorts Walk the Talk

Over 3,000 WPP women from across 55 markets have completed WPP’s women leadership programme since its inception in 2016, and more continue to fill the pipeline.

Group of women at WPP's Walk the Talk programme

The impact of the programme is impressive. 94% of its participants say it has helped them develop a bigger vision for themselves. Furthermore, 97% found value in the deep connections forged with women from around the business. And 96% would recommend Walk the Talk to their colleagues.

“Our executive leadership team is 41% female, and 53% of our senior managers are female,” says WPP’s Lindsay Pattison. “At the most senior level, 42% of our board is female – but true parity means 50% at every level of seniority.”

While more than half of WPP’s overall population is female, Walk the Talk is all about ensuring that the proportion of women to men at the top of the funnel does not shrink. “It is about helping women to be active participants in their own careers, as well as to give them some of the tools needed to help them take big steps and have bold ambitions,” says Lindsay.

It all began in 2016

In 2016, Lindsay was the Global CEO of WPP’s Maxus when she won a ‘Women to Watch’ award from Ad Age in New York. At the time, she was the only female global CEO in media. This was something she set out to change. So, she approached Shine  which works with global brands to drive gender parity.

“I resolved to use my platform and my position to ensure that there are more women in leadership positions, and many women getting leadership awards." says Lindsay. “We have come a long way since 2016.”

The programme is delivered across two days in person or five modules virtually. It delivers clarity, confidence, influence and connection for female leaders.

What we want is equity

“Walk the Talk” was designed to embolden women who might have imposter syndrome,” says Lindsay. “But actually, a lot of the programme’s content is equally relevant for men. They too have fears and anxieties, and they often don't take the time to step back and think about their whole self. Being inclusive of men, and thinking about how we help them, is important too.”

And women need men as allies. “We need men to be understanding and empathetic,” she says. “But ultimately, we need a better gender balance at all levels to help our business succeed.”

Watch Lindsay’s interview with Shine here:

**The next 2024 Walk the Talk cohorts will run in EMEA in May and in APAC in October. Walk the Talk participants are nominated by their agencies. If you work at WPP, contact your manager to discuss the growth opportunities available to you.