Flashback to Beam Suntorys IWD celebrations and activity

Flashback to Beam Suntory's IWD celebrations and activity

 May 04, 2023

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Beam Suntory  marked International Women's Day (IWD) across its international community via its virtual and in-person activity in Madrid in Spain.

The company saw more than 250 colleagues participate in and support its IWD activity, discussing three core themes:

  • Defining the true nature of equity and beyond
  • Overcoming gender stereotypes
  • Embracing difference and being an active ally

An in-person IWD event in Madrid broadcast virtually

Beam Suntory Madrid

The aim of Beam Suntory's IWD activity was to reinforce the company's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), given the international nature of its business. Beam Suntory also wanted to use the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of its employees, highlighting their personal backgrounds and journeys.

Attendees heard powerful personal stories from Beam Suntory colleagues from around the world. Pledging to be supportive allies for colleagues was also highly encouraged and discussed in detail.

During Beam Suntory's storytelling spotlight, its international region heard from:

  • Chief Financial Officer based in Madrid, Sharell Sandvoss, on embracing her differences as a leader in finance
  • Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion based in Singapore, Winnie Chng, on her journey into motherhood whilst at work
  • Finance Planning & Analysis Director, Farah Williams, on active listening and action as a male ally and a father raising two young women
  • Digital Marketing Manager based in Shanghai, Xiaosi Can, on over-coming stereotypes as a female whiskey brand ambassador in China
  • Global Key Account Director based n the UK, Ella Blake, on the importance of role-modeling, hints and tips in allyship

Career advice to younger selves

Beam Suntory IWD

Further marking International Women’s Day, Beam Suntory asked women leaders the company what advice they would give their younger selves starting their career.

"Don't be afraid to figure out what you want and what you need to advance your career and get the opportunities that you need, and then ask for them. And don't be afraid to advocate for yourself," commented Mercedes Hill, Associate General Counsel based in Chicago, USA.

"If you sit and listen with the intent to learn, prepare to be amazed. Bit if you're always listening with the intent to contribute, you're missing out," volunteered Kim Harmon, General Manager at Maker’s Mark Distillery in Springfield, Kentucky, USA.

"Have a plan but do what you love, and then you will find success in whatever you do," advised Zsoka MacDonald, Chief Communications Officer in New York, USA.

"Have your own definition of success. Don't let others define success for you. Speak up. Your voice is important. Don't be diffident about airing your opinions. And choose your battles wisely. Don't spend your energies on things that are not important," said Manu Bal, Head of Legal, Compliance & Corporate Affairs in India.

"Your future belongs to you, your effort, energy and the desire you put into it everyday. Learning is the most important thing, and also know how to listen. Work as a team and take advantage of mistakes, turning them into experience. You have to be tenacious, constant, humble, and open to change. And above all think that you can. Trust yourself and don't be afraid of the future," suggested Christina Ibanez Najera, Senor Manager IT in Spain.

Watch their brilliant and inspiring video here.

Committed to women's equality right from the highest level

Beam Suntory Albert Baladi

President & Chief Executive Officer of Beam Suntory, Albert Baladi, also showed his support for International Women's Day stating that: "To me, this year’s theme of Embracing Equity embodies the shared responsibility all of us have in actively identifying and removing barriers to ensure equal opportunities for everyone and support the advancement of marginalized communities. As CEO, it is my responsibility to set the tone and model behavior for the rest of the organization, ensuring DEI is understood as a business priority and societal imperative. This includes being a better ally for women by calling out biases and discrimination, challenging the status quo and holding myself and leaders accountable."

"While it is my job to provoke the conversation around DEI, everyone in our company needs to play a role in living our values and delivering our ambitions, including achieving our goal of 50% women in leadership roles by 2030. I’m proud of the progress we’re making, yet there remains work to do to advance representation, and ensure our culture and opportunities support and empower everyone," the CEO explained. "The bottom line is that we must hold one another accountable to advance representation and equity, and promote work environments where our people feel heard, valued and supported. For real change and impact to be achieved, it will take all of us, collectively and actively to Embrace Equity."

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Beam Suntory values and embraces difference, championing equality for all. 

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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