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#ProudlyMars: How Associates Practice Inclusion and Diversity Every Day
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How Mars’ Culture of Inclusion and Diversity Fosters a ‘Free-to-Be-Me’ Workplace
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While Pride Month is celebrated in June, our Associates are #ProudlyMars every day. Whether this means volunteering in the community or simply being their authentic selves at work, our Associates can attest that Mars’ culture of diversity and inclusion isn’t limited to one month of the year.

Celebrating diversity and fostering an environment of inclusion is a priority for both leadership and all Associates. For instance, Frank Zahn, a project manager in Mars University and proud LGBTQ Associate, says that being #ProudlyMars and proud of his identity is not “something that’s ever a struggle,” because inclusion and diversity is such a natural part of the culture.

“Everyone brings their own types of experiences, whether it’s from their personal life or professional life,” he said. “I think that’s something organic that happens with the project teams.”

For Zahn, bringing his own experience to work means that when he travels, he always welcomes other Associates to join him in visiting a place that has “a significant LGBTQ presence for one of the nights.” Another example: his podmates are not only excited about his upcoming wedding, they serve as his de facto wedding planners. 

“I’m proud to be here because people want to understand,” Zahn said. 

Another Associate, Taylor Tiger — a sales analyst who has been at Mars for 18 years — said that she feels being herself at work is an important part of how she is helping promote inclusion.

“I would like to think that ‘being me’ every day and showing up as an openly LGBTQ Associate allows others to feel comfortable around me and to feel comfortable about who they are,” Tiger said. “I strive to actively listen and be honest with Associates who speak to me about my personal and professional journey.”      

Our culture empowers all Associates to build awareness and create opportunities to attend conferences, establish training modules like our “Out and Equal” program, as well as define mentorships. It also defines our overall “free to be me” workplace, Tiger said.

Strategy and Capability Director Louis Jenkins Bluckert agrees.

“I find that Mars is willing to be shaped and evolve by the amazing people who work here,” Louis Jenkins Bluckert said. “That means that where there’s passion, for example on inclusion and diversity, we make great progress — quickly. That makes it feel like a very accepting, open, and inclusive place to be.”

Mars Wrigley Customer Marketing Manager Leslie Waters shares how she is committed to taking actions on I&D in and out of the office. 

“I do my best to “walk the walk” to embody what it means to embrace diversity in every sense of the word,” she said. “Not only am I actively involved in my I&D group, I continuously strive to improve our community at Mars. The ability to be my true, unique self every day, is one of the best ways I can foster our spirit of inclusion.” 

We’re proud that the everyday actions of our Associates also translate to larger, companywide actions. Outside the office, that includes our support of the New York, Chicago and London Pride Parades. Our participation began as a grassroots initiative from the company’s LGBTQ resource group several years ago, but now has dedicated company resources, funding and support, specifically from the M&M’S® and SKITTLES® brand teams. 

And our pride in our culture shows. In 2018, we moved up one place to rank third on the Top 25 Best Multinational Workplaces list by Great Place to Work®, the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. And this year, we received a 90% score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, the national benchmarking survey that reports on corporate LGBTQ policies and practices. It measures against nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement, and recognizes and reinforces our strong commitment to our Associates. We know there’s still much work to be done and we’re working together every day to ensure Mars is place that is welcoming to diverse viewpoints, backgrounds, cultures, personal histories and lived experiences.

Ultimately, as Frank Zahn said, at the heart of being #ProudlyMars is a genuine desire to respect and learn from each other, whether through company and outside resource groups, educational guest speakers or specific cultural activities. For example, Banfield, VCA and BluePearl are proud supporters of the PRIDE Veterinary Medical Community. 

This Pride month — and every day of the year — we celebrate Associates like Frank Zahn, Taylor Tiger, Louis Jenkins Bluckert and Leslie Waters that make Mars a special place to work. Check back each month to read more stories about how our Associates are creating inclusive workplaces that are definitively and #ProudlyMars.

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