25 January, 2020

Diageo Australia celebrates its inaugural INC. Week

Diageo Australia celebrates its inaugural INC. Week

Diageo Australia is celebrating it's first-ever INC. Week, recognising and appreciating the diversity of its people and raising awareness of how it can ensure a truly inclusive workplace and culture.

"At Diageo, we view inclusion as key to our business," said Francine Boyes, HRBP at Diageo and a diversity&inclusion@drinks Councillor.

"Our values, purpose and standards set the conditions for us to respect the unique contribution each person brings. At Diageo we know we cannot succeed without the skills, talents and capabilities of our people. By creating a truly inclusive environment that recognises diversity of thought, feelings and actions, we can allow our people to unleash the power of being 100 per cent themselves, to enable them to bring to life Diageo’s purpose of celebrating life, every day, everywhere, and contribute to our high performance culture."

INC. Week kicked off in a rainbow of fun on March 1, when Diageo celebrated Mardi Gras weekend with a Smirnoff-sponsored Glam Tram drinks trolley in its Sydney head office followed by Glam Bingo held in its famous HarBar. It was a time for celebration - Mardi Gras was marking its 40th anniversary and it was the first parade held since marriage equality finally became law.

The team also heard about the journeys of some of our LGBTQ friends. While South Australia was the first state to decriminalise being gay in 1975, it’s hard to believe that in Australia, it was still illegal to be gay in some parts of the country until 1997 (think about that for a minute… 1997).

One of the hosts, Carmen Getit, summed up the feeling in the room when she said: “There have been so many things we’ve fought for… the fact that you weren’t allowed to love the person you love without it being illegal… and now you can because of people like you. Equality happens when people like you stand up as allies and say that it’s the right thing to do.”

"I’m proud to say that Diageo Australia was one of 846 corporations that publically supported marriage equality, one way that we brought to life our purpose of celebrating life, every day, everywhere," added Boyes. "We also donated advertising space to the Marriage Equality movement and we joyously celebrated when the majority 'Yes' votes meant our laws finally caught up to society and redressed the Marriage Act 1961  to allow same-sex couples to marry last December.

"On Monday we announced the formation of our Inclusion Action group, and committed to the next chapter in our inclusion journey. We welcomed a panel to engage with our employees and discuss how inclusivity is key to business success and is also the fundamental unlock on diversity progress.

"We wanted to understand how inclusivity plays a role in the future of our organisation and our industry, ensuring that our business today is ready for the future of tomorrow."

Bianca Havas, Senior Consultant & Facilitator at Serendis, which has partnered with Women in Drinks to create a drinks industry Mentoring Program, joined two senior leaders at Diageo to share some powerful stories and insights.

"It was great to feel the energy and commitment to build and celebrate our diversity and inclusion agenda," Boyes noted. "The insights that Bianca gave and the depth of her experience in helping businesses on their inclusion journeys was impressive and inspiring. The stories of support and struggle from our panel members left the audience with many 'A-HA' moments, and it provoked much discussion among colleagues of how we all individually encourage and challenge each other to ensure everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work."

As Diageo builds towards International Women’s Day tomorrow, and its hashtage of #PressForProgress, the company has installed an inclusion pledge wall for employees to publically declare their commitment to a diverse and inclusive Diageo.

"We’ll also share videos of inspiring Diageo women from across the world and how they #PressForProgress," Boyes explained. "Many of us will attend the Women in Drinks International Women’s Day event and we can’t wait to hear Turia Pitt’s personal story of adversity, resilience and achievement. It promises to be another inspiring day as we all collectively press for an equitable future. It’s about progression. It’s about taking our next step in the quest for equality for all."