Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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We Mean Business > 26 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 9 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Reginald J. Miller: I have learned a lot since joining VF. Because VF is a global or- ganization, our approach to diversity and inclusion has to be different. During my first six months with the company, I spent a lot of time visiting our brands, many at offices in different regions of the world. What I discovered during those trips was that belonging and inclusion are very per- sonal emotions for associates. How an organization supports those emotions within its teams has to be carefully consid- ered. Our approach has been to make our inclusion and diversity strategy globally consistent, yet locally relevant. At VF, we are committed to inclusion and diversity. e marriage between the two is crucially important. DW: What are some recent trends in recruiting and inclusion practices that you've noticed? Are there any that you see coming in the near future that will be especially impactful? RM: ere is a lot of buzz right now about what to call this field of work. Each organi- zation has its own take on how to define it. In the past, it was simply D&I, but now some companies and organizations are adding equity or equality into the mix. Others are adding justice. And we continue to hear about belonging and culture. What we're not hearing or seeing is engagement or purpose. Engagement and purpose are seemingly taking a backseat to other con- cepts as the nature of D&I work expands. Although it is obviously embedded in the work from a lot of companies, it is not be- ing elevated in the ways that concepts like belonging and equity have been over the last couple of years. ere are a number of opportunities available within the D&I space as compa- nies and organizations get more serious about inclusion, partly because of the de- mands of the next generation of workers. In the past, many companies have made mistakes in this area, and consumers are demanding more accountability. As oppor- tunities start to arise, D&I practitioners are looking for companies that are serious about making an investment in inclusion. Companies should look for practitioners who are serious about doing the hard, strategic work once hired. DW: You served in the military for eight years. Are there any lessons that you took from your experience that you apply to your work today? RM: I learned the importance of cama- raderie and discipline from serving in the military. I also learned that great planning leads to proper execution. My approach to inclusion has always been to implement it like a strategic operation. e way to achieve results is to work toward continu- ous improvement and measurable suc- cesses. I am currently teaching my team to adopt these principles while adding their own individual outlook. DW: What is VF doing to shape its workplace culture? RM: We have been very intentional about our commitment to improving the entire employee life cycle, and we are in the process of revising our employee value proposition. e work we're doing to shape our workplace culture is making a difference. We have seen positive results with our workplace flexibility and re- spectful workplace policies. In addition, we are currently evaluating our benefits, including expanded adoption and leave of absence, and other enhancements. We continue to look for ways to drive our inclusion strategy and will look for ways to better support all aspects of inclusion and diversity. DW: Are there any initiatives that you've implemented at VF that you're particularly proud of ? RM: I am particularly proud of the com- mitment and support we've received from our leaders regarding our I&D ef- forts at VF. rough their efforts, we've successfully launched our Executive I&D Council led by our CEO. Our leaders im- mediately created individual action plans leveraging the key pillars of our Strategy for Inclusion. eir actions have helped to accelerate the importance of I&D within the company and gave us the per- mission to engage in difficult discussions that we were uncomfortable having be- fore. We are still learning and growing in this space, but we are on the right path. DW: Is there any advice you would give to men who want to help women suc- ceed in the workplace? RM: It is very important, as a leader and as a peer, to be an advocate for women in the workplace. It begins with a basic understanding that our associates are individuals first. No group is the same in their opinions, needs, or perspectives, and that is equally true of women. If men take the time to understand what the women on their respective teams need, then it is easier to support them. Advocating for women in the workplace requires you to lend your voice and po- litical capital to support their cause. Men should not be afraid to do this. DW: Who are the leaders that inspire you? RM: I am inspired by a lot of people, but my true inspirations are my mother and my grandmother. e sacrifices they made along the way, the life lessons that I learned, and the morals and values that they instilled in me have helped me in how I engage with others and what my wife and I try to impart to our kids. I would not be the person I am without them, and I hope to make them proud in how I honor their legacy in the work that I do. DW Eddie Lee is the assistant editor of Diversity Woman. If men take the time to understand what the women on their respective teams need, then it is easier to support them.

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