Rapp opens ‘leadership of the future’ career scheme

Carolyn_Stebbings 2Omnicom’s global customer experience giant Rapp is aiming to boost its succession planning with the launch of a new career sponsorship programme that will invest in, cultivate and progress high-performing and high-potential staff within the group.

Dubbed “The Table Makers”, the scheme aims to offer intentional, structured and formalised career sponsorship and advocacy to those who currently do not see themselves reflected at leadership level.

The group operates in 30 countries worldwide and has more than 2,000 staff but admits, like most of the industry, it has “room for improvement” in diversity, equity and inclusion. This lag in progressing underrepresented talent in the higher ranks of the sector, has led to the first cohort being reserved for black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC).

As a sponsorship programme rather than a mentoring scheme, sponsors will be expected to actively include and promote their sponsees in their professional network to help grow their careers, while proactively seeking out exposure opportunities for their sponsees – be it via networking events, training or important meetings and speaking opportunities.

Supporting and advocating for sponsees to achieve and progress to the next level in their careers is an explicit goal of the programme.

Rapp UK chief operations and inclusion officer Carolyn Stebbings, who was promoted to the role last year, said: “We know that career sponsorship happens all the time – no one progresses their career without it. That said, in our industry is has historically been more incidental than intentional.

“For Rapp to become more equitable, diverse and inclusive, we need to continue to dismantle barriers of entry to leadership positions for under-represented groups. This is the genuine aim of The Table Makers.

“For this first cohort, the leadership team felt it was imperative to focus on our BIPOC talent, as the representation from these groups at leadership level and in general across Rapp has room for improvement.”

Rapp maintains it will track and act against feedback by sponsees and sponsors on a continual basis. To ensure everyone is continually supported, both parties will be offered closed fortnightly drop-in sessions with the DE&I team.

Quarterly mixed sessions will provide a forum in which partnerships can share with one another about where they are on their journey and anything they have found especially helpful, interesting or inspiring. Additional training will also be offered as a part of the programme.

Initially launching in the UK and US, The Table Makers is expected to roll out globally in the future and will sit alongside Rapp’s existing personal and professional development opportunities. These include Sayge Coaching, which offers holistic support globally to colleagues as they develop professionally; the Kim Merrill Mentorship Programme in the US, designed to connect talent with similar areas of interest or expertise; and Omnicom University, focused on leadership and management.

One person who is benefitting from the agency’s existing career progression is Jamie Marks, who has been promoted to the new role of Rapp UK social director to meet increased demand from clients in the social, influencer and brand partnership sphere.

In his new role, Marks, who has been at the agency six years, will be responsible for further expanding Rapp’s social capability across its clients, including VMO2 and Mercedes Benz. He will also offer specialist support to Omnicom clients where required and report to Rapp UK’s client leadership director, Ed Lee.

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