Kellogg recognized for developing female executive leaders

March 01, 2016

At Kellogg, we’re all leaders. That’s why we support development opportunities for people at all levels, no matter where they are in their career journey.

For a fourth year, National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) has recognized these efforts and included Kellogg as one of the 2016 “NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women.” This recognition applauds American corporations that have moved women into top executive positions and created a culture that fosters the careers of talented women.

At the same time,  our commitment to gender diversity on our board of directors and in executive management is also being recognized by the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund, a broadly-diversified mutual fund that invests in the highest-rated companies that also advance women’s leadership.

One of the ways our company supports the development of current and future leaders is through Kellogg’s Executive Cross-Cultural Mentoring Program. This program helps participants better understand the impact of diversity and inclusion on relationships, talent management, business goals, bias and feeling valued as a person and professional. Relationships fostered through the program also enhance efforts to increase and retain top talent for the company.

A nearly 18-year veteran of the company, one of the program’s mentees – Teresa Lindsey-Houston, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing – shares her personal insights on how the company supports female leaders and seeks to develop diverse talent.

How has the Executive Cross-Cultural Mentoring Program advanced your career?

Professionally, teaming up with someone at one of the highest levels of leadership in the organization provides a much broader perspective than what I might otherwise be exposed to. Being matched with a leader that comes from a different culture and function gives me a new reference point when evaluating challenges. Listening to similar experiences and lessons learned by my mentor has stretched my thinking and in some cases, prompted me to reevaluate my own career goals.

I’ve gotten great advice and new tools that can be applied to my personal relationships as well. The safe, transparent, and sharing environment has enriched the experience.

What support does Kellogg provide in retaining and developing women professionally?

In addition to mentoring opportunities, Kellogg offers other tools to help employees actively manage work and life challenges. When I became a new mom, I utilized flexible work options and the nursing mother’s accommodations. Kellogg ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) are also a good platform for development and support. I’ve been a member of KAARG and WOK since the inception of both programs. Participation provides additional leadership, networking and development opportunities.

Do you aspire to be a female executive? In your opinion, what does it take to get there?

Absolutely, but you have to understand there is no silver bullet, nor short-cut for getting there. It takes hard work, dedication, belief in one’s self and an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Getting direct and honest feedback on the hard and soft skills on matters most important to the organization is imperative. This is where a good mentoring relationship can make a difference.

Human Resource experts suggest mentees have an obligation to reach back by mentoring others. Do you have a mentee?

I’m lucky to have several informal mentee relationships and I emphasize the importance of taking personal accountability for getting and giving the most out of their careers.

How does the mentoring process empower you even more?

While many mentees are seeking to gain knowledge from my 18-plus years of experience, they motivate me as well. Engaging with a diverse group of mentees who have different personalities, strengths, perspectives helps strengthen my own coaching and leadership skills. They are as much of a sounding board for me as I am for them. Many times helping them think through an issue in turn helps me solve my own issues. I’m also proud to do my part to support the retention and development of others – it’s the proverbial virtuous cycle. I’d encourage others to participate in a mentoring relationship.

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