Sponsor working session at 2019 DISCOVER Summit (Photo Credit: Baiada Photography)

J&J, Hershey, EY and Others Champion Career Advancement for People of Color in Supply Chain Roles

Ensuring diversity and inclusivity in the workplace doesn’t just happen, individuals and organizations must take action to do things differently. Johnson& Johnson, The Hershey Company and EY created a coalition aimed at creating opportunities to advance people of color in supply chain jobs that plan, source, make and deliver products. Now in its third year, The DISCOVER Summit is making a real impact.

Held Sept 12-13 in Philadelphia, the two-day event included frank discussions with leaders, networking, coaching and a career fair.

“Our aim is to do more than talk about supply chain diversity and inclusion – and really do something that makes a difference at each of our companies,” says J&J’s Laverne Bastress, Regional Account Director, North America, Janssen Supply Chain.

At these companies, supply chain is the backbone of the organization. So, their shared vision of diversifying the talent pipeline to build a workforce with the skills and capabilities to lead the supply chains of the future isn’t just good citizenship; it’s good business. And although there’s a lot of talk about the war for talent, these companies are proof that partnership and collaboration is a direct route to success.

“Supply chain by its very nature is cooperative. We realized three years ago that we could be stronger together by sharing and elevating our best practices. And, when it comes to mentoring and championing people of color, we needed a way to connect and build relationships to lift one another up. DISCOVER is doing all those things,” said Alicia Petross, Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement at The Hershey Company.

Leadership development has been a hallmark of DISCOVER since inception. This year DISCOVER invited university students and academics to join the dialogue about ways to build a well-prepared, diverse talent pipeline. They held a career fair and STAR workshop as well as individual and group coaching sessions which created space for people at all levels to make new contacts to support their growth and career advancement.

DISCOVER partnered the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to help with the career fair. The companies also engage organizations such as DiversityInc., the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Organization on Disability to benchmark best practices and inform their diversity and inclusion strategies.

“Our Summit theme was From University to Industry Strengthening Our Talent Pipeline. One of the highlights was engaging with some of the most talented students from the region during the career fair. Throughout the session, students offered innovative and practical solutions to some of the common problems that we face regarding acquiring, managing and retaining talent. However, the ultimate contribution of the career fair is that it will help build a diverse pipeline of supply chain professionals for the future,” said Irving Smith III, PhD, Director of Operations, Janssen Biotech Inc.

“As a working professional, I’ve made important connections to help me advance my career and to be an advocate for others in my company as well. The dialogue that starts here and continues inside our organizations is critical to the future of supply chain, “said Erika Nava, Sr. Account Manager Manufacturing Alliances, The Hershey Company.

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