Empowering women and engaging all in gender equity
By Jaime Oesch
Women of Kellogg member
For 20 years, our Women of Kellogg+ (WOK+) Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) has helped Kellogg be a company where all women learn, grow and succeed. Never has this been more important.
McKinsey’s annual Women in the Workplace study showed that women, in particular, have been negatively impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the study, women, especially women of color, are more likely to have lost their jobs. And given the combined stresses of work, educating children at home and household labor that still falls largely to women, more than one in four women are contemplating downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely.
Fortunately, Kellogg has long been recognized for its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and is frequently cited as a great place for working women to build their careers. That’s why, when the pandemic hit, WOK+ made it a priority to connect regularly through large online events featuring McKinsey professionals discussing their study results, to intimate conversations. We wanted to make sure that women working at Kellogg knew they had the support of the company, their peers and one another.
As a Kellogg employee since 2015, I’ve seen how WOK+ helps us all be better, and I don’t just mean women. Anyone can be a WOK+ member and advocate for equity in the workplace. In fact, we added the “+” after WOK in 2021 to spotlight the important role of all genders in advocating for gender equity in the workplace, and in the world.
“During the pandemic, some of the most important conversations I’ve had have been with other moms, co-workers taking care of elderly parents or loved ones, and people facing the challenges of isolation. We’ve all been scared, known people who got sick or even worse, passed away, or were personally struggling.”
To achieve this mission, WOK+ partners with several organizations to heighten awareness and understanding. For example, we recently provided development opportunities through the Network of Executive Women and Kellogg Company’s recent talent acquisition initiative with The Mom Project. In addition, we come together to help those in need in our community through Kellogg’s Better Days social purpose platform aimed at fighting food insecurity around the world.
During the pandemic, some of the most important conversations I’ve had have been with other moms, co-workers taking care of elderly parents or loved ones, and people facing the challenges of isolation. We’ve all been scared, known people who got sick or even worse, passed away, or were personally struggling. I’m proud that Kellogg is a company that encourages these real, honest conversations. It takes courage, but that’s one of our growth competencies and a priority of our company’s culture.
As a Global Brand Director who’s lived around the world, I have the privilege of interacting with different cultures that challenge me to learn and grow on a daily basis. Through those conversations and life experiences, I strive to nurture the people I work with and the brands I lead for continued success. As a member of WOK+, I try to do the same for my fellow employees. In fact, I just completed a Lean on Me mental health first-aid training offered by our Kapable disability-related BERG. It helped me lean more into emotional health and better prepared me to have more difficult, and important, conversations. Through WOK+ and this training, I hope to be an even better ally of women and all my colleagues as we build our careers together.