Wesley Combs is a diversity and inclusion expert, passionate social justice advocate and nationally-recognized entrepreneur.
He is the Founding Principal of Combs Advisory Services where he works with clients who share his values of enabling equity, equality and opportunity in the workplace and the community. He serves as a strategic counselor for business, non-profit and government leaders as they seek to find innovative, sustainable solutions that remove barriers preventing individuals from reaching their full potential.
Before forming Combs Advisory Services, Wes served as the first North American Diversity & Inclusion Director at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. Wes was instrumental unifying the management of BCG’s diversity programs to ensure a best-in-class approach and to help drive a more comprehensive dialogue about diversity and inclusion across the leadership teams and the partnership as a whole.
Prior to BCG, Wes headed the global Inclusion and Diversity Consulting Practice at Accenture Ltd., the world’s fifth largest consulting firm. Because of his expertise creating effective public/private partnerships, Wes was chosen to lead the successful launch of Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE), a multi-stakeholder coalition among public sector (Austrian Development Agency/US AID), private sector (Microsoft), civil society actors (World Bank), foundations (MasterCard and Rockefeller Foundations), think tanks (Rand International), and young people. S4YE is one of Accenture’s signature corporate social responsibility efforts, providing leadership and resources for catalytic action to increase the number of young people engaged in productive work around the world.
From 1993 to 2011, Wes combined his passion for civil rights with his marketing expertise with colleague Bob Witeck to form the organizational strategy firm Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. They selected clients whose missions aligned with their social justice roots – committed to creating accessible pathways to education, employment and economic empowerment including: the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation, National Organization on Disability, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gill Foundation, Point Foundation, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, and Human Rights Campaign.
On the corporate side, American Airlines and Marriott International are just two brands who attribute their status as category-leaders with the LGBT community to the strategic counsel of Wes and Bob. This groundbreaking and award-winning work was chronicled by Wes and Bob in the book they co-authored in 2006, Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers (Kaplan Publishing).
Wes and Bob have been recognized by the Association of National Advertisers, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Out Magazine for their groundbreaking contributions on behalf of advocating for LGBT inclusion in the workplace as well as in society at large.
Wes is a highly sought-after expert source on workplace diversity and inclusion, speaking with authority on changing demographics, specific communities of identity including women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with disabilities. He has appeared in leading media outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, Forbes, Inc, and NBC Nightly News.
Wes is also a frequent presenter at top industry conferences such as the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Forum on Workplace Inclusion and STEMconnector’s Workshop for Leaders Promoting Corporate Diversity.
Throughout his career, giving back to the community has always been a priority for Wes. His board service includes:
• The Posse Foundation’s DC Advisory Board (2016 to present) and the Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors (1991 to 1993).
In addition, he has held many volunteer leadership roles:
• Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants Review Committee (2018); Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Workforce Development Collaborative Grants Review Committee (2017 to present); Human Rights Campaign Business Advisory Council (1999 to 2016); Whitman Walker Health Be the Care Gala Co-Chair (2012); National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Procurement Council (2008 to 2011); Sitar Arts Center Leadership Council (2010 to Present); Out & Equal Workplace Summit Co-Chair (2007); Gay and Lesbian Inaugural Ball Co-Chair (1992).
Wes received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University.