Meet Suba Nadarajah

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Designer, World Traveler, and Photographer

Subashini (Suba) Nadarajah is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at VMLY&R. She leads the development and implementation of internal strategies that nurture a vibrant, inclusive and equitable global culture. In this role, Nadarajah will cultivate independent employee networks and programs, and wider industry support systems in collaboration with organizations such as NAAAP, MAGLCC, GLAAD, and more. She also leads in-agency advocacy, identifying and advancing best practices, education, and employee engagement programs that promote progressive environments where all talent can thrive. Her passion for the subject led her to this new role, moving from VMLY&R director of design where she worked with client teams to provide design and branding counsel and inspiration. She has a unique mix of culture, is multilingual, and has a strong, keen eye for art and design. This, along with her extensive global experiences, innate love for different cultures, and travel will add value to VMLY&R’s DEI commitments.

Prior to joining VMLY&R, Suba served as the creative director for the retail visual merchandising team at Hallmark. Her experience spans print, advertising, and television from previous roles at River City Studio, Blacktop Creative, and Bernstein-Rein. She has worked closely with major brands such as Walmart, McDonald’s, Sprint, Bayer, Beauty Brands, Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City Power and Light District, Disney, and Godfather’s Pizza. Her work has been recognized and earned awards from The One Show, Art Directors Club, and ADDY Awards.

Suba earned her early design education from the Malaysian Institute of Art, and she has a master’s in design from the University of Central Missouri, where she was also awarded the outstanding graduate student award for the school of arts and sciences. In 2005, she also received the school’s Distinguished International Alumni Award.

Suba has also been an adjunct professor at the Kansas City Art Institute and at her alma mater, where she taught branding, guerilla marketing, trends, and design systems. She is a natural teacher and believes that art and design, combined with storytelling, give our world a sense of connectivity. They’re universal languages that bring people together. Sharing art is one of her fundamental beliefs.

Originally from Malaysia, Suba is a closet architect who designed her own home in Westwood, Kansas. She resides there with her 7-year-old rescue blue merle sheltie. Her home was featured in Dwell’s online article “Your Rooms We Love.” She is an aspiring equestrian, a world traveler, a photographer, an avid walker, and a Pilates lover who finds balance in life through meditation and living mindfully. Guiding meditation and sharing how to live a mindful life has become one of Suba’s many life ambitions. In a recent TEDxKC, she discussed how powerful our breath can be when we are mindful of its virtues and powers.

Learn more about how Suba became an unconventional leader.


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