MANILA, PHILIPPINES — International Women’s Day has been celebrated for the past 115 years. Ever since the first women marched in New York City to express their desire for equality in the workplace, it has been an important day to celebrate womankind’s achievements and raise awareness for gender parity. Many companies, including snacks manufacturer Mondelez Philippines, celebrated International Women’s Day last March to recognize women leaders within the organization who inspire and empower others to achieve their full potential.
Mondelez Philippines works hard to ensure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, collectively called “DEI,” are observed and enacted within its ranks. Guided by its Purpose, Mission, and Values, the Company strives to champion DEI not only for its colleagues and culture but also for the communities where they are present. It is DEI that lies at the center of its celebration of International Women’s Day, together with the Company’s belief that it is diversity that strengthens it, and drives its innovation and growth.
Women Leaders in the Philippines: Ahead of the Curve
In Mondelez Philippines, 59% of its leaders are women, which is above the local standards. The representation of women in leadership positions is one of the indicators that the Company measures itself against to ensure DEI is not only a byword, but a reality.
“We are the makers of Oreo and Cadbury, brands which have power to give joy, uplift, and inspire acts of generosity. With such iconic brands under our watch, we feel a responsibility to take a stand in issues that matter, and one of these is DEI,” shared Aleli Arcilla, VP and Managing Director of Mondelez Philippines. Aleli herself has marked a milestone for the Company as the first woman and Filipino leader of the operations in the Philippines in almost 15 years. DEI is her personal story and mission, one which she harnesses to create a culture of belonging and advancement for everyone in the Company, regardless of gender.
Women Talking: How DEI is felt in Mondelez Philippines
“I’m proud to be a woman working in Mondelez Philippines because even as I was starting out in the Company, I always had strong and capable female leaders to look up to, with most of the commercial leadership roles filled by women. I’ve also witnessed firsthand how the Company has nurtured and developed very capable, driven, and kind-hearted women talents who are now holding key leadership positions in the organization,” shared Kristine Enriquez, Senior Marketing Manager for the Biscuits Category of Mondelez Philippines. Her experience is not only related to the culture in the Philippines however, as DEI is a priority everywhere the Company is present.
Shine Rodriguez is the Talent Acquisition Lead for Southeast Asia of Mondelēz International. Based in the Philippines but supporting six different countries in the region, she can attest to the importance that the Company gives to DEI.
“We walk the talk when it comes to Diversity and Women Empowerment,” Kristine added. “Celebrating women in the Company does not only happen during March. Neither is it just written in pretty posters. We live and breathe it every single day. Felt in our ways of working, celebrated in our culture, and measured in our KPIs.”
The initiatives and avenues available for women to be heard and seen are not always grand events, but rather everyday opportunities. “The Company does a good job fostering a nurturing and joyful culture, and psychological safety,” shared Bianca Baluyut-Lazo, a manager in the Company’s Sales function. “I am offered multiple forums to speak my mind, via 1:1s, coffee chats, and daily meetings. If you have an idea, share it – it can be imperfect or just a work-in-progress. We are allowed to be courageous and to provide a balanced perspective.”
Manufacturing companies like Mondelez Philippines are typically male-dominated workplaces due to the nature of their business. This does not mean that DEI takes a back seat though. In fact, as shared by Kathy Camon, a manager within the Manufacturing department, being a woman is never a hindrance but rather an asset. She relates, “Mondelez Philippines’ value of treating everyone with care and integrity regardless of your race, gender, or age helps me to navigate a male-dominated function. My voice is always heard and taken into consideration especially in critical decisions, in order for us to produce our well-loved cheese and cheese spread products like Eden and Cheez Whiz.”
Michelle Santillan, Marketing Head of the Company, concluded, “We choose to believe that we are stronger through our diverse, inclusive, and connected community. In Mondelez Philippines, women are given the same opportunities for advancement as everyone else in the Company and this allows women to break boundaries and fulfill their potential.”