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News & Blogs: 5 Questions

5 Questions with Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale

Friday, January 06, 2012  
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Vice President
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Campbell Soup Company

"A lot of work is needed to ensure women continue to advance in our industry."

Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale leads Campbell Soup Company’s global diversity and inclusion efforts, partnering with leaders of global businesses, functions and supply chain to evolve the diversity and inclusion strategy around attraction, retention, training, development and engagement. She has more than 25 years of global diversity experience from the vantage points of corporate leader, consultant and author. She was named one of the "Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” by Savoy magazine, one of the "Top Executives In Diversity” by Black Enterprise magazine and one of the "100 Top Executives in America” by Uptown Professional magazine. She started her career in human resources with Digital Equipment Corp., now part of Hewlett Packard. She was the CEO of Barnes, O’Neale & Associates and, in 2002, served as vice president-diversity initiatives for MTV Networks. She is the author of 7 Keys 2 Success: Unlocking the Passion for Diversity.

Campbell Soup Company is recognized as a leader in the area of employee resource groups, which the company calls business resource affinity networks. What BRANs does The Campbell Soup Co. offer and what is the driving force behind establishing them?

Most CPG/retail companies have funded and sponsored networks to help with employee retention and onboarding and, more recently, to provide valuable consumer insights. For members of the networks there are opportunities to develop and practice leadership skills, develop extended networks and become more culturally competent. Our networks originally grew out of Women and African American employees' desire to share experiences and to develop a network of like colleagues. As our diversity and inclusion initiative developed, additional groups petitioned for and were granted official network status. Today there are eight resource groups: Women of Campbell; Campbell's African American Network; Hispanic Network de Campbell; Asian Network of Campbell; BRIDGE, a generational network; GAAIN -- Global American Indian and Aboriginal; OPEN a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network; and CAPS, Campbell's administrative assistant professional network.

How have the company’s BRANs evolved and what role do they play now?

Affinity or connecting around shared values is important in all cultures. It is not an exclusionary activity, but rather a place of support for members of the affinity and education for others. Our BRANs evolved from small gatherings of employees with a characteristic or affinity to employee resource groups with a focus on supporting similar and educating different employees. A lot of work is needed to ensure women continue to advance in our industry. Today our BRANs have two major foci: to connect Campbell's to consumers and to develop and engage members and help them to execute their jobs with excellence.

How have the company’s BRANs helped boost sales or profits?

Our Hispanic Network has provided consumer insights with rich data gathered at a regional Hispanic Heritage Festival. To help Campbell’s understand and connect to the Millennial consumer, BRIDGE joined with members of product innovation teams to sponsor a day of dialogue with Chuck Underwood, a generational expert. The Women of Campbell network was instrumental in the development of extremely successful product lines like Select Harvest soups.

Campbell Soup Company received the 2010 Catalyst Award for our success in advancing women to leadership roles. How would you characterize the cpg/retail industry’s efforts to advance women?

I have been involved with cpg/retail organizations for many years. The need to identify, build affinity with and understand the consumer -- especially women, who make the majority of all purchase decisions -- has made this industry attractive to and in need of women in leadership and decision-makings positions. However, there is still a lot of work needed to ensure that women continue to advance in our industry.

What initiatives have led to greater advancement of women at Campbell Soup Company and why are those programs important to your business?

Much of the work that continues to provide opportunities for women to perform and advance is not solely focused on women. It is the result of successfully implementing talent management processes. This allows us to identify talent and provide needed support, development and sponsorship. Women of Campbell and our talent management team led an extremely successful Women's Leadership Development program. This educational experience helps ensure the organization will always have women who are ready to assume leadership positions. As the talent pipeline continues to fill with smart and experienced women, it is crucial to our success that we can attract, engage and fully utilize women in all of our global operations.

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