WiHTL, Diversity in Retail and Sainsbury’s partner for Ethnic Future Leaders Programme
WiHTL and Diversity in Retail (DiR) have announced that Sainsbury’s will be partnering with them on the fourth cohort of their Ethnic Future Leaders (EFL) Programme.
This unique, cross-industry initiative, which has now positively impacted the development of 800 delegates, aims to identify and invest in high potential ethnic minority employees supporting their progression into leadership roles.
WiTHL and DIR are a Collaboration Community devoted to increasing diversity and inclusion in the hospitality, travel, leisure and retail industries.
The EFL Programme was developed in response to the lack of employees from an ethnic background in leadership positions across the above industries. Whilst there is considerable ethnic diversity at entry level research conducted by WiHTL and recorded in its 2022 Annual Report, shows that senior level ethnic representation does not reflect society and the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population as a whole. Although the proportion of ethnically diverse leaders at Board, Executive Committee and Direct Reports level has increased in recent years, over a third (33%) of retail companies and over half (50%) of hospitality, travel and leisure organisations still have all-white Boards.
The EFL Programme capitalises on the unique power of the WiHTL and DiR Collaborative Communities to create a sector-specific approach to talent development. This ensures commitment from employers to investing in ethnically diverse colleagues as well as creating race advocates, allies and sponsors to build a truly inclusive working environment.
Tea Colaianni, Founder and Chair of WiHTL and DiR, said: “I am so pleased to welcome Sainsbury’s as the sponsor of our fourth Ethnic Future Leaders Programme which aims to invest in and develop the industry’s diverse talent pipeline. As the first retail company to partner with us on the programme, Sainsbury’s is a true pioneer in this area and their commitment to driving change and creating equitable opportunities for everyone will have a lasting positive impact. By working together, we can positively change the conversation around race across the industry and beyond.”
Simon Roberts, CEO, Sainsbury’s, said: “As a founding member of Diversity in Retail, we are delighted to be sponsoring the Ethnic Future Leaders Programme. We are passionate and proud to be an inclusive retailer giving colleagues the support they need to build careers and fulfil their potential. Our sponsorship is testament to our commitment to diverse representation and this programme will give our people the additional tools they need to drive their development and confidence in their roles.”
As part of the EFL programme, the delegates taking part are given access to a combination of external experts and industry leadership role models in addition to becoming part of a wide-reaching alumni network. With its reverse mentoring programme and dedicated sessions for line managers and executive sponsors, the programme is designed to deliver meaningful progress in creating inclusive, motivating work environments.
Reflecting on the power of the programme in developing skills and opening up opportunities, many of the delegates emphasise the positive impact of the EFL programme in building their confidence and their networking and personal branding skills in particular. Line managers, executive sponsors and reverse mentees report increased confidence in having conversations about race and enhanced understanding of the challenges and barriers that underrepresented groups have to deal with in the work environment.
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