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Cargill Inc.

10/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/21/2021 07:49

‘Making the most of our differences:’ Meet Cargill’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leader

'Making the most of our differences:' Meet Cargill's new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leader

October 20, 2021

When Cargill deepened its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy in January, we already knew the importance of turning words into actions. Programs needed launching. Barriers needed lifting. Goals needed hitting.

Much of this hard work is underway - as you may have seen in our recent announcements - and now we're taking one more important next step.

Meet our new chief DEI officer

Greg Jones embodies diversity. He's a Navy veteran. He has degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford and Tuskegee universities. His career has taken him from academia to airlines, healthcare to financial services.

And now he's joining Cargill as our Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.

"Throughout the interview process, Greg impressed us as a leader who cares deeply about ensuring that every individual has the opportunity to realize their potential and use their unique perspective to help organizations succeed," says Cargill's Chief Human Resources Officer Myriam Beatove.

It takes a (really big) village

Individual opportunity requires company-wide change. Cargill's DEI team, under the leadership of Demetha Sanders, has built a strong foundation with global and regional prioritization, leadership training and accountability, and new processes around hiring, promotion and succession.

Now, Greg will work our businesses and functions to unify our actions, investments and processes in a way that accelerates progress on our DEI goals, Myriam says. These include achieving gender parity, advancing underrepresented groups globally and addressing anti-Black racism.

Familiar territory

Although new to the company, some of Greg's work will feel familiar. His first alma mater, Tuskegee University, is one of the Historically Black College & Universities in the Cargill University Thrive program - a $6 million initiative aiming to make college and career access more equitable.

The former Marquette University adjunct professor has had an ongoing relationship with academia, both as a distinguished visiting professor at Johnson and Wales University and as a board member for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Greg also spent several years in the financial services industry, holding HR and diversity leadership positions at Bank of America, UBS and most recently Key Bank. One of Cargill's more recent DEI actions is a $10 million deposit in Sunrise Bank's Impact Deposit Fund, a program that increases access to loans for women and U.S. minority-owned small businesses and non-profits.

Purpose and performance

The mix of purpose and performance that has defined Greg's career will be at the heart of how he leads our DEI strategy, observes Myriam. "He will bring first-hand knowledge about the competitive necessity of having a workforce that reflects the diverse perspectives of customers and consumers."

"If, as a manager, you are engaging only 80% of your team or 80% of an individual, imagine the lost potential," Greg says. "Our DEI strategy will help us create a culture in which we not only understand differences but make the most of them for the benefit of Cargill, our teams and our employees."

Inclusion within and beyond our walls

This extends to our partners too. The DEI team will continue to support previously launched programs like the Black Farmer Equity Initiative, and new initiatives, such as the Centers of Excellence Certificate Program for minority-owned businesses.

Announced Sept. 16, this partnership with the National Minority Supplier Development council will help participating businesses grow and compete through skill-sharing, coaching and partnership opportunities. "Supplier development is an integral part of what we do," says Todd Stohlmeyer, Cargill's procurement and transportation leader, "and we want to ensure we are supporting minority and women-owned businesses and equipping them with tools for success and growth."

Up for the challenge

Thanks to the team's extensive work to date, Cargill's DEI strategy is starting to pay off. In fiscal 2021, we grew the percentage of women in leadership by more than in any other year. U.S. minority representation in leadership also improved. Still, we need to move yet faster if we're to achieve gender parity by 2050 and meet our vision on representative leadership.

Fortunately, Greg comes with proven credentials. "He's spent his whole career developing strategies, practices and teams that can drive real change," notes Myriam.

The outside world has noticed too. Two of Greg's previous organizations, Key Bank and United Airlines, were listed on Diversity Inc's 2021 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. We look forward to seeing what he'll achieve with Cargill.