How Bacardi Aims to Shatter the Glass Ceiling

Spirits company launches mentoring program to cultivate female leadership.
Nov 25, 2019 2:30 PM ET
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By Michael Woodward Ph.D.

The glass ceiling has slowly been cracking for years, but it is far from shattered. The 2019 Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey and Company found that women occupy only 21 percent of executive roles in the C-suite with just under 30 percent representation in vice president and senior vice president roles. Although there has been progress in the last five years, there is still a lot of work to be done.

One company out there leading the charge in this effort is Bacardi. As a privately held family company that has been in business for 157 years, agility is critical to competing on a global stage. In their quest to continually foster agility, Bacardi recently started looking inward for ways to identify and unleash their untapped talent: Women.

To learn more about their efforts I spoke with Chio Zubiria, Senior Director for Supply Chain Planning at Bacardi. As a female executive who has been with Bacardi for 22 years, Zubiria has been through it all and now she is looking to give back. She recently took on the role of Chair of the Bacardi North America Women in Leadership (WIL) Development Committee where she has had an integral role in expanding mentoring for women throughout the organization. The program now has 700 participants worldwide. In our conversation, Zubiria shared her tips for developing and deploying a successful mentoring program.

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Nearly half of the mentors are men. If women are only talking to other women about women-specific issues, Zubiria notes, they are missing opportunities to broaden the conversation, forge critical relationships, and build more opportunities for advancement.

And according to internal data, it's working. Female engagement is up 12% since 2017, making the engagement score for women at Bacardi on par with the score for men.

The Bacardi Women In Leadership Initiative was founded with the mission of unleashing the potential of current and future female leaders at Bacardi to drive sustainable top and bottom line business growth. The initiative is embedded into Bacardi’s business strategy and instills a sense of ownership and accountability in business leaders to set the right example and drive engagement throughout the organization.

Learn more about Bacardi Women in Leadership