DDB Mudra Group’s Vanaja Pillai promoted, will head diversity, inclusion & impact

For over two years now, Pillai has been a consultant – D&I, at DDB Mudra, the creative marketing communication firm


DDB Mudra Group has elevated Vanaja Pillai to the post of head – diversity, inclusion and impact. For over two years now, Pillai has been a consultant – diversity and inclusion at the Group, based out of Bangalore.

Pillai, who possesses an MBA in marketing from the KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, has worked as an associate partner at Ogilvy & Mather for over seven years in the initial part of her career.

In 2006, she joined Nokia as a communications manager for a short stint of six months, before venturing into consultancy, with Wellspring Consulting.

From 2007 to 2011, she served as the client service director for Ogilvy. There, she was part of the global advertising hub set up by Ogilvy in Bangalore to manage global businesses.

In June, 2011, she moved to Cypress Semiconductor Corporation as senior marketing communications manager, where she managed teams across India, China, Japan and the US. Her responsibilities included campaign development and deployment, regional marketing, distribution marketing support, tradeshows and events, and managing a creative design centre.

Her next assignment was that of a consultant with Jump Global, EduVelocity, Antarjaal. There, she consulted with a range of startups across the education and technology verticals. Over a year later, she was back again in Ogilvy, in 2014, as executive vice president. During her three-year tenure there, she helped grow the digital arm of Ogilvy in Bangalore from a single-account business unit into a dynamic, multi-brand and award-winning creative agency.

At her next stop, 22feet Tribal Worldwide, she was branch head – Bangalore for almost two years.

It was in February 2020 that she joined DDB Mudra as consultant – diversity & inclusion. At the creative marketing communication company, she successfully drove the ‘Phyllis India Project’, a year-long mentorship programme to enable and encourage women to thrive in leadership roles and drive professional growth. The programme was designed to mentor top women performers and equip them with relevant skills to help them achieve and excel in leadership positions.

Given her passion, her elevation to the role of head – diversity, inclusion and impact does not come as a surprise.

Pillai will work closely with Aditya Kanthy, CEO & MD, and Rita Verma, head – HR, DDB Group.

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