Women’s Equality Day: Recognizing a True D&I Champion

By: Gary Pilnick and Norma Barnes-Euresti

Kellogg Company is more than a business. We are a company with heart and soul, driven by a diverse and inclusive community of passionate people making a difference. As Kellogg Vice Chairman, I firmly believe people must be our competitive advantage and we must nurture a culture that fosters inclusion, respects ideas and encourages diversity of thought.

In celebration of Women’s Equality Day, I’d like to recognize a true champion at Kellogg – a champion for the company, for our people and a champion in our community – Norma Barnes-Euresti. Norma is passionate about equality, equity and inclusion, and truly embodies our K Values – she is a leader who focuses her time and attention on doing what is right.

Women’s Equality Day – celebrated in the United States each year on August 26 – commemorates the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. At Kellogg, we’re committed to improving gender equity and women’s empowerment, and recognize the significance of this historic milestone. To commemorate this day, Norma shares her thoughts on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) as a Kellogg employee and D&I champion.

Can you tell me about your own personal role as a leader and champion of D&I at Kellogg and in the wider profession?

At Kellogg, I serve on the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council, the Global Legal and Compliance Department’s Leadership Team and I also lead the global Ethics and Compliance function. I serve as the head of the People Team, advising on global D&I issues, and am also the former Executive Sponsor of K Pride and Allies – Kellogg’s business/employee resource group (B/ERG) dedicated to LGBTQIA employees and their allies.

In the wider profession, I collaborate with external law firms that are passionate about diversity and inclusion. I serve on the Board for the LGBT Bar Association and the Board of Trustees for the National Judicial College, which educates and inspires the judiciary on topics including diversity and inclusion.

How do you support, develop and grow diverse talent in the legal team at Kellogg?

Our Legal and Compliance team advises the company on how to create a diverse and inclusive environment, so it’s essential that we’re leaders and role models in supporting, developing and growing diverse talent. It’s a competency that demands time, attention and leadership.

The team is a testament to our ability to lead as we are incredibly diverse – our leadership team is roughly 60 percent male and 40 percent female. And, 50 percent of the team is a racial minority. We are also inclusive of other dimensions of diversity including LGBTQIA people and persons with disabilities.

We are very intentional about developing and supporting an environment that fosters inclusion and a sense of belonging for all. We want to be a high-performing team, and that starts with trust. Trust is about confidence in your team members, assuming positive intent, and being open to being vulnerable and learning together. To me, it makes a personal difference to be able to bring my whole self to work, so I strive to ensure that others can do the same. We are very intentional about varying facets of diversity and factor this in as we aim to ensure everyone has the chance to speak and be heard. 

What is one of Kellogg’s D&I initiatives that you’re proud of?    

I’m very proud of many of our initiatives, but one of which I’m very proud is our collaboration with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Law Fellow program. During this summer program – in partnership with the NAACP – students travel to Kellogg headquarters for an immersion in Kellogg’s culture and legal practices, and for exposure and interaction with many of our executive leaders.

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