VERONICA S. APPLETON, MA
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
WE ARE UNLIMITED
DEPAUL UNIVERSITY XSSZA
What experiences in your career best positioned or prepared you for a global leadership role?
While at Purdue University, I had an opportunity to study Public Relations & Rhetorical Advocacy with a concentration in advertising and political science. I had many aspirations of working as a lobbyist, an attorney or public relations professional. About two years after graduating in 2010, I had an opportunity to participate in Burrell Communications internship program as an engagement marketing intern working on the McDonald’s account. This moment was quite pivotal because it was my first internship within an
advertising agency. It was also the first time I saw a unique and mission-driven set of people who looked just like me – African Americans with passion for brands and
advertising. It keeps me excited and honored to be one of the very few diverse professionals working within the industry. Working within the industry also confirms
that people of color deserve the opportunity to have a place in what we do best: Inspire, cultivate and set trends.
What advice would you offer to developing and emerging leaders to leverage mentoring and coaching relationships?
To every young professional or senior level professional, I encourage you to pursue everything you have in mind and identify mentors and/or coaches along the way.
When you place your faith first and ask for answers along your journey to confirm if what you are doing is right, you will be successful in everything you set your mind to. A mentor and/or coach can provide the stimulated feedback you need to accomplish goals and
avoid risks they may have experienced in the past. Many mentors and coaches have a wealth of knowledge, and as emerging leaders we must maintain a level of openness
to learn, listen and establish understanding for what we’re being advised to pursue.
What type of risks have you taken in your career, and how did they prepare you for the unexpected?
Before joining We Are Unlimited, I worked as a Project Manager & Co-Chair for Global Culture & Inclusion at FCB Chicago. It was a wonderful time at FCB and I will
forever cherish my moment within the agency. While working on several diversity initiatives within FCB, I set out to explore opportunities internally that would give me an opportunity to deliver these initiatives on a full-time basis. When this opportunity was not available,
I did not get discouraged, because I loved working there and I had a strong passion for diversity and inclusion. In early 2016, the opportunity to lead diversity and inclusion for a new, yet adversely unique agency, morphed into a great challenge filled with exciting
possibilities. This gave me a window of opportunity to do what I love, making workplaces more inclusive, organizationally successful and driven by human beliefs, ideology and craft.