Alberto Raich - Diversity Champion in Kellogg Latin America
Alberto Raich knows what it’s like to be an outsider. The Vice President and GM Categories, Marketing, Innovation for Latin America, and long-time Kellogg employee, grew up in Colombia. He also attended school in the U.S., served in the military, stationed in the Middle East, and has worked all over Central and South America.
“At some point in time, I was the one on the outside, I was the one that needed to be included,” said Alberto, who is currently supporting a variety of diversity initiatives. “That’s why I value diversity and inclusion so much.”
His top priority on diversity is gender balance, and his team is working to hire more women into leadership positions. “We have started to aggressively populate those positions not only to deliver against diversity goals, but to also build role models,” he explained.
Geographical diversity is his second priority. Kellogg is trying to better match the representation of nationalities within the company with the wider market, for example by developing more employees from Brazil, one of the region’s biggest markets, into leadership positions.
Supporting the next generation is his third priority on diversity, and he has been an active ally of the Young Professionals Business/Employee Resource Group. “They have a very different perspective on career paths,” he said of millennial employees. They also have a lot to offer – “they are digital natives and are teaching us a lot about how we approach business moving forward,” he added.
Alberto says there is one last frontier to conquer on diversity in Latin America: classism. “I think many of us are still caught up on the socioeconomic level,” he said. Alberto is hoping to push this issue forward in the next year and find ways to bring more people from disadvantaged backgrounds and lesser-known colleges into the company.
In the end, the importance of diversity is directly tied to Kellogg’s long-term Deploy for Growth strategy. “With a diverse team, we can drive better innovation, better business models and a stronger social footprint where we are. We can’t achieve that if everyone takes a cookie cutter approach,” he said.
Tanya D. – Diversity Champion in Kellogg North America
Tanya D., who is of Indian descent and was raised in Dubai in United Arab Emirates, says she knew immediately that Kellogg’s culture and values emphasizing diversity made the company a perfect match for her.
“Growing up I was exposed to so many people of different backgrounds. That’s why I consider Kellogg home, it fit very well with my background and passion for diversity and inclusion,” said the Supply Chain Quality Manager.
After joining the company five years ago, she immediately became involved with Kellogg’s diversity efforts through Business/Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) and D&I Councils, serving as the lead for the Research, Quality, Nutrition and Technology (RQNT) D&I Council until 2017.
As part of that role, she helped bring national recognition to the RQNT D&I Council’s work instilling a high-performing team culture that embraces diversity. Out of 1,300 applicants, the Council was one of 25 chosen for the 2017 ERG & Council Honors Award given annually by the Association of ERGs and Councils. Applying for the first time, Kellogg’s placed 20th out of the country’s top 25 ERGs and D&I Councils, the only food manufacturing company to do so in 2017.
“It was a huge moment of pride,” said Tanya. “It was the first time we applied and it was not only a great way to benchmark our work not only within Kellogg, but also alongside leading companies. We knew we were doing great work but it was nice to also get external recognition.”
As part of the award, Kellogg’s RQNT D&I Council was recognized for its outstanding work on D&I training forums and workshops, as well as strong leadership commitment to diversity.
While Tanya has finished her two-year leadership term in in RQNT D&I Council, she currently remains an active member of KMERG (our multicultural focused B/ERG), and says she is always looking for more opportunities to strengthen the culture of diversity within Kellogg.
“I’m hoping to engage in more D&I efforts in Supply Chain,” she said. “We do great work at Kellogg, I’m proud of that, we just need to continue to spread the values of diversity and inclusion and leverage it for better collaboration, productivity and performance.”
Lesley Salmon - Diversity Champion in Kellogg Europe
As Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Kellogg Europe, Lesley Salmon is among a rare, but growing group of female corporate business leaders. Just 20 percent of CIOs in Fortune 500 companies are women, up from 15 percent last year.
“Throughout my career I had been a gender minority and faced the common challenges of being different,” said Lesley. She experienced many of the pitfalls of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, including harassment and being judged by the double standards set for women in the workplace.
“Had I not been so fortunate to have the family support that I did, I may have given up on my journey,” she explained. Once she joined Kellogg, she said she really began to think about the impact of diversity and inclusion for the first time. Now, as an active member of Women of Kellogg (WOK) and a sponsor of the newly-formed European Diversity & Inclusion Council, Lesley calls herself “an all-around evangelist for D&I in my everyday life.”
She believes that diversity and inclusion can drive a range of powerful benefits. According to one study, companies that actively encourage diversity are 20-30% more profitable, and a more inclusive workforce is able to better understand customer desires. She also points to the morale-boosting benefits of diversity: “From my personal experience, I can honestly say the happiest teams I have had the pleasure of working with were also the most diverse.”
Moving forward, Lesley says leaders within Kellogg should be proactive and ambitious about diversity targets in order to push the company forward. “If you aren’t consciously inclusive, you are at risk of being exclusive,” she said. “So having D&I front of mind is one of our biggest opportunities.”
The European D&I Council is hoping to take advantage of that opportunity and is in the process of setting new goals for the region. For Lesley, the stakes are both professional and personal. “As a mum, I want to make the future a more diverse and inclusive place for the next generation.”
Gerald Mahinda – Diversity Champion in Kellogg Asia Pacific
Gerald Mahinda, Managing Director of Kellogg Sub-Saharan Africa, sees diversity and inclusion as an important growth driver. “It puts us in a better position to understand and meet the needs of our diverse consumer and employee base – after all, women are our primary purchase and consumption decision makers,” he explained.
But, for Gerald, the power of diversity in the workplace goes beyond just competitive advantage. “In Africa, we say when you empower a woman, you empower a nation,” Gerald said. After working in several countries across the continent, he says he has seen the benefits of a more inclusive workplace firsthand. “For me, it’s not a theory,” he explained. “Diversity generates better strategies, better risk management, better debates, and thus better outcomes overall.”
As Kellogg grows across Africa, Gerald says his team is focused on making the company a better place for women to work. This includes supporting flexible work policies and career advancement opportunities, and building a network of female role models for new entrants to the company. He is also advocating for unconscious bias programs to help enable people to better deliver on the D&I agenda.
Across the region, Kellogg has made a deliberate effort to develop women for leadership roles, which has resulted in the first-ever woman to run the Springs Plant in South Africa. Female representation is growing in entry-level positions too – 80 percent of this year’s graduate intern class are women.
While the progress on D&I is promising, Gerald says there is still room to grow. “The biggest challenge is helping people across all ranks of the business understand the benefits of D&I and the reasons why we need to have a diverse workplace in Africa.”
Despite these challenges, Gerald remains committed to maintaining a proactive role in D&I and creating an enabling environment for women to grow their careers within Kellogg. “It takes real commitment to make D&I work so, as head of the business, you need to drive it,” he said. “The most effective way to overcome our challenges is to talk about D&I at every opportunity and most importantly, to walk the walk. We don’t always get it right, but we are on the right track and there is commitment to achieve even more” he added.