LEAD Network UK Chapter Event
Tuesday 6th August 2019
15.30-19.00 GMT, London
Location: EY, 1 More London Riverside, London 

LEAD UK Chapter Networking Event

Shaping the Future of Diversity in Consumer Products


In early August, EY and Kraft Heinz teamed up to host the UK Chapter’s second event of the year in London. The event brought together well over 100 guests from more than 40 retail and consumer goods companies together. On the agenda, guests got the opportunity to see what the future looks like for diversity, listen to a case study on the future of branding and discuss how to promote diversity within companies tangibly. 

The new UK Chapter LEAD Network Chair, Clare Walker, and Ian Mumby, Vice-Chair, kicked off the event with introducing themselves and bringing the latest updates from the LEAD Network.

The first speaker of the event was Andrew Cosgrove, Global Consumer Industries Knowledge Leader & Lead Analyst at EY, who asked: “What does the future mean for your company and diversity?”. Almost every consumer-facing company is changing in response to shifting consumer behaviours; however, many companies are playing-not-to-lose. Andrew shared EY’s recent research on FutureConsumer.Now and argued that the industry needs to embrace greater diversity if it is to truly transform into what the consumer needs them to become.

Following a short break, Olivia Hibbert, Director of Brand Building Northern Europe at Kraft Heinz; took to the stage and presented a case study. The topic was “Branding of the future: How consumers have changed the way they engage with brands?”. She shared how Kraft Heinz have been using earned media to drive headlines and talkability amongst the nation. Examples included how Heinz Tomato Ketchup has been partnering with its biggest fan, Ed Sheeran, and teaming up with Cadbury’s to create products like Heinz Seriously Good Crème Egg Mayonnaise. Beyond the core content, her message to the audience was around encouraging diversity in creative thinking; being brave and embracing a culture of trying things out to drive results and inspire teams. 

The final segment was a panel discussion around “Practical things companies can do to embrace the future”. On the panel was Allison Corry, EMEA Talent at Kraft Heinz; Sally Bucknell, Director of Diversity & Inclusiveness at EY; Sarah Holton, Group Head of Talent & Leadership Development at Reckitt Benckiser and the panel and was chaired by Elaine Parr, Partner and the LEAD Network Champion. Undaunted by these talent professionals, Elaine and the audience posed questions which included.

  • Given all the disruption we see, showcased by FutureConsumer.Now today, how does your business think about what Talent will be needed tomorrow, and how does that differ from the Talent of the past?
  • What diversity targets do you have as a business. What have you learned to move forward, and what changes have you made to deliver those targets?
  • How do you convince (white straight) men that inclusion and gender equality is not a zero-sum game? How do you get them involved and make them champions?

A particularly interesting debate point was the value of traditional meritocracy-based advancement, summed up by Sally: “I don’t buy meritocracy. If meritocracy worked, we wouldn’t have the business make-up we have today. Something else is going on. The merits in meritocracies are designed and valued by those in power, and largely reflect their own style and strengths. Most organisations are designed by men, who continue to hold the power,” which prompted a lot of discussion at the post-event drinks late into the evening.

The event concluded with drinks and bespoke Kraft Heinz canapes overlooking the Thames as well as an offering of Kraft Heinz goodie bags featuring products from the case study.