3 more insights from our DE&I panel

We recently shared four takeaways from a webinar featuring DE&I executives from across the Fortune 500. It was a rich discussion of ideas and best practices for making progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, so we wanted to share a few more insights. 

The discussion was moderated by Johnny Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of SHRM, and panelists included:

  • Carlos Cubia, Senior VP and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • Deb Sinta, VP of Talent, Inclusion, and Culture at Tyson Foods
  • Dr. Johné Battle, VP of Diversity and Inclusion at Dollar General
  • Marissa Andrada, Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and People Officer at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Read on for three key insights from the discussion, or listen to the recording to hear the full conversation and share it with your team.


Education is the key to internal mobility.

As Carlos Cubia put it, “Education is the basic foundation for success and upward mobility.” For Walgreens in particular, education also supports key business objectives, such as training pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines. Promoting internal mobility helps create a nimble workforce that can adapt to shifting market demands.

Marissa Andrada of Chipotle also acknowledged that while most of their employees join as a side hustle, many end up staying because the company prioritizes education. She noted that 70% of restaurant GMs start from the crew, and that of those who participate in their education benefits program with Guild, 85% are crew members. Program participants are also 3.5x more likely to retain and 7.5 x more likely to be promoted into management. 


To drive real change, investment in DE&I should start at the top and have full leadership buy-in.

As Dr. Battle put it: “I have the privilege to sit in the seat of accountability.” DE&I leaders are becoming more central to organizational leadership at large, but as he described Dollar General’s philosophy, he noted that “It’s not I will lead DE&I, it’s we. Leadership shares responsibility, risk, and reward.” 

It’s no surprise that initiatives are more successful when they have full leadership and board buy-in. Having an initiative start with the CEO makes it more likely to succeed as it trickles down to the critical middle management layers. Dr. Battle also commented that the true north star is having DE&I as part of your operating plan. 


What your company does to foster DE&I matters to consumers.

Marissa Andrada stated it boldly—the DE&I movement is real. Employees, consumers, and the public at large are looking to businesses to drive change for DE&I. The panelists acknowledged the killing of George Floyd as the catalyst for change. Now more than ever, consumers expect companies to invest in new initiatives and rethink processes to further promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For Chipotle, their values dictate that: “Authenticity lives here. Our food is real and so are we.” As Marissa explained, customers need to know they’re eating real food and they need to know that Chipotle is committed to sustainability and quality in all aspects of their business. It’s a key part of their brand—both employees and guests count on it. 

Deb Sinta also commented that “consumers have a million choices as to what they buy and what they eat and it’s only getting more competitive. So for us being able to have transparency around what we do and how we do it is really critical—being able to include equity, inclusion, and diversity, and to have that as a value proposition.” For Tyson, that transparency led to an improved rating on the Corporate Equity Index. 

To hear the full conversation, listen to the webinar recording.

Written by Guild Education

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