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Diageos Ursula Dunn impacts a Black entrepreneurial world

Diageo's Ursula Dunn impacts a Black entrepreneurial world

 September 07, 2022

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Growing up on the westside of Chicago, Ursula Dunn had to be resourceful and determined. As a single mother of 5, she learned how to make something of next to nothing to provide for her children and start the path to creating generational wealth. Along this journey, she instilled values into her children and has inspired them to start their own business ventures.

Meet Ursula Dunn. She's on secondment from Diageo North America to Pronghorn, a company providing Black-owned business grants and opportunities for employment in the spirit industry.

The transformative partnership, announced back in May 2021, sees a dedicated standalone business with a sole focus on expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion within the beverage alcohol industry, driving meaningful and long-lasting change with impact across the total industry ecosystem. 

Ursula Dunn, a Pronghorn team member who works in Commercial Support for Diageo North America, shares why she enjoys her role that combines her personal and professional interests.

Striving to enterprise 

“See a need, fill a need" is one of Ursula's favorite quotes from the movie Robots, a saying that has stuck with her whole life. 

"Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always strived to enterprise. From my first endeavor in elementary school selling penny candy for a nickel to my role as the Global Quality Manager at Diageo. I've always had an eye for identifying opportunities and delivering results," says Ursula.

A job that encompassed her passion

As studies show, business ownership is the great equalizer in wealth disparities. So, when Diageo announced Pronghorn, a stand-alone program dedicated to the advancement of Black-owned Spirits brands with the goal to create $2.4B in economic value, Ursula had to be a part of it. "I joke that the job had my name written all over it because it encompassed my passion for entrepreneurship and helping underrepresented communities," reflects Ursula.

Helping others to succeed

As a team member on Pronghorn and a leader of one of Diageo's Business Resource Groups (BRGs), African Heritage Employees at Diageo (AHEAD), Ursula has the opportunity to help shape Diageo North America's inclusion and diversity ambition and help others to succeed.

"By supporting the growth of these entrepreneurs, we help build a more inclusive world for the future. Through this role, I’ve learned how to be a better entrepreneur myself and working with such amazing minority founders has been so inspiring - talk about your dream job!" adds Ursula.

Achieving great professional success

Ursula believes she is fortunate to work for a company that encourages its people to “act like owners” in everything they do. Entrepreneurship has always been a part of her DNA and bringing this mindset to work gives her the freedom to achieve great professional success.

"With the dedication and support from my mangers, I’ve had the chance to develop long-term goals and take on responsibilities that make me a better Diageo employee and a more impactful Black entrepreneur in the world – 'see a need, fill a need'," says Ursula.

Creating a more inclusive and sustainable world

"This latest effort aligns to our recent announcement of Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, a global 10-year action plan to help create a more inclusive and sustainable world. As part of this plan, we have committed to increase representation of global leaders from diverse backgrounds to 45 percent, achieve at least 50 percent representation of women in leadership roles, and ensure our community programs will be designed to enhance diversity and inclusion of previously excluded groups by 2030, among other goals," commented Diageo North America President, Debra Crew, when the relationship was announced.

"In North America, we are elevating communities of color, particularly in the areas of education and hospitality.  For example, as part of our $20 million Diageo Community Fund, we funded permanent endowments at 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the U.S.; we were a founding contributor of the ‘Raising the New York State Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund to help businesses adjust to COVID-19 requirements; and we financially supported COVID-19 recovery efforts for Chicago neighborhoods by helping to create more public spaces."

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