- Starbucks has hired Nzinga Shaw to fill a newly created position of global chief inclusion and diversity officer, Starbucks confirmed to Restaurant Dive via email.
- Shaw joins Starbucks following Sara Bowen’s exit in January to join Boeing as its VP of global diversity and inclusion. Sara Bowen was VP of global diversity and inclusion, according to PR Week.
- Shaw previously worked with the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena as chief diversity and inclusion officer since 2014. She also worked with Edelman, the NBA, YES Network and Essence magazine.
Starbucks has received high marks for its aggressive diversity and inclusion efforts, but it has areas for improvement left to address. Its efforts towards greater inclusion began after a Philadelphia shop employee called the police on two African-American men for not making a purchase. The highly public incident led the retailer to close its 8,000 stores for a half-day of diversity and inclusion training.
The coffee chain has also been without a global leader overseeing diversity and inclusion since January so filling this position will help it maintain its goals of better diversity, and better react to allegedly racially charged situations. Shaw has several years of experience and developed diversity and inclusion practices at the Hawks during her tenure, and was also the first chief diversity and inclusion officer in the NBA, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Several other brands have made diversity and inclusion an important pillar of their company cultures recently. Yum Brands, parent company to KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, signed the Hispanic Promise Pledge, which commits the company to champion Hispanics in the workplace. It's also worked to advance women to senior roles in the company and achieve gender parity in its leadership roster by 2030. Currently, 40% of its leadership positions are held by women.
McDonald's has also made a push for increased gender equality in its ranks in response to a wave of sexual harassment complaints levied at the brand, but a slew of lawsuits still show that this will be a work in progress. Its latest training endeavors have focused on reducing workplace violence, building awareness about unconscious bias, preventing bullying, and understanding bystander scenarios. It's also tapped augmented writing technology to help craft more gender-neutral brand language and job posts.
Retailers across industries are increasingly turning to a diversity and inclusion officer to help foster a different company culture. Individuals in these positions are usually responsible for creating, implanting and overseeing greater diversity within an organization as well as identifying existing biases and preventing against future ones. Messages surrounding diversity and inclusion are also starting to permeate brand marketing as consumers show an increasing consideration for companies that care diversity and inclusion issues.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, Nzinga Shaw's role was misidentified. Global chief inclusion and diversity officer is a newly created position at Starbucks.