Wongdoody said Wednesday that it has hired Grace Francis as its first chief creative and design officer, a new role at the agency.
Francis, who joins the global digital creative agency from Accenture Interactive, where they were chief experience officer at Karmarama, will join Wongdoody in March and will be based in London. Francis will report to Wongdoody CEO Ben Wiener.
Tracy Wong, cofounder and chief creative officer of Wongdoody, will become chairman of the agency and will continue to oversee its creative culture.
Francis is excited to join Wongdoody because it’s “at a new chapter and point of change,” they said. Wongdoody was acquired by India-based IT and consulting firm Infosys for $75 million in 2018 and has since expanded globally.
“Wongdoody has had an illustrious history and massive growth,” Francis said. “Having Infosys to support them, now is the time to see what we can do to push the barriers of technology and creativity.”
Francis will oversee Wongdoody’s global studios in North America, Europe, Asia and India with the goal of integrating creative and experience work for clients. They will also aim to further Wongdoody’s culture of “creative democracy,” which means that great ideas can come from anywhere, whether it’s an ECD or an intern.
“The best idea might be from an intern half my age understanding someone in the world I've never heard of,” Francis said. “I want to make sure that person has room to speak.”
Francis will also be responsible for attracting creative talent to the agency. As one of the only transgender/nonbinary leaders in the advertising industry, Francis hopes to contribute to a culture where people are encouraged to be themselves and feel comfortable doing so.
“Inclusion and intersectionality unlocks innovation,” they said. “Making sure everyone in the room can be their authentic self means we contribute in ways we wouldn’t and get to better, richer ideas faster.”
They added: “From a human perspective, it’s incredibly important that we need different people in the room to make our 9 to 5 pleasant, to make our time together worthwhile. I only want to be in spaces where people are included.”
To that end, one of Francis’ first goals at Wongdoody is to set up a creative council where people from all “ages, walks of life and abilities,” including people who don’t have the word “creative” in their titles, can come and discuss new creative ideas, they said.
“I hope by normalizing that you can take that authentic self into work, more people will follow suit.”
Francis, who is a strong advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community in advertising, hopes the industry can gain a better understanding on intersectionality across, race, class and sexual and gender identity.
“However you choose to identify, if you feel different, come and work for me,” they said. “There is going to be a seat at the table for you.”