Before President and CEO Kevin Hourican came into the picture and VP and Chief Diversity Officer Adrienne Trimble joined the company as its first CDO in 2021, Sysco’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives weren’t necessarily front and center.
In an interview with DiversityInc, April Love, Senior Director of DEI Business Strategy, said Sysco has become a “totally different company” with Hourican and Trimble at the helm.
“Don’t get me wrong, we still have a lot to do and a lot to accomplish, but so many of the things that we’re doing now would never have even been a thought when I got here,” Love said, who has been with the company since 2018.
Under its new leadership, Sysco launched its first-ever DEI Report in 2022. This is a big achievement for the company considering that, historically, DEI efforts received a brief mention in its annual Corporate Social Responsibility report.
Trimble’s creation of a strategy around DEI and Hourican’s support of Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) and his introduction of Sysco’s “Be Better” platform have changed the narrative around its DEI initiatives.
The idea of needing to be better as a company “sparked a series of events that we never would have had when I first started,” Love said.
The company now has “Be Better” town halls twice a year that focus on different DEI topics such as disability inclusion. Sysco also has “Real Talk dialogues,” which are small group discussions led by leaders in the company on topics such as unconscious bias or allyship.
Adria Terry, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Analyst at Sysco who also manages the company’s ARGs, said Hourican and other executive leaders support ARGs and encourage participation in them.
“It really shows some top-down dedication when it comes to wanting to be involved and even their own participation,” Terry said. “A lot of them are executive sponsors to our ARG group.”