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NEW Forum 2017 opens with call for gender parity

Karen Stuckey
NEW Board Chair Karen Stuckey of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. called on senior executives in the retail and consumer goods industry to work together to drive gender equality during welcome remarks at the 11th annual NEW Executive Leaders Forum, August 1 in Santa Barbara, California.
 
“The industry needs the best talent to face the industry’s challenges and seize the opportunities ahead,” said Stuckey, Walmart’s senior vice president, private brands, general merchandise. “Attracting and keeping the best talent is critical, and gender equality is the key,” she emphasized. “Our success must be measured by our results, not our intentions.
 
“Change requires the industry to reevaluate the outdated policies, outmoded programs and unwritten rules that discourage diversity and block the business benefits of women's leadership,” Stuckey said.
 
“Women and multicultural employees now make up more than two-thirds of our workforce, and this share is growing,” Stuckey noted. “Millennials — who are 45-percent nonwhite -— have replaced Baby Boomers as the largest generation at work.
 
“The new workforce has different values and expectations than those who came before,” Stuckey said. “The tension between yesterday’s workplace and today’s workforce is not sustainable. It’s time to reframe so-called ‘women’s issues’ and create a better workplace for all.”
 
“The retail industry supports one in four American jobs and drives our nation’s economic growth. Our industry has always been a place of opportunity — but it hasn’t always been a place of equal opportunity.”
 
“Advancing women into our senior leadership will require systemic change and a willingness to challenge the status quo” the NEW Board Chair said. “It requires daring action. And those who dare, win.”