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There is enough said and taught about diversity and inclusion - how it not only leads to new perspectives, creativity, and innovation, but also how it helps identify and seize new opportunities. Despite this awareness, there remains a stark disparity in the ratio of men v/s women in our country’s workforce. However, as one of the leading alco-bev players that have always challenged the status-quo, Bacardi has once again punctured this long-existing trend.

Bacardi, globally celebrated for being a family-oriented company, refers to all its members as primos - meaning cousins in Spanish and primas - meaning female cousins. And since its inception, it has been committed to building a people-first environment and an ecosystem where primas excel and thrive. It has uncorked opportunities for a bevy of women to lead as well as operate in several functions such as sales, finance, marketing, packaging, and more. By assuming these responsibilities, the Bacardi women are not only shaping a progressive future for themselves, but also shifting the industry paradigm and inspiring other women within the industry and beyond.

Bacardi's core values are summarized in three F’s – Family (embrace one another as family), Fearless (be bold and dynamic) and Founders (lead with a founder’s mentality). It encourages all primos and primas, regardless of their role or designation, to put their thoughts on the table. Vibhuti Shrotria, Senior Manager– HR, who closely works on embedding this culture within the organization, recalls how since her initial days at Bacardi India, her mentors and senior leadership members encouraged her to speak her mind. "It was a review meeting during my initial days, where all the functions were presenting their team's KPIs, and I had some thoughts on it. However, I refrained from voicing them assuming it would hamper my relationship with other primos. Later, during a casual conversation with my mentor, I shared my apprehensions and was encouraged to speak my mind going forward, since being fearless is truly one of Bacardi's core pillars," she says. Like all women at Bacardi, Vibhuti is a part of the mentoring program, whereby every prima has a dedicated mentor in the organization – could be from any function, market or region. These mentors help primas towards achieving their goals by guiding them through any obstacle they may face.

Bacardi also launched an initiative called 'Women in Leadership', with the mission to unleash the potential of current and future female leaders at the organization by instilling ownership and accountability. It reflects the organization's inherent belief that value can be created when you bring together a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Radhika George, who has been with Bacardi for over 20 years, credits her growth trajectory and diversity in roles to its culture. Having previously worked in the HR and Admin verticals, she is currently the Assistant Manager - Procurement where she supports the operations, production, inventory control, and vendor management at Bacardi’s plant. “It is always a little challenging for women to work at a plant or manufacturing unit. However, I have had a great experience while working at the NNJ plant for over 20 years now. A large part of this success is attributed to how Bacardi ensures a safe working environment for primas – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Given that I also need to travel extensively for plant-led work, the Women in Leadership program has put in place some excellent measures that extend a sense of security while commuting," says George.

The Women in Leadership team comprises women committed to increasing gender diversity and developing stronger career paths toward senior leadership. It has various initiatives like formal mentoring programs, personal and professional development activities, networking opportunities, and initiatives to empower employees in a winning work environment. It aids women in their career progression across stages. Neha Mallik shares her maternity experience and how the Women in Leadership program helped her, “As for every working mother, it was a big decision for me to resume work post maternity. I am extremely career oriented but at the same time, I did not want to compromise on the safety and security of my child. However, the childcare facility provided by Bacardi gave me the confidence to bounce back with more rigour. I was able to give my best at work, knowing my child was safe. And that is why I say that Bacardi is not just a workplace, it’s a family." Mallik is an Assistant Manager and is responsible for talent acquisition at Bacardi.

Reshma Bara, who closely collaborates with the business on talent management and end-to-end HR policy implementation as a Senior Manager, is also a part of the Women in Leadership Committee. "Diversity plays a key role in our business, and I believe we can work towards it by eliminating the unconscious biases, showcasing success stories, building an inclusive culture, and creating a diverse talent pool. As an organization, Bacardi is already leading this charge and the testimony to this is that we have women in leadership positions, who lead some of the most important and key functions like Finance, Customer Marketing, Innovations, and more," she says. Bara adds, “As a part of our talent acquisition and development initiatives, we build a strong succession pipeline comprising primas, specifically identify positions for which we can hire women, and even endeavour to fill a vacant position held by a prima by another."

While according to World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index 2020, it will take us nearly a century to close the gender gap across all industries, what counts right now is every step in this direction. It is more important than ever to become change agents and welcome diversity across job functions. Because if not now, then when?

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