SEATTLE: WE has promoted Elizabeth Herrera Smith to EVP and head of diversity, equity and inclusion.
In the newly created role, Herrera Smith joins the firm’s global executive leadership team, reporting to founder and global CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin. She will champion the agency’s DE&I efforts globally, with an initial emphasis on North America.
Herrera Smith will also partner closely with leaders across the agency to evaluate and accelerate the agency’s programs, as well as expand efforts to support programming, policies, training and engagement dedicated to making WE a more inclusive and diverse workplace. She will also continue to advise clients on DE&I communications.
“This role builds on the DE&I foundation we already have in place and is an important next step to making meaningful and sustained progress against our goals,” Herrera Smith said, via email. “Our commitment requires mobilizing our collective agency, as well as dedicating a higher level of leadership across all aspects of our business.”
Herrera Smith noted that she will be focused on three core areas: WE’s people, the company as a whole and its community.
“From a people standpoint, this is all about how we are fostering a strong sense of belonging, what are the behaviors that shape our culture and how we work together,” Herrera Smith said. “Our company is about architecting the programs, policies and practices that advance equity and inclusion for all of our people.”
Community speaks to the strategic partnerships that WE has in place to create opportunities for people of color in the PR industry and how the agency and WE employees engage in its communities, Herrera Smith said.
Herrera Smith has worked at WE for 20 years, most recently serving as SVP in the firm’s consumer sector. She led brand reputation and executive communications efforts for clients such as Microsoft, McDonald’s, Allrecipes, Cisco, Safeway, VSP and Volvo. Herrera Smith has also played an active role in WE’s DE&I efforts, including counseling clients on DE&I engagement, participating in the agency’s employee resource and affinity groups and serving on WE’s DE&I leadership team.
Existing consumer sector leadership will absorb some of the accounts she was overseeing.
WE saw a 13.3% global revenue uptick in 2019 to $143.5 million.