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NEW investing in inclusion to drive change

Friday, July 31, 2015  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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NEW Inclusion Chair Ken Charles of General Mills delivered "Creating a Collective Voice"
at the NEW Executive Leaders Forum on July 30, 2015.

Network of Executive Women Inclusion Chair Ken Charles urged industry leaders to help build an inclusive society by changing themselves, their organizations and their communities during an address at the NEW Executive Leaders Forum, July 30 outside Los Angeles.

Charles, vice president for global inclusion and staffing at General Mills, said, "We are all a product of our experiences and we don’t know it all. The only way to get better is to educate ourselves — expose ourselves, ask questions, get outside our community.”

Charles urged NEW Forum attendees to support and model the Network's diversity and inclusion efforts. "Industry leaders have an opportunity to consider how we show up in our workplaces and how we can benefit everyone," he said.

While Charles aspires to be inclusive of other people, his children already accept others as they are. "Inclusion is how they act and move through the world," he said. "Think of our own families and children, the kid next door, nieces and nephews — What are we doing to help them understand this is an inclusive world? What tools are we giving them to navigate it?"

At work, invest in your team and create a safe space where everyone can do their best, he urged industry leaders. "A great manager has to be a great manager to all," he said. "When you invest, value and give people stretch assignments, they will do tremendous things."

Invest in your community, too, Charles advised. "Think about your portfolio [of giving]. If you think about the change you personally want to make in your community, where are you placing your bets? Let the change begin within each and every one of us."

Charles also shared the Network’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive NEW with the 10-20-30 plan. The initiative calls for NEW membership to be at least 10 percent male, 20 percent early career professionals and 30 percent multicultural.

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