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A New Training Program to Upskill Junior to Mid-Level Talent

TMT Publicis Sapient University, now SPEED Academy, has been awarded “Best Management of a Program” by The Corporate Engagement Awards 2022. Learn about this cross-discipline training program.


Most professional training programs focus on a single craft or skillset. However, Publicis Sapient sets itself apart in the market by bringing multiple capabilities together into cross-discipline teams that attack client challenges holistically.

Therefore, it is our goal to build leaders that possess knowledge beyond their trade and understanding across all capabilities.

SPEED Academy was established for this very purpose.

Two Senior Associates in our Toronto office saw a gap in the cross-discipline learning opportunities offered to junior and mid-level talent. They saw that their peers were keen to learn but were overwhelmed with options and desired the comradery of group learning.

“We realized we had learned the most ‘on the job’ when pushed to work with other disciplines for projects outside of our learned skillsets,” says Taylor Frey, co-founder. “And the leaders we respect have understanding across all capabilities. Why couldn’t we build this same understanding in our Senior Associates and Managers?”

Taylor talks about the process of creating the program on the Own Your Potential podcast. Play the podcast episode on Spotify.

From the beginning, the mission was clear: build multidimensional leaders, starting at the junior and mid-level career stages, inclusive of all disciplines and backgrounds, and prevent our talent from becoming too siloed in their own disciplines.

The curriculum – the anatomy of a pitch, research, agile fundamentals, journey mapping, experimentation, accessibility and more – is modeled on one of our existing senior-level fellowships and supported by senior leadership across capabilities.


While fostering this cross-functional thinking ultimately allows us to better solve our clients’ problems, at the heart of the program is our dedication to our people and their development as individuals and teams.


Feedback from participants

“Given the target audience for this program… I really appreciated the Leadership Voice exercise because it helped me see the value in my own leadership style, it was not telling me to be someone totally different.”

“Hearing more about the product mindset was the most impactful. Since I am often working on parts of digital products, it’s helpful to hear how they view the world. Makes it easier to empathize with them and understand how to work with them.”

“I learned SO MUCH during this program – about myself but also about teamwork – it was a joy to connect with new faces & people during this weird COVID era.”

“The entire data section was impactful to me because I rarely have a data person on my projects, but the importance of data comes up on every project I'm on. Having a base understanding has been essential for me.”

“Accessibility was eye opening. I never realized how accessibility was so critical, it helped me understand how as a product manager, the accessibility of what we build is very important.”

“PS University may very well be the best thing that has happened to me at this company.”

“Most impactful was being able to see that the company did not use the opportunity of the last couple years to make a statement based on the media buzz, but actually incorporated DE&I more into the culture of our company.”

Award-winning management and implementation

Congratulations to the team for their spectacular development and implementation of the SPEED Academy’s pilot program. Their successful management of this pilot program, in the midst of the pandemic, has been recognized by The Corporate Engagement Awards 2022 and enables PS to transform this grass roots effort into a more expansive program to reach more talent in future sessions.

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