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Catalyst honors NEW sponsors Coca-Cola and Unilever

Friday, January 25, 2013  
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Network of Executive Women sponsors The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever have been awarded the 2013 Catalyst Award, which honors exceptional initiatives that expand opportunities for women and business.

The Coca-Cola Company was recognized by Catalyst for its Global Women’s Initiative: Women as the Real Drivers of the 21st Century, which fuels the advancement of women into leadership roles across the company’s organization and focuses on economically empowering women entrepreneurs throughout the value chain.

Initiated and driven by CEO Muhtar Kent — keynote speaker at this year's NEW Executive Leaders Forum — Coca-Cola’s initiative enjoys strong senior leadership support globally, based on a robust business rationale that women make more than 70 percent of consumer purchasing decisions on Coca-Cola’s products worldwide. It is overseen by a global Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) and regional sub-councils that customize the initiative to meet local needs. The WLC, composed of 17 senior women leaders across many geographies and functions, advises the CEO and senior leaders on strategies and initiatives for the development and advancement of women for senior leadership positions.

Internally, The Coca-Cola Company prioritizes the recruitment, development, advancement and retention of women, with the goal of achieving gender parity at all levels by 2020. Goals are met through aggressive recruitment of senior women from outside the company and through internal talent processes. Externally, 5by20 is Coca-Cola’s global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020.

Unilever leverages diversity

Unilever is being recognized for its Global Reach with Local Roots: Creating a Gender-Balanced Workforce in Different Cultural Contexts initiative, which accelerates the advancement of high-potential women by leveraging the company’s strong foundation of cultural diversity and multinational expertise to promote a culture of inclusion. The initiative creates flexible "anytime, anywhere” work-life programs around the world.

In 2009, CEO Paul Polman recognized that increasing gender diversity would help the business thrive and set an ambitious goal of achieving gender parity at all management levels. Unilever implemented a number of focused efforts, including the Global Diversity Board chaired by Polman and gender balance accountability for Unilever executives. Gender diversity was integrated into human resources processes, including talent management, career planning and leadership development. In addition, Unilever implemented a Global Mentoring Program, which targets high-potential women in different regions, and Agile Working, a comprehensive flexible work program that supports sustainability in different regions.

Alcoa Inc. also will receive the award for its Building Opportunities for Women in a "Hard Hat” Company initiative, which has broken barriers in a male-dominated industry and achieved greater gender representation through an aggressive diversity agenda.

"This year’s Catalyst Award-winning initiatives demonstrate that global gender diversity strategies at multinational corporations can be designed and implemented in ways that successfully meet the needs of local regions and businesses,” said Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst. "And they are all championed by male CEOs who understand the strong business case for including women in top leadership and have made women’s advancement an organization-wide priority.”

Since 1987, Catalyst has recognized exceptional business initiatives that advance women in the workplace with the Catalyst Award, which embodies Catalyst’s vision of "Changing workplaces, changing lives.” The honored companies will present in-depth discussions on their initiatives at the 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York on March 19, 2013.

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