For many years, I’ve shared why it’s important to me to empower and support women at Nestlé. There’s no blueprint for building a great career, and no two women are the same: we’re parents, partners, friends, daughters, mentors, and peers. As we’ve transformed Nestlé, I’ve learned that building an equitable workplace culture isn’t a one-size fits all process: from parental support benefits to pay equity action, we’re evolving our workplace for all women.
I’m proud that this work has earned us recognition on Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index (GEI) for five consecutive years, but there’s always more to do.
Recently, a group of leaders from across Nestlé’s global organization came together to discuss what they’ve learned so far in their careers. They were joined by Elaine Welteroth, a journalist, editor, and television presenter, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. Elaine led an inspiring conversation covering a variety of topics: from pay equity, to the importance of mentorship networks, to the power of authenticity and courage at work.
Pay Equity is the Baseline
When we think of workplace equity, many people see equal pay as the ultimate destination. At Nestlé in the U.S., we’re proud to have achieved 1:1 pay equity for men and women, as well as 1:1 pay equity for underrepresented minority employees, but we never saw this as our final goal. We believe firmly that paying an equal wage is the foundation on which we can build a culture of equity. In other words, we want to go beyond pay equity, and continue to drive action on all aspects of gender balance.
To do this, we took a closer look at how we use data to create opportunities. Salary data helps us measure existing and historic biases. We can see who is finding opportunities to grow and if those opportunities apply fairly to everyone, and then take actions like eliminating the practice of setting compensation based on salary history.
We also used learning from this data to make qualitative changes, like embedding bias training across the organization, and making it the responsibility of leaders to make sure all employees have the chance to build connections that will help them grow. This work makes an impact: we’re proud that globally 45% of our managerial positions are held by women.
Peer Networks and Mentorships are Essential
Over the years, mentors – both men and women – have helped me grow my career to the position I’m in today. Mentorship is embedded in Nestlé’s culture. Employees across the organization are encouraged to reach out to leaders and peers they admire to seek support. We also provide formalized programs to drive opportunity: in 2022, several hundred women at Nestlé participated in nomination-based mentorship programs. All around the world, leaders at Nestlé are prioritizing mentorship and peer support.
Growth at work can be accelerated by a strong network. Your peers and leaders should be supporting your growth, and helping you thrive. At Nestlé, we’re proud to be making this a core part of our everyday culture.
Leading with Authenticity & Embracing A Risk-Fail-Learn Mindset
As a leader, it’s essential to show vulnerability and share your own experiences with your team. I’m a wife and a mother, and it’s not always been easy to bring my full authentic self to work while balancing other things. A mentor once told me not to let perfection get in the way of getting work done. When it’s necessary, giving 80% is better than nothing – sometimes your 80% will be as good or better than somebody else’s 100%.
Leading authentically also means spotting potential in others and helping them define, claim and develop their unique strengths.
At Nestlé we empower you to take strategic risks, challenge the status quo and drive your own career. With a global presence and incredible brands—from beloved icons to new category disruptors—there are opportunities to make an impact on an enormous scale. Women at Nestlé should feel empowered to take risks, to learn from them, and to grow.
Ultimately, we need to go further, together. To do this, we must continue leading with courage and action to push the broader conversation forward.