Francisco I., - Diversity and Inclusion in Kellogg Latin America Region
Francisco I. is proud to go to work every day. He not only serves as the Senior Manager of Finance (P&A) at Kellogg’s Latin America headquarters in Mexico, but has also been the co-chair of the K-Pride & Allies business employee resource group (B/ERG) since it launched in June, 2016. The group is focused on creating a culture of inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ employees within Kellogg, and is working alongside other B/ERGs to advance diversity across the company.
“Being gay myself, it is something that I found amazing when I first heard about it,” he said of the K-Pride & Allies group. “I found it incredible that I was working for an organization where I am appreciated and where I can be fully myself.” Last year he marched with others from Kellogg in Mexico City’s Pride Parade, an unprecedented moment for him.
Francisco says that this open and accepting approach has not only been immensely rewarding on a personal level, but also drives business results by allowing employees to fully engage with their work, without the distraction of having to hide parts of their identity.
“We have to build an environment where no one feels they have to leave something of themselves at the door in order to contribute to the company,” he said. Since K-Pride & Allies was launched, he has seen discussions among colleagues about LGBTQ issues become more open and relaxed.
It’s important work for Francisco, both inside and outside of Kellogg office doors. Across Latin America, LGBTQ people still face serious issues of violence and discrimination. “We want to be a public forum within our community to send a message of diversity and inclusion,” he said.
Miriam O., - Diversity and Inclusion in Kellogg North America Region
When Miriam O., Senior Talent Acquisition Advisor, first moved to the United States from her native Mexico at the age of 19, she did not find success alone. “I had great support from people helping me to learn English and get my first job,” said Miriam. It’s one of the reasons that the Chicago resident is so involved with business employee resource groups, like HOLA! at Kellogg, and other community-based inclusion groups.
“I try to give back and to provide the support that was given to me when I came here,” she said.
Throughout her ten years at Kellogg, Miriam has been involved in the growing Latino and Hispanic community at the company and is now co-chair of ChicagHOLA and, the local chapter of HOLA!.
Her work with HOLA! is not only about personal fulfillment, but also building up the entire company.
“I’m passionate about diversity and passionate about giving Latinos and Hispanics an opportunity because it is so good for the company,” she said. “It’s a huge opportunity for us. Latinos are the fastest growing minority in the US. The more representation we have, the more we will be able to capitalize on those markets.”
Miriam and other Research and Development leaders recently launched a Latino cohort within the R&D function with the aim of getting more people involved and building up the talent pipeline. The cohort now meets once a month to highlight the career paths of senior Latino employees, discuss various issues and find ways to support each other.
The cohort has been a great success so far, and has also allowed Miriam more personal contact with some of the employees she helped hire. “Knowing that, hey, you were looking for a job and – I didn’t do it alone – but I helped you get into the company,” she said. “It’s a part of my job that I absolutely adore.”
Ben L. - Diversity and Inclusion in Kellogg Europe Region
Ben L., Talent & Diversity Director, understands the value that a mix of perspectives and personal backgrounds bring to a company. Since joining Kellogg in 2010 at the Manchester, U.K. office, Ben has worked to build a more diverse and well-rounded employee base and a more inclusive talent pipeline.
As Talent & Diversity Director for Europe, one area of focus for Ben is gender balance across the region. In 2014, he was involved in the U.K. launch of the Women of Kellogg (WOK), the first business employee resource group (B/ERG) outside of North America. There are currently plans under way to expand WOK to other European locations and a longer-term ambition to create additional B/ERGs with other diversity-focused objectives.
Ben also helped pioneer the Parenting Transition Coaching Program for KEU, which provides support to new parents through coaching sessions. The program teaches in-line managers and HR business partners how to better aid employees juggling new family priorities. As a new father, this initiative is particularly dear and near to his heart. While working to bring this benefit to the company, he has also leveraged it for himself. “Having a diverse company culture serves as a strong competitive advantage and the more we can demonstrate this, the stronger we will be,” said Ben. “It is important that our employee base reflects our consumer and customer base, and we have to recognize the speed at which consumer and customer trends change, ensuring this is reflected and understood within our teams.”
While the world is moving fast, Ben and his team are also focused on long-term, lasting improvements in company culture. “Helping to drive better understanding, better appreciation and better awareness of diversity and inclusion requires time investment. Ensuring we rightly illustrate the priority of doing this – when there is so much going on – can be a challenge.”
Still, Ben and his team persist in looking for ways to push the diversity and inclusion agenda forward, whether it is through data-driven insights, B/ERGs, or stronger team resourcing.
Yukari I. - Diversity and Inclusion in Kellogg Asia Pacific Region
Yukari I., Managing Director Japan and South Korea, learned about gender barriers at a young age. Unlike her male counterparts, she struggled to get employment letters after graduating college. After 30 years diligently working her way up multi-national companies, she learned how to "crack the glass ceiling" and is now dedicated to helping other women do the same.
“The inclusion of women in senior leadership correlates to better business results,” said Yukari. “A diverse workforce that represents our consumers helps us to better meet their ever-changing needs.”
Kellogg has made significant strides over the last few years. Thirty-six percent of the company’s board of directors are female and the ratio of women on the Kellogg Japan leadership team has significantly improved. Currently, four women are part of the nine member team.
While there has been great progress, Yukari also points out there is much work to be done, especially in Asia, where strong cultural biases remain. According to the World Economic Forum, Japan ranked 101st out of 121 countries in terms of gender equality.
As the sponsor of Kellogg Asia Pacific’s Women of Kellogg (WOK) business/employee resource group, Inoue has helped the group work toward gender equality across the business. This year WOK launched two flagship programs, Wokmatch.com, – a mentoring program, and Life E-Coaching – an external coaching course for female leaders. WOK is also implementing unconscious bias training, new parenting toolkits and other support systems.
“We need to inspire women to think differently and dream of a new future by providing role models, improve confidence through coaching and mentoring, and foster an inclusive corporate culture to accept failures,” she said. “All women have unique contributions to make and should be encouraged to succeed.”