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The Drinks Association celebrates another progressive year

The Drinks Association celebrated another successful year with members and Corporate and Commercial Partners at its annual Chairman's Drinks event this week.

The event also marked the successful end of the third annual Inclusive Leadership mentoring program, which has evolved from being a Women in Drinks mentoring initiative to being more gender balanced and designed to support future leaders. More than 130 members of the drinks industry have participated in the program to date, from 15 drinks companies.

Drinks Association Chair Ralph Dunning (above, right) thanked the audience for their input and participation in another progressive year for the Australian drinks industry.

He also noted how much the Drinks Association values the support of its Corporate Partners - Advantage, Nielsen, BevChain, GS1 and StayinFront - and its Commercial Partners - Hip Media, Serendis, SKUVantage, OnTap Data and Shopper Intelligence - as well as its Australian Drinks Awards partners and Associate Members.

Embrace Difference Chair Simon Durrant also gave an update on the progress made by the Embrace Difference Council.

"Like the Drinks Association's mentoring program, the D&I Council is also evolving," he noted. "We are now called Embrace Difference Council, which reflects where we want to take the evolution of diversity and inclusion within our Industry.

"The previous Council has done a fantastic job of raising awareness of D&I and helping our member organisations better understand where we should be heading."

However, he added: "While individual organisations have initiated some amazing things to help bring about change, gaining traction for our entire industry remains slow, and we lag other industry norms. If we want to continue to attract, retain and develop the very best talent we need to move more decisively and embrace change."

The Embrace Difference Council is tackling three areas moving forward. The first is gender, with the Create Difference workstream. It is focused on visibility, creating events and communications that help evolve the industry.

"You’ll see next year’s International Women’s Day Event will evolve in both tone and approach to appeal to a more gender balanced audience and we look forward to sharing it with you all in March," Durrant noted.

The Create Difference team has also been focused on the rejuvenation of the state-based chapters.

The second workstream targets diversity and is called the See Difference. It is looking to benchmark where the drinks industry stands on D&I and measure change over time.

It will also be calling on member organisations to share tools and initiatives so it can provide tool kits that can be deployed successfully across organisations with different levels of maturity and understanding of what a successful, inclusive business looks like.

"We understand it can be daunting and confusing and want to help bring clarity, practical easy to implement processes that will help create change," Durrant said.

The final workstream focuses on inclusion and is called Leverage Difference.

"Here we look at individual leadership journeys and how we can ensure all senior leaders embrace and role model diversity and inclusion practices," Durrant explained. "For us to be successful in evolving as an industry all senior leaders need to be engaged and proactive in creating a difference, it is not something that just sits within the HR function as a task."

Durrant concluded: "I want to thank the workstream leaders and people working within the workstreams for their help and dedication, in making change happen. The positivity is truly amazing. They are providing their time and commitment over and above their day jobs and we thank you for allowing them the time to do this. Please ensure you connect with them and ensure that you are aware of the great work they are doing to help create change.

"We need to support change to ensure we remain a vibrant and attractive industry for individuals to join and carve out a successful rewarding career. And we need everybody’s help to make it happen, especially the leaders in the room today."

Thank you to Coca-Cola Amatil for providing such a stunning backdrop for the event.

Here are some photographs from the night:


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