Boys & Girls Clubs hail an achiever

By 
Bethany Dionne, Special to the Reporter
May. 21, 2009

Tiffany R. Warren: Will be honored with Pioneer Award at the New England Women Leadership Awards on May 28.Tiffany R. Warren: Will be honored with Pioneer Award at the New England Women Leadership Awards on May 28.Known in the advertising world as “Diversity Pollyanna,” Tiffany R. Warren credits much of her success and accomplishments to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. And the respect is mutual: Warren will be honored with The Pioneer Award at the Club’s New England Women’s Leadership Awards on May 28th.

“This award is more important than any other award I’ve ever received,” Warren said with a grin, her dark brown eyes sparkling. “It was unexpected and means so much coming from the Club. The Club has helped me so much and I can trace all my accomplishments back to the Club. So many people believed in all of us early on. The Club is a gift I still think about everyday.”

Warren grew up in Roxbury with her single mother and eight younger siblings. Even though her family did not have a lot of resources, her mother did the best she could to offer every opportunity possible to her children.

Warren spent many summers in Maine, through the Fresh Air Fund, a non-profit organization that sends city kids to stay with host families in rural and suburban communities. Warren said spending summers away from her mom at an early age gave her independence and motivation to take charge of her life and achieve her dreams.

She says her mother and grandmother have always been extremely supportive of her goals, and she laughs, recalling a memory of running home from school in the fifth grade, exuberant about being elected Class President. Her grandmother was so proud and asked her what her next goal was. She says she knew then that she had a lifetime to achieve and there was nothing holding her back.

“I’m just a little girl from Roxbury and I didn’t have a lot of means,” she said. “But then you have this dream and no money and you just find a way to scrape by to put together your vision. I always think about ‘what’s next,’ because that’s when you begin to accomplish things. I really want to give back.”

Kevin Roach, Warren’s mentor at the Club, said Warren was extremely motivated and a powerful leader when he met her in the early 1990s.

“Tiffany has not only demonstrated powerful leader skills, but she has focused on giving back to her community,” Roach said. “She knows the importance of achieving, but she has never forgotten where she came from and the power to teach others to rise up.”

After graduating from The Winsor School, Warren went to Bentley University on a full scholarship, which she also credits to the Club for not only pointing her in the right direction, but also for connecting her with the right people. She worked for the American Association of Advertising Agencies in New York City and spent the last three years working at Arnold Worldwide in Boston. At Arnold, Warren was the Vice President of Multicultural Programs and Community Outreach.

Warren joined Omnicom Group in New York City this past February and is currently the Chief Diversity Officer where she oversees all diversity initiatives. She could not be more thrilled to be working for Omnicom and says that everything she’s done before this has helped prepare her.

“The opportunities here are amazing,” she said with a smile. “Now I can really affect change worldwide. I look at it and think how crazy it is that I’m working here, but I’m ready for this!”

In addition to her involvement within the advertising world, Warren is extremely proud of the ADCOLOR campaign, which she founded in 2005. ADCOLOR is a cross-industry initiative that combines the advertising, marketing and media industries to identify current issues and opportunities regarding diversity. She says ADCOLOR is her baby and will become her legacy.

The Club’s Pioneer Award is given to women who have forged new paths for other women and broken down long-established barriers to achieve success. Warren said she was shocked and blown away when she learned that she was chosen to receive the honor.

“Tiffany is such a personable, friendly woman and certainly deserves this award,” said Mike Joyce, Vice President of Programming at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. “She’s had a number of high profile jobs locally and in New York. She’s worked so hard to get where she is today and she really deserves this.”

Although this is not her first award, Warren still feels like her head is spinning from excitement and says this honor was completely unexpected. She knows that she has come a long way and fully believes in delayed gratification.

“You can’t get it all right away,” she said. “You need to know that the schedule of your path is right, you need to walk to your own beat and you need to listen to your heart.”