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Life at McCormick November 20, 2019

Employee Ambassador Group Spotlight: Women’s International Network (WIN)



The Women’s International Network (WIN) Employee Ambassador Group (EAG) is dedicated to the professional growth and achievement of women at McCormick and in the community. And it’s safe to say their efforts have paid off.

For the third year in a row, McCormick was recognized on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 list of Companies for Diversity, placing 8th for Top Companies for Executive Women, an award that is closely aligned with WIN’s vision to create a global community of women at McCormick who inspire and support one another in realizing their aspirations."

The six WIN chapters around the world are continuing to advocate for women’s causes and change the landscape in which we work and live. Below, see how each WIN chapter is making a difference.

1. WIN US. Founded in 2011, the WIN US chapter was the first-ever EAG at McCormick. WIN was formed as a safe space for coaching and mentoring, to give employees a way to network and create career connections. Since inception, the WIN US leadership team has organized or sponsored events geared towards career development, women’s issues in the workplace and community service (and they’re hoping to launch groups for new mothers and new employees in the near future).

2. WIN South Africa. McCormick’s South Africa office launched WIN SA in 2019. With 93 total members, the WIN SA chapter is comprised of 49 percent males and 51 percent females (and 74 percent of the total business). “WIN SA Chapter does not only cater to women,” says Ursula Kgomo, senior product developer and communication co-chair for WIN SA. “We pride ourselves with the fact that we have opened our membership to males as well, which we believe makes our gender-based conversations much easier due to our inclusive nature.”

This year, the WIN SA team executed the “Dignified Dreams” project. Millions of girls and young women around the world lack adequate access to sanitary products, which leads them to miss school during menstruation. Inspired by the challenge, Cassior Mahlatjie and Pearl Mnisi, both quality assurance technologists, Siphokazi Huza, specifications and certification analyst, and Sinah Seloane, sanitation group leader, decided to take direct action in their local community. Within weeks, sanitary pad collection points were created at our McCormick site in Johannesburg, competitions to encourage participation were organized, and compelling communication was created to promote the Dignified Dreams program. The program collected more than 1,000 items, some of them donations from UK employees who heard about the initiative online. Now 138 girls at Semonate Combined School in Mpumalanga province have benefited from two waves of deliveries, with more set to follow.

3. WIN Poland. Part of the WIN Poland team strategy is to break down the “We can’t talk about this at work!” stereotype with events and workshops geared towards women’s professional development and empowerment. “We are encouraging all women to go out from their comfort zone and to be more visible,” says Elzbieta Kowalska, global ARIBA senior manager and co-chair of WIN Poland. “It works, we have noticed several big changes in women behavior.”

Since their beginnings in November 2018, WIN Poland has put together numerous events for the men and woman in the Łódź and Stefanowo offices. The WIN team had a party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Polish women obtaining the right to vote as well as a workshop that dove into the role men play in women’s lives, including talks about how to maintain equality in relationships, parenting and finances.

Most recently, the WIN Poland leadership team hosted “WIN with Cancer,” an initiative for cancer prevention and healthy living. Throughout the month of October, employees could hear stories from cancer survivors, participate in nutrition seminars and learn about genetic testing.

4. WIN China. WIN China aims to inspire female employees to develop professional skills and unleash their potential, and they have brought this goal to life through various group activities and quarterly workshops.

Mary Wang, senior manager of international trade and compliance for APZ and China and co-chair of WIN China, says the group has participated in health-focused outings like hiking, confidence-boosting events like professional portrait photography, and workshops to promote work-life balance. The group also partners with HR for charitable work around children’s education and environmental protection. 

“If WIN members come forward and want to know more about a certain topic, WIN won’t shy away from it,” says Jen McMillion, global learning & development manager and co-vice chair of WIN US. “We’ll work as advocates to get senior leaders in a room and have an open conversation about that topic.”

In 2019, the WIN US leadership team also implemented mentoring circles—a peer-to-peer group mentoring program that enables employees to work with colleagues within McCormick to further their development and build a cross-functional network. Participants made progress on more than 50 development goals, and 96 percent of members want to continue the program in 2020.

5. WIN France. Four years ago, the McCormick France employees recognized the need for change. Gautier Villiaume, commercial controller and WIN co-chair, says that creating WIN France was to create discussions around gender D&I, help women grow and to make men aware of their active role. “In a nutshell, it has made employees aware that gender D&I is a key driver to achieve better teams and better business results,” says Gautier. It’s a ‘must-have’ and not a ‘nice-to-have.’

Outside of the office, WIN France is promoting equality and female empowerment through an external organization called Capital Filles. Twelve McCormick student-coaches and three coordinators have provided invaluable support and guidance for students at Frederic Mistral School in the city of Avignon. The initiative is led by Eva Barlet-Narich, marketing manager and WIN France vice chair, who says the group is excited to continue the program next year. “We identified this program as a way to positively fight stereotypes and prejudices in the local community, she says. We are determined to contribute to equal opportunities for all and believe that over time this will have a positive impact on McCormick too.

WIN France was also recently recognized for their efforts with the Gender Balance accolade at the LSA Magazine ‘Retailers Commit’ Awards. LSA is the leading food manufacturing and retail trade publication in France, and the recognition has been a key enabler in employer branding, engagement with our employees, attraction with our candidates, and as a competitive advantage with our customers.

6. WIN UK. WIN UK launched in 2016 as a way for employees to engage in a more inclusive environment by breaking down barriers, encouraging self-belief, and raising awareness of unconscious bias.“The WIN strategy is summarized in three pillars that are aligned to the McCormick strategy of delivering Performance and People,” says Amelia Grimes, QA manager and co-marketing chair for WIN UK. “The three pillars are ‘Champions of Change,’ ‘Breaking Through Your Barriers,’ and ‘Win or Lose.’ Our main goal is to encourage an inclusive and progressive culture, that allows everyone to be heard and to flourish, providing a more engaging environment for all.”

The WIN UK events have included a personal elevator pitch session, growth mindset workshop, monthly inspiration sessions, and hosting International Women's Day. Most recently, WIN UK introduced Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) to the organization as a way to increase men’s engagement in workplace inclusion. The MARC team is led and supported by a member of the WIN leadership team who facilitates regular sessions; educating on how everybody can make a change, addressing unconscious biases, understanding the power of words, and leveraging perceptions.


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