“Forget work life balance. Nothing is ever perfectly balanced and if it feels like it is, it’s likely to tip over any second.” Sound advice from Syl Saller, Diageo’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer. She’s featured in the company’s series of short films celebrating the inspirational women who work across Diageo’s business as a global leader in beverage alcohol, part of the We Are Diageo series that the company produces to celebrate its people worldwide.
Aligned with its corporate tagline, “Celebrating Life, Every Day, Everywhere,” Diageo is promoting the series on its inspirational women this International Women’s Day with the hashtag #PressForProgress. It’s also encouraging people—and women, in particular, to achieve their career goals at Diageo.
And, garnering headlines worldwide, it’s replacing Johnnie Walker with “Jane” in a bold limited edition U.S. campaign for one of its iconic global brands this International Women’s Day.
Just ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, Diageo North America was named one of the 2018 “Top 60 Companies for Executive Women” by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), marking its seventh year on the list. It was also included in the 2018 Bloomberg Equality Index for being inclusive and progressive.
“At Diageo, we are passionate about cultivating an inclusive workforce, of which gender equality plays an enormous part,” says Alessandra Ginante, EVP, Human Resources, Diageo North America. “We are proud that women make up a third of our North America Executive Committee, and more than a quarter of our senior leadership team.”
In another IWD nod, Diageo hired photographer Nicolee Drake to capture the stories of Master Blender Lorena Vásquez and the community of Guatemalan women weaving their way to empowerment by crafting intricate petate bands that adorn every bottle of Zacapa 23.
In addition to Syl Saller above, meet some of the inspiring women at Diageo in its International Women’s Day series of profiles below:
Louise Prashad, Diageo’s Global Talent and Organisation Effectiveness Director, recounts the lessons learned by watching her mother start a business and how her stay-at-home husband helps her achieve a successful work-life balance. “I love to hear my seven-year old son describe our roles. He sees Mum as the person who gets up every morning, goes to work and has a fulfilling job she loves. And he sees Dad as the person that is there for him every morning and afternoon when he goes to school and comes home from school and I think that’s reshaping his perspective on what’s possible.”
Eileen Hanna, Senior Brand Manager, shares the lessons learned from her family, including the mentorship of her older sister, and helping create the Equalizing Music platform for Smirnoff to further conversation on equality and diversity inside and outside Diageo. “The question isn’t why you should progress women. It’s a natural fact—women should be equal to men in an organisation.”
Gráinne Wafer, Baileys Global Brand Director, shares how she balances her work life with her family life and the lessons she’s learned along the way. “Very early on in my career a guy I was working for said: ‘The only thing stopping you going all the way to the top is the fact you want a family.’ And I looked him in the eye and I said: ‘well why would it stop me, it didn’t stop you?'”
Gillian McBride, Process Capability Team Leader, talks about growing up in Scotland more interested in doing what the boys were doing, including her father, by becoming an engineer. Now she’s also an LGBT leader at Diageo who’s helping champion change and normalize diversity.
Arlene Amitirigala, Diageo’s Head of Employee Engagement in Europe and the UK, talks about the gift of growing up in Jamaica with a confident mindset. “I automatically believed that all doors would be open for me—there was no barrier in place because of my gender.”
Menen Wondwosen, Head of Functional Effectiveness, talks about growing up Cuban American, the lessons she’s learned over the course of her career and what she would do if she could have any superpower in the world. The most powerful and important trait she values in the women role models she admires? “Persistence.”
Annmarie Phillips, Diageo’s On Trade Channel Director for the Republic of Ireland, grew up on a Scottish island with a big family of more than 70 cousins. “More and more men are understanding of what it’s like to be a working mum because they’re married to working mums. It would be wrong of us not to bring men into the conversation, they have to be a part of the solution.”
The groundbreaking Rebecca Weir is Diageo’s first female coppersmith apprentice, one of a team of apprentices who help make distilleries. Working in one of Scotland’s oldest copperworks, in Abercrombie, to produce whisky stills for around 27 of Diageo’s distilleries, Rebecca is learning the ropes from Alec Begg, Senior Charge Hand Coppersmith. Keeping tradition alive, she’s learning the artisanal craft of how to hand-beat copper sheets and weld them into whisky stills.
Follow Diageo’s IWD celebration on social media with the following hashtags: #PressforProgress #InternationalWomensDay