Sutphen rejoins the agency in new leadership position over integrated purpose driven and social impact work
CHICAGO (October 26, 2021) – Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) agency Golin announced today the return of Laura Sutphen as the agency’s managing director (MD), social purpose and sustainability. Sutphen re-joins Golin after leading communications at Amazon for nearly a year. Her appointment to MD marks a significant statement by Golin to expand social purpose as an integrated offering across all its practice areas and for all of The Golin Group agency brands to drive consistency and leading-edge innovation. She officially started on September 13 in Golin’s headquarters in Chicago and reports to Gary Rudnick, president and chief operating officer.
Sutphen’s first charge as MD is to establish social purpose as a unique practice area and expand client services that differentiate purpose-led campaigns in today’s evolving and demanding world. She will also drive Golin’s global social impact efforts, help to champion IPG’s Sustainability and Social Purpose commitments, and work in collaboration with IPG DXTRA and its agency partners to dimensionalize social impact for the future.
Under Golin’s commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives, Sutphen will also serve as executive sponsor over Team Pixel – the network of Golin specialists who represent various dimensions of DE&I expertise and who ensure that its clients and internal teams can serve the profoundly diverse market. As part of that remit, Team Pixel will integrate into the social purpose practice to further develop new intellectual property, sell new services, and market its expertise.
“Never has purpose been more central to our client’s business, or to the expectations, needs and demands of our society,” said Rudnick. “That’s why we are doubling down on the practice in ways we haven’t before. Laura returns at a pivotal time with broader experience, and we look forward to capitalizing on opportunities that stand up this practice, help us do the best work of our lives, and create change that matters.”
During her time at Amazon, where Sutphen served as director of communications, she led small business empowerment and customer trust initiatives, including the launch of the company’s first Black Business Accelerator to build sustainable equity and growth for Black entrepreneurs. She also helped shape its Small Business Empowerment Impact Report. Prior to Amazon, Sutphen was Golin’s executive vice president and head of social purpose where she had senior oversight to award-winning purpose work for the agency, including Crayola Colors of the World, Luna Bar’s Equal Pay effort, LEGO’s sustainability commitments, Ferrara and L’Oréal.
“The people, culture and creativity at Golin are second to none,” said Sutphen. “The agency’s new vision to create change that matters and its commitment to inclusion makes this an exciting time to return so we unlock possibilities for our clients to be equitable, sustainable and act with purpose. I’m so excited to expand Golin’s leadership in social impact with this investment to do pivotal work and create change at scale.“
Sutphen will oversee a diverse team of 15 subject matter experts focusing largely on North American based clients, some of which will have global remits and impact. Under her purview, this team of specialists will elevate the agency’s social purpose practice and create modern offerings unique to the industry.
Over the past year, Golin prioritized social purpose recruitment, creating a talented leadership bench under Sutphen’s oversight. Recent appointments include Kristin Srour who joined as vice president (VP) in Golin’s Washington, D.C. market from the Special Olympics and who also spent time working on public health at the White House and on HIV advancement; Mica Crouse, another D.C.-based VP who joined from Walmart where she led day-to-day sustainability efforts as well as a decade with the Environmental Defense Fund; and Jay Bryant in Golin D.C., who was previously behind significant social purpose campaigns for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, B Lab, Bowry Farming, iRobot, Shopify, Toyota and several other brands.
Golin’s social purpose work was historically embedded in its corporate practice offering, however the agency’s expansion of the practice allows it to be more integrated across all sectors including consumer, healthcare and technology. Sutphen will act as a strategic counsellor to C-suite leaders across all of The Golin Group’s client rosters – including Allstate, Crayola, McDonalds and Walmart to name a few.
Prior to Amazon, Sutphen held executive leadership roles at agencies Ketchum, Fenton Communications and owned her own social impact PR firm for more than a decade, called Social Planets.