Making the Customer Connection
BY SAM ALI
Sometimes losing a job can be a blessing in disguise. That was certainly the case for Jackie Parker, who has been vice
president of global inclusion and diversity at Newell
Rubbermaid for four years.
Prior to her work in diversity management, Parker spent her
entire career in sales and marketing.
But in 2002, she was laid off from her job at PepsiCo and spent
nearly seven months looking for work. A member of her church told
her about a freelance consulting opportunity with a diversity trainer.
Eventually, that job led to a job at Russell Corp., and that resulted in her
current job at Newell Rubbermaid.
“I believe everything I do around this space is about selling,” says Parker.
“I’m selling a product, and that product happens to be the strategy for building an
inclusive organization that leverages people’s strengths.”
For example, Newell Rubbermaid has a hand-tool division, and many end users for the company’s ceramic Lenox
blade saws are Latino, she says.
Under her direction, the company now has employee-resource groups, a formal mentoring program and mandatory diversity training. A strong focus has been on LGBT inclusion.
“When I started with the company, we didn’t have an equality initiative for LGBT employees,” Parker says. “Now
we have domestic-partner benefits, we have added sexual orientation and gender identity to our employment policy
and we are launching an employee-resource group for LGBT employees.”
Jackie Parker Newell Rubbermaid
Vicki B. Escarra
Feeding More Americans in Need
BY SAM ALI
Since joining Feeding America in 2006, Vicki B. Escarra has led the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization through the most
ambitious period of growth in its history, charting a course to feed
more Americans in need than ever before.
“Each year, we feed more than 37 million Americans who live without
consistent access to food, including 14 million children and nearly 3 million
senior citizens,” Escarra says.
Under Escarra’s leadership as president and CEO, financial donations
increased 33 percent to $75 million in 2009. This year, Feeding America,
based in Chicago, will distribute nearly 3 billion pounds of food. But the
continuing rise in unemployment has resulted in an average 46 percent
increase in requests for emergency food assistance, she says.
Escarra credits the organization’s success to an increase in donations
from individuals and corporations, including Walmart, Kraft Foods (No. 35 in
The 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list) and General Mills (No. 29).
Before coming to Feeding America, Escarra worked at Delta Airlines for nearly 30 years, starting as a flight
attendant and most recently the airline’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Escarra has focused her attention on Feeding America’s diversity and inclusion strategy. “I wholeheartedly
believe that unless we all work together to build diverse and inclusive environments, we will not meet our
individual or collective goals no matter what they may be,” she says.
Vicki B. Escarra
© 2010 DIVERSIT YINC
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