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Diversity is personal, says Southern California panel

Thursday, October 13, 2011  
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Five diverse cpg/retail leaders discussed the personal and professional importance of diversity and inclusion at the Network of Executive Women Southern California fall event, October 12, 2011, at the Museum of Latin American Arts in Long Beach.

Oscar Gonzalez, co-president and chief operating officer of Northgate Gonzalez Markets; Bob Lim, vice president, west area sales for Kraft Foods; Subriana Pierce, senior vice president, sales and merchandising of Albertsons; and Jocelyn Wong, group vice president, shopper marketing of Safeway, spoke to a record crowd of nearly 350 industry members at the event. The panel was moderated by Marie Quintana, senior vice president, multicultural sales for PepsiCo.

Quintana introduced the multicultural panel saying, "Diversity is what we have in common.”

Wong told the group diversity was important to her personally and for her children, adding, "We need diversity to sell products.”

Pierce said she didn’t get involved in diversity, "diversity got involved with me.” The retail executive encountered racism after her recent move to Southern California, when someone in her neighborhood sent a letter to her neighbors "warning” them that an African-American family was moving in. Business, she added, needs to move past diversity – just hiring a diverse workforce – to inclusion, integrating diversity into leadership and decision making.

Lim, a second-generation Chinese-American, shared how his father had to acculturate to succeed; there weren’t any other options. Today, Lim celebrates his cultural heritage and is actively involved in groups like the Organization of Chinese Americans.

"Diversity is about so much more than the color of skin,” Wong said. "It’s more about style and thinking.”

"We are all diverse,” Quintana added. "How can we work together to change the consumer products and retail industry?”

NEW Southern California Co-Chair Sue Klug, president of the Southern California division of SUPERVALU, emceed the event and received the 2011 Bobbie O’Hare Award on stage from Bobbie O’Hare. The award, also presented at the NEW Leadership Summit in Orlando, recognizes the "best of the best" committee member, chosen from all regional winners, for outstanding service to the Network.

Among the companies represented at the event were Albertsons, Brown-Forman, Catalina, The Coca-Cola Co., Kraft Foods, The Kroger Co., Smart & Final Stores, PepsiCo, Southern Wine & Spirits and Unified Grocers.

Bob Lim of Kraft Foods (left), Subriana Pierce of Albertsons, Jocelyn Wong of Safeway, moderator Marie Quintana of PepsiCo and Oscar Gonzalez of Northgate Gonzalez Markets addressed a record crowd of more than 350 area executives, Oct. 12 in Long Beach, Calif.

Bobbie O’Hare of JOH (left) presented the Bobbie O’Hare regional service award to outgoing NEW Southern California Co-Chair Sue Klug of SUPERVALU. Fellow Co-Chair JoAnn Murdock of Unified Grocers joins them (right).

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