AB InBev is taking action within our company, with our brands and across our value chain to be a more diverse and inclusive company, where everyone feels comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. As the leading global brewer, we also have an important role in brewing change in the industry to better reflect the diverse perspectives of the millions of consumers who enjoy our products. There’s more to be done, and we are committed to being transparent about our progress and to hold ourselves accountable. Together we can create a better, more equal world for all, and we’re proud to share with you here perspectives from some of our colleagues who are leading the way.
Growing up during a time when the strategies of the civil rights movement were being introduced, Tiffanie Walton, Director of Tech Talent and Development at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri, experienced the changes happening from integration initiatives firsthand, such as school desegregation programs and companies hiring to fill quotas. She also saw the negative effects that the opposition to integration had on her neighborhood. These personal experiences ignited a passion for diversity and inclusion that still lives within her today.
Why is diversity and inclusion needed in the beer industry?
I think that the beer industry operates on the assumption that only certain groups of people consume beer. If marketing plans are implemented from that point of reference, a large number of potential customers are automatically excluded. As demographics continue to shift, it will be necessary to target different types of beer drinkers for continuous growth. To that end, the people who make, market and sell beer should be representative of the diversity in emerging markets.
How are you brewing change?
Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has created an environment where listening to the diverse perspectives of its employees is a top priority. For example, I am one of the leaders of our Black Employee Resource group, the Porter Brown Society, and our team has been instrumental in identifying great resources to attain black talent, communicating what engagement activities are important to black employees, and helping to identify community organizations where our support would be most impactful.
As a group we have hosted interesting panel discussion about the black corporate experience and black culture in general. The Porter-Brown Society was also instrumental in helping to create Anheuser-Busch recruitment partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Universities. We’ve also created fun and exciting events to celebrate significant holidays such as museums and fairs for Black History Month and a Juneteenth Block Party. Overall, I think our grass roots approach helps keep employees engaged. We feel like leadership is listening and we are really making a difference.
What is your advice for others who want to change their company or industry?
It’s time to get uncomfortable! Talk to somebody that doesn’t look like you. Hire someone that doesn’t match your demographic representation. Immerse yourself in the experiences of others. As long as we operate in our homogeneous bubbles, we subject ourselves to repeating the same cycles. If we want diversity where we work we have to be willing to challenge our companies, and the leaders and employees within those companies, to do things differently.