Intersectionality in the Workplace, Q&A with VP, Strategy Director Lisa Ivy

As June ends and Pride Month comes to a close, Lisa Ivy, VP, Strategy Director shares their experience with intersectionality as a black and queer professional, leadership strategy, career advice, commitment to culture and using creativity for good in this edition of Leo Q&A.

VP, Strategy Director, Lisa Ivy (she/they) is a multi-hyphenate, visionary leader who identifies as black and queer. They use their prominence to drive positive change in agency culture and beyond. They lead efforts to create a more inclusive and empathetic environment where all employees can thrive.

Lisa shares what their experience with intersectionality has taught them about self-advocacy, leadership and using their talent for good in this edition of Leo Q&A.

Tell me about your role as a VP, Strategy Director. What is your day-to-day like?

I lead many of Leo Burnett’s Healthcare, Technology, and Social Good brands across a team of talented and innovative strategists. I’ve been LA-based working on Chicago time for a year — working on Central Time on the West Coast means early starts to the day but also means the workday ends earlier. Luckily, I’m more of a morning person. The virtual and physical rooms I spend time in, throughout the year, are with humans I look forward to laughing with, untangling client problems, and learning more about.

As a black and queer professional, how does the intersectionality of your total being impact your day-to-day work? How has it influenced your leadership style? Would you describe it as an advantage?

I view intersectionality not only as a lived experience but a lens that I see the world through. All the shortcomings or privileges that I’ve experienced due to my layered identity has given me a level of empathy and access to different fringes of culture that I actively tap into.

My leadership style is based on leading by example and making people feel comfortable to be their truest selves in the room. I do that by not hiding who I am or feeling like I need to assimilate to be heard or succeed.

The advantage of me – and all of us – feeling empowered to access our full selves in a corporate setting, allows us to not hide or overlook a rich human insight that can only be unearthed by nuanced perspective. It’ll make our storytelling & creative solutions more authentic, breakthrough and resonate.

Thinking back to the beginning of your career and where you are now, what advice do you have for your younger self and for incoming talent about bringing your full self to work and advocating for your needs?

It starts with being honest with yourself on where your limits, boundaries, and capacities lie. And if you have yet to explore what those look like, the best way we can help ourselves is by having awareness of when we’ve reached our limit and how much we can hold. When you have a better sense of where things begin and end for you, you can feel more empowered to advocate for your needs.

Mental health is a huge topic in the LBGTQIA+ space. As the co-founder of Publicis Groupe’s BRG, Conscious Mind, how has the group advocated for mental health during the month? Are there any tools available to offer space to just be and help alleviate stress?

There’s never really a quiet month for Conscious Mind because mental health is real and has become more of a topic of conversation and practice every day.

Beyond our recurring daily guided meditation, we saw an opportunity to feature myself at June’s Leaders Being Human speaking series to bring my intersecting identities of being black and queer to the table. On the heels of Juneteenth and it being Pride month we felt that my story as a leader would be a great one to add to the series.

You were one of the driving forces behind the award-winning campaign for Trans Lifeline’s We See Us. Why is it important for agencies to lead this kind of work on behalf of non-profits such as Trans Lifeline?

Working on brands like Trans Lifeline allowed Leo Burnett to use our creative powers for good, a philosophy which I fully believe in. Our talents generate work to help our clients’ businesses grow and it’s important we find ways to raise up voices that need to be heard or change culture for the better.

What are three things that people may not know about you?

  1. I am a Jamaican Drag King that enjoys rollerblading. (that’s three right there)
  2. Haven’t roller-bladed in Drag yet…
  3. Stay tuned.