LEAD Newsletter Special Mondelez Interview International Women’s Day – March 2018


 How did your company celebrate International Women’s Day this year?

Across Mondelez International, we held a series of events to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018, creating space for colleagues to exchange and talk openly about diversity in the workplace. These efforts are building on a strong network of ongoing engagement and activities on the topic of Diversity & Inclusion led by passionate colleagues in markets and business units across the world.

In Europe, for instance, we kicked-off our European Diversity & Inclusion Council with our Executive Vice President and President Europe, Hubert Weber, together with senior leaders – both male and female – from our commercial business and support functions. Together with around 350 others from across the region, Mondelez Europe leaders discussed the value and benefits to the business of Diversity & Inclusion, as well as ways in which we can live our commitment to improving the representation of women in senior leadership in our business.

Other functions, also held events to bring together Mondelez colleagues as well as those working for our business partners such as Accenture or BCD. Virtual sessions were held in which some of the following topics were discussed:

  • Work, life balance
  • Career growth and blockers
  • Advice from leaders on behaviours
  • How to bridge the gender gap across different regions and functions
  • Staying motivated
  • What would you do differently in your career, knowing what you know now

Why is diversity & inclusion important within your company and what initiatives have you taken? 

Starting 2018, we’re rolling out unconscious bias training to all colleagues across the business. We’ve set a goal for all people managers and Mondelez International recruiters to complete the course this year, and we’re encouraging all colleagues to participate, also. The course helps to understand and identify unconscious bias and take action to correct bias where it exists.

We’re also rolling out a global flexible working policy adapted to local conditions. We already have flexible working in place in several of our markets and know it’s working well. We’re now in the process of laying out some general principles, so that all our office-based colleagues can benefit from this model.

How do you keep the momentum after International Women’s Day?

We want to make sure this is not a one-time event, rather that we keep diversity and inclusion top of mind. Our aim is to keep the conversation going and to instil a culture where we are thinking about this as part of our company strategy and goals. 

To keep the momentum going, we’ll be continuing to communicate post International Women’s Day; sharing feedback from the session, asking colleagues to tell us what they need more of and how we can work together to bridge the gaps.  We’ll be leveraging Yammer as a platform to communicate, raise questions, share experiences, post statistics and have leadership enforce goals to bridge our gender gap.

We’re also committed to running additional events throughout the year alongside our annual Mondelez International learning event “Growing Here Week” due to the level of positive feedback from this session and previous sessions on “Women in Leadership” we held in 2017. 

What advice would you have for other companies in the industry if they want to organize a similar event?

Our advice is to make sure you don’t just talk – you take action!  You cannot expect change if you do not take concrete actions.  Take the first step by starting the conversations and creating the space for these types of interactive sessions where colleagues feel they’re able to engage, ask questions and share their thoughts/experiences openly.  This is the first time we’ve run a global session with a large audience, we’ve usually run smaller learning groups – both work.  From our experience this is a “hot topic” and one our teams and colleagues appreciate taking time to think about what we can do collectively and individually to improve diversity and inclusion at MDLZ. 

We were able to engage and maximise participation for the session through strong and frequent communications, so our advice is to make your communications engaging, raise awareness of what’s happening and why this is important for the organisation.

Another key driver is Leadership, it’s critical for leadership to be advocates and believe in the message to help embed the right culture and behaviour within the organisation – for both men and women.  It’s also important that Leadership set clear goals and align and sponsor clear actions to drive diversity and inclusion.

Some quotes from our business leaders:

“At Mondelēz International, we’re accelerating our efforts to create an even more diverse and inclusive workplace, with a global focus on gender equality. Diversity & Inclusion has always been an important focus area for us in Europe, but now more than ever, we have a strong commitment to increase the representation of women in senior leadership roles. As a global company, we believe that a diverse and inclusive culture helps us build strong brands that are even more relevant to consumers. And this in turn helps us to grow our business. We are happy to support LEAD and its mission to advance women in the retail and consumer goods industry in Europe.”

Hubert Weber from Mondelez International 

“Many of the key learning roles during my career were in sales… and some of my mentors were male role models. Men and women, we all have a role to play in furthering female representation. And this is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with and develop deeper connections with our customers.”

Mary Barnard from Mondelez International 

“In the past women have felt they needed to work twice as hard and be maybe even be more masculine in their approach to business. I believe authenticity is key and hope that now, women don’t feel they have to work twice as hard to get the same result.”

Caroline Basyn from Mondelez International Business Services

“It can be difficult if you are a dual-career couple. You have to be committed to helping each other, you need a good support network and you need to be prepared to make difficult compromises. That being said it is absolutely possible and rewarding. Outsource what you can, give yourselves a break and get over the guilt! Be confident you’re doing the best thing for your future.”

Glen Caton from Mondelez International

“When I started my career, there were not as many women in the workplace. I struggled to find anyone, at work or in my personal life, who could relate to my situation or who I could ask for advice. Having forums and good support is so important.”

Shikha Jetley from Accenture

“Find your style, your way of working and deliver consistent results. Don’t play a role, be yourself and stay authentic – diversity of thinking and ways of working bring the creativity to a team. The most value you can add is by being yourself.”

Catherine Schwab-Wildi from Mondelez International Business Services

“The millennial workforce still faces barriers and stereotyping, but everything women have done before us has made a big difference. Millennial leaders have a role to play in setting a good example and mentoring both women and men.”

Jessica Riley from Mondelez International Business Services

Mondelez Europe’s Diversity & Inclusion Council with Sharon Jeske from LEAD