Jo Ogunleye | Innovator 25 EMEA 2022

Jo Ogunleye

B2B Communications Lead


“I find myself driving impact when I'm inspired into to take action. This almost always results in seeking out, collaborating and bringing communities together.” 

Jo Ogunleye not only runs B2B communications at Google and YouTube but is also responsible for developing networks and partnerships between the Alphabet firms and groups focused on racial diversity in the communications industry across EMEA. Her in-house and agency experience ranges across the public and private sectors, including the health, infrastructure, finance, technology, media and telecoms sectors, including at KPMG, the City of London, and agencies including Edelman. A passionate mentor and career coach, Ogunleye has advocated for better diverse representation in the PR industry and is a trustee of the Taylor Bennett Foundation and a member of the PRCA's Race and Ethnicity Equity Board. In 2020 she brought together Black colleagues from across the professional services to organise the first joint Black History Month event among the Big Four accounting and management consultancy firms. She was also part of the collective that established the UK Black Comms Network.  
How do you define innovation?
I could Google the dictionary definition of 'innovation' but at the risk of sounding boring I think it's important to count 'progress' and 'impact' and 'best-practice' as innovative. If we only ever reward and highlight the new and shiny, I worry that we miss out on those setting attainable, actionable examples that are good-to-go!

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
Our previous PM's attempts to rewrite the truth

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
While I described more steadfast words to define 'innovation'... when I think back through my career for innovative moments - it's the times where I've had to disrupt the status quo that come to mind.
Back in my junior agency days - innovation looked like being a proactive networker to ensure growth outside of the traditional promotion route.

When I was in the public sector - innovation looked like being an internal journalist, digging for stories that were and had always been there but generally were not given creative visibility.

In my last role - I, like many, was navigating balancing my career while being hit by a pandemic coupled with the resurgence of BLM - a social movement which continues to deeply impact me personally, professionally, medically, socially and beyond. I launched two networks for Black professionals, guest-edited an industry magazine to shine a light on diverse voices and dived head first into leadership (board and trustee roles) dedicated to the growth of diverse talent in our industry and beyond.

The common denominator in all of these environments is I find myself driving impact when I'm inspired into to take action. This almost always results in seeking out, collaborating and bringing communities together.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
It's got to be travel! Discovering and stepping into other cultures, languages, meals, mindsets - it allows me to be a constant learner and discover new perspectives.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Easy - full time travel influencer (I'm still open to offers... ).

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
Book - Invisible Women
Playlist/Song - Good Morning Gorgeous by Mary J Blige Place - Visiting Nigeria (the motherland)

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I'm obviously going to give the Taylor Bennett Foundation a huge shout out here! As a Trustee, that's my job - BUT - our authentic approach to corporate partnerships, research, and leadership is second to none. Learning from and engaging with groups like this is the first step!

Every industry should have a Taylor Bennett Foundation ;)