The focus of McCormick’s annual Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Townhall in May 2023 was “Creating Inclusion through Action,” and it provided our employees with insights into key DE&I initiatives across the organization, celebrated our progress in the DE&I space, and acknowledged that the work must continue.
“We’ve accomplished a lot, but this work is not just about checking the box, or winning awards, or completing training programs,” said Nereida (Neddy) Perez, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “It is about the culture we are building. It’s about creating a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.”
The theme was brought to life with a keynote address by John Quiñones, ABC News veteran, as well as creator and host of the show What Would You Do? John started his address by noting that empathy – just like hatred – is taught at an early age, and as a journalist, he considers it his duty to “give a voice to the voiceless.” Through the years working on the show, John has witnessed people behaving kindly and courageously in the face of racism and discrimination, and he shared moving examples of empathy with McCormick.
John concluded his address by sharing his hope that the program, which has just been renewed for a 17th season, will continue to inspire people to stand up for what’s right, even when it’s difficult – to go from knowing what is right, to doing what is right.
How McCormick is Driving Change
Our 2025 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) goals are to have 50% of leadership positions globally held by women and 30% of leadership positions in the US held by ethnically diverse talent (EDT). To date, we have made progress with representation currently at 44% for women globally and 25% for EDT in the U.S. Our approach is multipronged, including leadership development opportunities such as the Ignite leadership programs, sponsorship initiatives, and a broad range of Employee Ambassador Groups (EAGs). While goals are important, our ultimate aim is for every McCormick employee to feel valued, respected, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Neddy sees first-hand the passion and enthusiasm that McCormick employees have to not only nurture a sense of community, but also help to drive cultural change. “When individuals have the opportunity to come together, learn from each other, share experiences and provide support, anything is possible,” she said. “Our Employee Ambassador Groups (EAGs) provide the platform needed for employees to come together regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender or gender orientation with opportunities to build cultural awareness and business leadership skills in a safe and fun manner as they drive organizational change focused on the workforce, work environment and marketplace.” For example, the Women’s International Network (WIN) has multiple chapters globally and organizes events geared towards career development, women’s issues in the workplace and peer-to-peer mentoring.
In 2022, WIN launched its newest chapter in the Asia Pacific Zone (APZ) region, and the team in India began by organizing an event entitled “Mind and Body Recharge” to help improve workplace productivity across three locations, and a women’s health awareness session during which a local doctor spoke about risk factors, symptoms, screening, and prevention.
“Our EAGs are very active within their local communities,” explained Neddy. In the US, the Asian Diversity Group’s (ADG) mission is to attract, develop, and leverage Asian talent to further business goals and create a competitive advantage for McCormick. They have been working with ASCEND, the largest non-profit of Pan-Asian business professionals in North America, to form an alliance with over 20 corporations in the Baltimore area. This has included hosting workshops and sharing best practices in supporting the local community and raising awareness about how to partner with Asian professionals.
Leadership development programs specifically designed to empower women and EDT have also been successful. “Since its inception in 2017, nearly 40 percent of the women who participated in the Global Ignite women’s program have been either promoted or moved into positions with expanded responsibilities,” said Neddy. The initiative is focused on the development of high-performing female talent and helps advance them to mid and senior level positions as leaders within the company, with the intention to contribute more to the long-term growth of the business. The success of Global Ignite led to a similar program (US Ignite) being launched in 2018 to focus on EDT.
“These programs go beyond career skills building,” explained Neddy, “We’re aware of the unique challenges that each group may face in addressing corporate culture and as they advance organizationally.”
McCormick’s executive leadership team has remained committed in its support of these initiatives and the opportunity for achieving the 2025 goals. “We are committed internally and externally to attracting, developing and retaining top, diverse talent globally,” said Neddy. “The strongest future for McCormick is one in which leaders with diverse experiences, outlooks and thinking come together to drive innovation, ensure inclusivity and practice Purpose-led Performance.”