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Alumna Strives for Inclusion in the Ad World

Omo at Commencement“I have Brown and Gold in my heart and I will always be grateful for my time in Kalamazoo,” said Omo Ogbomo-Williams (B.A.’15, Organizational Communication). Omo is currently a senior manager of equity, inclusion, and belonging at VMLY&R in Chicago, a marketing and communications company specializing in advertising, digital and social media, sales promotion, direct marketing and brand identity consulting.

Omo supports the talent acquisition team in making the recruiting process equitable for all candidates, with the goal of making all people feel like they belong at her agency. And she was recently recognized for her work with a nomination for an award from the Advertising Education Foundation for her collaboration with their internship program.

“That was very humbling. Engaging with students and helping them enter the advertising industry, especially students of color, is so special to me,” Omo said. Of all her accomplishments in the course of her career, this is the one she is most proud of. She says that her time at WMU more than helped prepare her for her career, and she uses the knowledge and skills she honed every day.

As a student at WMU, Omo had an experience not many of peers could call their own. Her father, the late Dr. Onaiwu Ogbomo, was a professor and chairperson for the Department of Africana Studies.

“WMU is such a special place for me. Because of my dad, I was able to get an amazing education and meet lifelong friends.”

Omo took every opportunity available to prepare for her future career, and was an incredibly active student. She was an Orientation Student Leader, a Student Orientation Coordinator, a member of Pi Beta Phi, a member of the Panhellenic Council, a LeadCorp intern, and a first-year seminar instructor. She also met her future husband while working as an Orientation Student Leader (and they even got married on campus!).

Her first job after graduating from WMU was in supply chain management at Target, where Omo says she realized her passion for Human Resources.

 “Through some networking I left to go to grad school at DePaul and eventually ended up in advertising. I was a recruiter for three years and transitioned into my current role two years ago. My classes in the School of Communication gave me all the skills I use today. Intercultural communication, nonverbal communication, etc. Also, the fact that I had supportive staff members who looked out for me as a student of color made me want to do that for others in this industry.”


Read more about Omo’s experience at WMU

Why did you choose WMU? 

I applied to WMU because my dad worked there and at the time was the Chair of the Africana Studies department. I ultimately chose to go there after a tour. I walked around campus and I felt like WMU was my Goldilocks fit. Just right after seeing really small and really big campuses.

How or why did you select your major? 

I started out as a Journalism major but after a realization in COM 1000, I went to my advisor to explore more of my options in Communications and settled on Organizational Communication. Best choice I could have made. 

What was a formative experience you had as a student that continues to influence you today? 

Being an Orientation Leader honestly. I was incredibly shy my first year and being a spokesperson for the university pushed me to be a leader and engage with so many campus partners. Right after I was a coordinator for the program and that really propelled me forward to other leadership positions.

Tell us about any professors or staff members who left a mark or went above and beyond to help you succeed.

One of my favorite professors is and was Dr. Orbe. I took at least four of his classes in my time there and he had a way of making learning fun. I was able to take his highly coveted Taboo Topics and it really expanded my thinking. From a staff perspective, Dr. Toni Woolfork-Barnes, the former Director of First Year Experience was an incredible mentor and was a leader that I aspired to be like.

What advice do you have for current students? 

Take advantage of your college experience! Squeeze every opportunity out of your classes, student organizations, etc. You don’t get that time back and want to look back on it fondly and know that you experienced as much as you could. 

What's your favorite campus memory?

Truly too many to count. I think exploring East Campus and the archives with the Orientation team. The history of WMU is so interesting and seeing it before the alumni center was built is something I’ll always cherish.