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Chair appointed for new drinks Diversity & Inclusion Council

Chair appointed for new drinks Diversity & Inclusion Council

The Drinks Association’s focus on inclusion has entered an exciting new phase, with the evolution of the Women in Drinks and Diversity & Inclusion Councils into one newly formed Council, led by an industry steering committee.

Joined as one, the Council will further strengthen the brand proposition of the Australian drinks industry as a destination of choice that attracts and retains diverse talent.

Simon Durrant, Managing Director, ANZ, at Campari Australia has been appointed as Chair of the new-look Council.

"I am really excited to take on the role of Chair," Durrant said. "I have seen many changes in the way we approach diversity and inclusion across our industry and I intend to help accelerate our embrace of that change.

"I want to recognise the hard work, progress, and dedication of the existing Councils, The Drinks Association, its Board and Council members and the impact they have made. In addition, some of our members are already well recognised for their advancements in diversity and inclusion and we are looking to our industry to embrace the benefits consistently across the whole membership."

The Council's new operating structure will feature three workstreams - Gender, Diverse Workforce and Inclusive Workforce - which will focus on delivering tangible outcomes members can take back to benefit their organisations.

"We will enable ourselves to educate and inform at all levels within organisations, to report against the actions we are taking, and to hold ourselves accountable for delivering meaningful progress," Durrant said.

The Drinks Association CEO Georgia Lennon noted that the Council's mandate was not simply about gender equity, but also involved embracing employees of different ethnic backgrounds, ages and sexual orientations.

"These are issues that need to be addressed consciously and consistently at all levels and from all members of the drinks industry," she said. "The responsibility for improving equality and diversity falls to us all if we are to bring about significant cultural corporate change.

"Simon has the full support of the Drinks Association Board and is well placed to lead that change in 2019.

Durrant added: "Our industry is a vibrant and exciting community in which to develop a career. To attract, develop, and retain the very best talent, it is imperative that the industry focuses on what is important for our people. We need to create work environments where people feel safe, are encouraged to be themselves, and to feel included."

Lennon thanked inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Council Chair Denis Brown, Managing Director of Bacardi-Martini Australia, for his work.

“Denis was instrumental in the establishment of the Diversity & Inclusion Council and in staging a Leadership Summit in September 2018, where industry leaders joined together to give their views on shifting the dial and show their support for an inclusive drinks industry," she said.

She also thanked Women in Drinks Chair Jennifer Collins for her contributions over the past two years.

"Jennifer has been an inspiring Chair and has been involved in some incredible moments for our industry, including the establishment of The Drinks Association's Mentoring Program."

Video series celebrates diversity initiatives

Late last year, Durrant took part in a Leadership Summit for The Drinks Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, where industry leaders joined together to show their commitment to shifting the dial.

Senior executives showed their support for a more inclusive drinks community via a series of YouTube videos.

Watch what Durrant had to say below: