ELITE 2021 Talent Acquisition Leader Michelle Edwards of Heartbeat

Michelle Edwards

Vice President, Human Resources


Putting the Humanity in HR

People are a company’s greatest asset. When the right person finds the best talent, channels those employees into the right roles, fosters growth, nurtures a culture of diversity and inclusion, and ensures industry-leading retention rates, that company wins, grows, and wins again. For Heartbeat, that person is Michelle Edwards.

Michelle is an outspoken voice for equitable workplaces where all can advance. Her “people-first” strategy is the driver behind Heartbeat’s uniquely supportive culture. In her 11 years with the company, Michelle has personally overseen Heartbeat’s substantial growth and spearheaded its nationally recognized, award-winning diversity and inclusion strategy.

In fact, she’s been working on workplace equity since long before it was a hot topic for most companies. Michelle has also developed a myriad of industry-leading programs that create a well-rounded employee experience. Learning opportunities, wellness programs, and an enticing career anniversary reward program all contribute to employee retention. Networking events, heritage celebrations, and an annual employee appreciation extravaganza keep employees engaged.

Heartbeat’s parent company, Publicis Groupe, frequently recognizes Michelle for her forward-thinking approach to talent development. She has spoken on HR success tactics for numerous organizations such as Publicis Viva Women of Color, and has been a supporter of and participant in events like Ad Color and the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit for many years.

Heartbeat’s growth can be directly attributed to Michelle’s career development programming. Last year, over half of all promotions went to people of color. From Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, BIPOC representation at the Director level and Group Director level increased by 9 and 11 percentage points, respectively. Seventy-one percent of the agency’s 2020 VP-and-above promotions went to women.

Change starts with a concerted effort to improve culture, boost outcomes, and most of all—nurture human capitol. Just ask Michelle Edwards. She’ll show you where to begin.


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