How companies can build strong and inclusive cultures

Retail Gets Real episode 267: Kimberly Lee Minor on defining values and sharing experiences

From working in product development to working as an analyst, a planner, a controller, a buyer and more, Kimberly Lee Minor has had an extensive career in retail at brands including Talbots, Nine West and Bath & Body Works. Now she’s the president and chief commercial officer at women’s apparel company Bandier.

Minor is also CEO of Bumbershoot, a firm that helps businesses rethink their cultures for inclusivity, and the president and founder of the WOC Retail Alliance (formerly known as Women of Color in Retail), a network connecting women of color to credible industry employers seeking true representation and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion

Learn more about diversity and inclusion in the retail industry.

Minor joined the Retail Gets Real podcast to share her incredible career journey and her mission to help women and people of color advance through the retail industry. Minor’s passion for diversity and inclusion comes from shared experience with her peers early in life and throughout their careers. “The further up the ladder we get, the more isolated it is,” Minor said about being a woman of color in the workplace and the lack of representation she saw throughout her career. She believes success at work relies on a community where all employees have access to opportunities that provide new skills to help them grow.

“Whatever I've learned and whatever I've been able to bring to the table, that for whatever reason has gotten me promoted, has helped me make an impact on the businesses that I have led, I want to share that,” Minor said. “Because other people should be able to be in those positions.”

Data shows there must be a conscious effort on the part of executives to overlook biases and create an inclusive culture. One part of that is defining company values and making them a core part of the business. When a company has strong values, it naturally attracts employees who hold those values.

“Once we've come together around values, what are our goals? What are we trying to achieve? It becomes about those things and bringing people together around these shared interests,” Minor said. “Retailers that are really taking inclusion equity and diversity seriously are not creating just one position in HR. They're making sure that practice is across everything they do.”

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