Enhancing diversity in the Private Brands industry takes more than just good intentions — it requires actively building diverse teams.

Speakers at the second and closing day of the My Private Brand Diversity Summit outlined strategies for succeeding with effective team building to enhance brands and organizations.

“You need to make sure you have teams reflective of consumer bases,” said Chris Skyers, VP, Own Brands, Wakefern Food Corp, the large Eastern U.S. retailer and cooperative with banners including ShopRite.

“If Own Brands is going to continue on its growth path, you must have teams that follow where consumers are going — and clearly consumers are becoming more diverse,” Skyers added.

Another speaker, Sarah Chartrand McGowan, SVP of Global Talent, Leadership and Diversity for Ahold Delhaize, said sourcing diverse talent isn’t just the responsibility of HR departments.

“Your HR team should be looking at ways to source talent, such as building relationships with universities,” she said. “But every leader is responsible for doing this too. You need to build partnerships with the HR team and also take this on yourself.”

The Diversity Summit also heard from a very young speaker — 10-year-old Bellen Woodard — an impressive fifth-grader who is the world’s first “crayon activist,” focused on multicultural progress. She is the creator of the More Than Peach Project, which features a line of crayons and coloring books that aims to make people realize peach isn’t the only crayon color that denotes skin tone.

“I wanted to inspire teachers and classmates to change the language in classrooms,” said Woodard.

More coverage of the online Diversity Summit will be coming on the My Private Brand website. The live event was recorded and sessions will be available on demand.

My Private Brand will feature three additional online Summits during 2021:

  • My Private Brand Design Summit – 5.12-13.21, which will include the Vertex Awards in Private Brand design winners
  • My Private Brand Innovation Summit – 9.22-23.21, featuring a new showcase for innovative products, concepts and packaging
  • My Private Brand Sustainability Summit 12.8-9.21, spotlighting both sustainable products and packaging

The four 2021 Summits represent “four pillars for Private Brands in achieving meaningful differentiation,” said Christopher Durham, President, My Private Brand.

Meanwhile, the My Private Brand Velocity conference will return in Spring 2022 as a unique hybrid event that provides outstanding experiences both for in-person and virtual attendees, Durham added.