Change is afoot in our culture. With #MeToo and Time’s Up resonating across the U.S., alongside the initiatives of organizations like the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union, we are hearing loud and clear that people who represent a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds are demanding equal opportunities to get jobs, start businesses, and experience the protections of a fair and just social system.
This didn’t happen overnight. The movement for equality across gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and ethnicity has been discussed for decades. But now, as we watch developments unfold on the public stage, these movements are also finding traction at businesses large and small.
For years, company leaders have been inundated by research showing that diversity improves business results. According to the most recent McKinsey report on diversity, ethnically and culturally diverse companies are 33 percent more likely to outperform the national industry median. The same report found that gender-diverse companies are 21 percent more likely to have better financial results.
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Across the beverage alcohol industry, we’re starting to see change happen. But we still have a long way to go. It’s one thing to make a commitment to diversity; it’s another to see inclusion initiatives through. To effect real change, organizations must set goals, develop plans, monitor progress, and measure performance.
We asked leaders who’ve had success in advancing diversity initiatives to share what they’ve learned. The response was overwhelming. We heard from winemakers, bartenders, industry advocacy groups, multinational companies, consultants, and others eager to share their ideas, plans, and tactics to changing the status quo.
It is our hope that 2018 will mark a year of real change, as we work together across the industry to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces and guest experiences. Let’s get started.
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After more than 20 years in the male-dominated field of high-end technology and and as the owner of a marketing and public relations firm, Deborah Brenner discovered during a trip to Napa, California, that many women in the wine industry—as in her own—were underrecognized. Compelled to tell their stories, she wrote the best-selling Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste, and Enjoy Wine, which Wine Spectator named a Critical Read of 2007. In 2015, Brenner organized the inaugural Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium. Due to the overwhelming response to that event, Brenner and the Women of the Vine & Spirits Advisory Board went to work to develop a consortium to support female professionals in the beverage alcohol industry year-round: Women of the Vine & Spirits.