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Simon Durrant; diversity

Embrace Difference Chair Simon Durrant: “You’re invited to the party to create our future”

March 11, 2019
By Alana House

The Chair of The Drinks Association’s Embrace Difference Council has revealed how he hopes to make a measurable difference to the drinks industry.

Simon Durrant told guests at the Association’s International Women’s Day event that council’s purpose was clear: to establish the drinks industry as a destination of choice by facilitating awareness, challenging perceptions and building practices that attract, develop and retain industry talent.

The Drinks Association announced last week that its focus on inclusion had entered an exciting new phase with the evolution of the Women in Drinks and Diversity & Inclusion Councils into one newly formed Council.

“I take the responsibility for Chairing the Diversity & Inclusion Council very seriously,” Durrant said. “I have two young children – a girl and a boy – and I would love them to consider the drinks industry as a safe place where they can be themselves, build rewarding careers, and benefit from the trust and camaraderie that exists, knowing they will be treated fairly and equally.”

He said the Diversity & Inclusion’s promise was to inspire and support member organisations to foster the development of inclusive and diverse practices within their business wherever they may be on their individual journey. 

He noted that the Council aimed to accomplish this through three clear workstreams:

1. Gender: This will incorporate the established Women in Drinks platforms with a focus on growing our gender diversification. It will be led by Alan Ko and Danielle Beale from Coca-Cola Amatil.

2. Diverse workforce: This will focus on attracting a rich pool of talent from all walks of life. It will be led by Madelyn Ring from CUB.

3. Inclusive workforce: This will work to create space for a our people to be heard and contribute meaningfully to our future growth. It will be led by Nicole Stanners at Campari.

“Our vision is to create a measurable difference to the way that the drinks industry embraces diversity and inclusion over the next five years,” he said.

“The journey for the workstream leaders is just beginning. We need to recruit our new volunteer teams, establish our goals and outcomes and build our platforms to deliver success. We look forward to sharing more with you in due course and to engaging with each of you on this exciting new chapter of our journey. Consider yourselves officially invited to the party to create our future!”

The Drinks Association CEO Georgia Lennon added: “Simon has the full support of the Drinks Association Board and is well placed to lead that change.”

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 he had to say below: