Home    Diageo    Insight

Diageos Syl Saller reflects on diversity achievements

Diageo's Syl Saller reflects on diversity achievements

 February 11, 2019

 Read time

Syl Saller, Diageo's Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, has discussed her achievements in promoting diversity in the marketing industry and what that means for an inclusive employer like Diageo.

Syl's drive for diversity 

Among Syl's other achievements, she has been nominated by the World Federation of Advertisers, in partnership with the Drum, for the Global Marketer of the Year award for her innovative work, her championing of female talent and her drive to make the marketing industry more diverse and inclusive

One example of Syl's diversity activism is her personal request to all the advertising and media agencies linked with Diageo to see statistics on gender diversity and pay gaps.

For Syl, there are many achievements to be proud of. She cites Diageo's work on responsible drinking with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking and Diageo's work in progressive gender portrayal. 

Syl also led Diageo's involvement in ‘Free The Bid’, an initiative that encouraged ad agencies to nominate a female director for a creative bid. Syl was also part of Women in Advertising & Communications London (WACL) where she called for industries to invest in women and close the leadership gap.

Developing leaders

Syl explains how she approaches her job at Diageo and what makes Diageo stand out from other companies.

"At the core of my job is talent and developing leaders because you can't run a system that covers over 200 brands and 180 countries if you are not obsessed with growing people's leadership," says Syl.

"The other thing that I think that makes us a little bit unusual as a partner is we are just as likely, maybe even more likely, to ask 'what do we need to change to be a better client?' than 'what does the agency need to do to be a better agency?' Really looking at yourself is critical to an honest transparent and really fulfilling partnership."

Having faith in people

Syl says that there's always some place in the world where something's going wrong but, to try and overcome this, Syl has has learned a mantra: to have deep faith in herself and she'll find a way.

"But maybe even more importantly is deep faith in other people because we have so many talented people and if you just trust that we will work it through you relax, you're more creative with your solutions, and you sleep better," adds Syl.

Raising the game on diversity inclusion

Syl explains that really raising the game on diversity, inclusion and progressive gender portrayal will make an enormous difference to society and to Diageo.

"Without doing that we are missing so many voices that can make a difference to our industry so it's a huge focus for me, it's a huge focus for Diageo and I want to see it be a massive focus for our industry," says Syl.

"So for 2019 I'd say step up, let's all be a little bolder, a little braver, let's recognize that a lot of what holds us back is not that our companies are going to lose millions of pounds - the risks are in our heads and if we can ever overcome those we can do bolder things and we can get greater growth."

Join talented women like Syl at Diageo

Women's work is valued at Diageo and they thrive with the support and opportunities given to them in the company. As one of the leading alcohol beverages companies, Diageo offers a wide range of opportunities to talented women. Learn more and apply now!

Find out more

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

  Linkedin     X     Instagram     Facebook     Press release 

Join our women's careers community