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Difference Makers’ Efforts Celebrated In Annual Program

Shelby

Diversity and Inclusion – these are terms seen and heard often in the workplace these days. But what do they mean and why are they important?

According to Merriam-Webster, diversity is the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization. Inclusion is defined as the act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality or ability).

In our June editions, The Shelby Report will be recognizing individuals and companies in the grocery industry that have incorporated diversity and inclusion into their cultures in an effort to make sure all their employees or members feel free to be their authentic selves.

Campbell’s introduced an actionable diversity and inclusion strategy in 2020 with three pillars: capabilities, advocacy and accountability. Also in 2020, it hired its first chief culture officer to lead its strategy and looks to further promote diversity and inclusion through its recruiting and hiring strategy.

Campbell’s has committed $1.5 million over three years to nonprofits fighting racism and discrimination. Its meals and beverages sales team has launched its own Diversity & Inclusion Sales Council.

“At Campbell, we’re committed to building a winning team and culture, where all employees can bring their true selves to work, feel safe, valued and supported to do their best work,” said Mike Pierson, chief customer officer for Campbell Snacks. 

“We started the Diversity and Inclusion Sales Council as a grassroots effort within the sales organization, and it has evolved into a company-wide strategic initiative. We are focused on our greatest asset, our people, by changing behaviors and doing what’s right in how we hire, how we learn and how we solve because we know that we are only as strong as our people.”

The Giant Company has a dedicated DEI team and offers a variety of opportunities for engagement. It has provided $500,000 in funding for racial equality and donated nearly $300,000 to local nonprofits to celebrate diversity, build equity and promote inclusion.

“The Giant Company strives to be an inclusive place to work and shop, reflective of the diverse communities it serves. We embrace the unique talents and celebrate the differences of our team members, customers, suppliers, and community partners,” said Aaysha Noor, head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “Guided by its ‘Be You’ Team Promise, we work to create a culture where everyone is respected, valued, heard, and welcomed just the way they are.”

Acosta said it is committed to fostering an inclusive culture that celebrates its diverse workforce and reflects its core values. The agency is focused on building an equitable culture where each associate can bring their true self to work with assurance that their contributions are heard, seen and valued.

In the past year, it has hired a VP of diversity, equity and inclusion and launched a DEI Council to promote the agency’s DEI goals. It has conducted DEI-related training and webinars for employees and developed a mentorship program, among other actions. Associations in the grocery industry also are joining discussions on diversity and inclusion and some are offering their members guidance on the topics.

When asked why diversity and inclusion is important to the grocery industry, NGA President Greg Ferrara said, “Consumers are increasingly showing a tendency to spend with retailers with which they can identify. To that end, many grocery operators seek to better reflect the communities they serve. A diverse workforce means diverse perspectives on how a business can deliver on consumer expectations.”

Ferrara added that grocers are looking to “lean in on this space” and welcome guidance. “Independents understand the important roles they play in their communities and the positive impact inclusive environments have for their customers, associates and leadership teams.

In an effort to help its members, NGA has offered education and guidance on diversity, including webinars presented by the NGA Foundation as well as education sessions at its annual conference.

Join us in the section below as we celebrate these difference makers and their efforts towards diversity and inclusion.

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