Icons, RockStars, & Innovators: Deidre Smalls-Landau

What makes you an Icon?

Your authentic and influential leadership style that has contributed to your trailblazing career success. You have broken barriers, overcome adversity, and as a result, are a role model to many.

Dynamic, empowered and entrepreneurial, Deidre Smalls-Landau is an award-winning advertising executive who has been at the forefront of the industry for more than 20 years. Deidre serves as the U.S. Chief Marketing Officer & Global Head of Culture for UM, overseeing its internal and external branding, platforms, initiatives and global research to help shape the agency that clients want to work with and people want to work for. In her role, Deidre ensures that underrepresented segments of the population are at the core of the agency’s business and branding and works with client teams to integrate multicultural data and insights into UM’s planning process.

In her previous role as UM’s first-ever Global Chief Cross-Cultural Officer, Deidre established UM’s Diversity & Belonging Council and led UM’s most ambitious diversity recruitment effort, Unity 20/40, which aims to create a UM U.S. employee population that matches the diversity of the 2040 U.S. population. She also spearheaded culturally-focused initiatives that informed UM’s work and decision-making on a global scale, including leading the team that introduced a cultural framework for analyzing the role that social and digital media play in shaping identity, culture and trends.

Deidre fundamentally believes that diversity and inclusion for all is a true competitive advantage that drives UM’s business success. To that end, she is hyper-focused on ensuring that the agency’s offering captures the intersection of all cultures. Her efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at UM and to build products that boost the agency’s understanding of culture and trends have helped UM win a spot in Ad Age’s Best Places to Work in 2019 and 2020 as well as the Adweek 2020 Agency of the Year recognition.

Deidre is a 2018 Adweek Media All-Star and recipient of the She Runs It Working Mother of the Year Award in 2018 and 2020. She served as a judge on the 2018 Cannes Glass Lion as well as the 2018 Festival of Media Global Awards. She is a board member of the 4A’s Foundation, a member of the Vox Media Agency Council, an IPG representative for TIME’S UP Advertising, and a member of the 4A’s Media Leadership Council, where she advises the industry’s leading trade organization on policy, programming and best practices.

Deidre received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Utica College and currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jonathan and twin girls, Nyla and Soleil.

Follow Deidre on Twitter, Instagram and find her on LinkedIn!


The ACNY Foundation is proud to recognize outstanding industry professionals, during our 4th Annual Black History Month recognition series titled, “Icons, Rock Stars & Innovators”.

It is our way of shining the spotlight on exemplary talent, integral to the evolution and growth of the advertising industry. Each day during Black History Month we profile a selected “Icon, Rock Star & Innovator” across all our digital platforms. Though we cannot be together in person, the spirit of our history and the legacy of our excellence lives on in us. Follow the series on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

P.S. Check out our other content from previous years

2020 – Honorees

2019 – Sizzle Reel

2019 – Online Exhibition

2019 – Icons, RockStars, & Innovators

2018 – Icons, RockStars, & Innovators


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