The College’s Impactful Alumni Award recipient for 2023 is Syl Saller ’79, who double majored in psychology and communication at UNH. The annual award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in making a significant impact on the lives of others.
Saller recently retired as global chief marketing and innovation officer of the U.K.-based Diageo, one of the world’s largest beverage companies with several iconic brands. Saller has not only established herself as an outstanding leader in the marketing industry but has also made a tremendous impact on gender equality initiatives in global business.
Saller’s relentless prioritization of gender diversity led to substantial gains in advancing women in Diageo and well beyond. At Diageo, Saller introduced innovative practices to ensure inclusive representation in advertising and provided forward-thinking organizational leadership to help the company reach #1 in Equileap’s 2019 Gender Equality Global Report and Ranking of business corporations. Saller further dedicated herself to making a global impact on women’s lives through initiatives such as Diageo’s “Creative Comeback” program, which supported women re-entering the workplace following career breaks and, in collaboration with the UN’s Unstereotype Alliance, created industry-wide guidance on gender representation in marketing.
Saller’s accomplishments were recognized in 2020 by Queen Elizabeth II with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) award, one of the highest awards in the British honours system.
Saller continues to positively impact the marketing industry through her leadership development practice and her work with the Marketing Academy, which trains chief marketing officers to become CEOs, in conjunction with McKinsey.
“It gives me tremendous pride to see the impressive professional success of so many of our Liberal Arts graduates,” says Michele Dillon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Syl has had an extraordinary — and exciting — career in global corporate marketing, which in itself is a huge achievement, and, additionally, she has generously used her experiences and accomplishments to become an impactful leader internationally in forging greater equality for women in the workplace and beyond.”
Saller will be recognized at the 2023 College of Liberal Arts Commencement ceremony in May.