Introducing Our Diversity & Inclusion Council

August 17, 2021

You can Google till your fingerprints disappear to find countless articles, polls, and studies that will tell you how cultivating a sense of belonging is good for company growth and productivity, but that’s not enough. Along with providing diversity and inclusion awareness, we also want our workplace to reflect the communities and customers we serve. This is the mission of SanMar’s Diversity & Inclusion Council.

Meet the Council Members

  • Natalie Tenner – Manager, Credit
  • Rob Crowley – Sr Director, Product
  • Melissa Castillo – Production Coordinator
  • Emily Gigot – Manager, Sustainability
  • Kara Johnson – Sr Merchandiser
  • Adrian Price – Shift Manager
  • David Sanchez – General Manager
  • Boubacar Sissokho – DC Supervisor in Training
  • Rosie Sulaimane – Territory Manager
  • Christine Wingate – Brand Art Director
  • Tara Wingo – Marketing Manager

Mission Statement:
To advise and guide company-wide diversity efforts and advocate for the value of inclusion as a pathway to both employee well-being and business success.

What The Council is Working On

Discussing holistic, personalized experiences to foster support is a mainstay on the council’s monthly meeting agenda, and casting a broader, company-wide reach is the council’s ultimate path forward. “The council believes that educating employees is vital as we do the important work of promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging,” says council chair and SanMar credit manager, Natalie Tenner.

Together since the early fall of 2020, the D&I council is committed to making sure that all SanMar employees are provided training opportunities. In collaboration with the SanMar Training and Development Team, a curated series of learning videos followed by interactive workshops is planned for each department, with special support at our distribution centers.

The D&I council also meets with the executive leadership team regularly and will remain devoted to observing hiring and promotion practices, amassing retention data, and creating opportunities to celebrate employee differences.

Diversity Statistics

With employees across the U.S., we know that our strength lies in the different perspectives we bring and we look forward to nurturing that in the years ahead. Knowing where we are today will guide us to where we want to be tomorrow. Read our full 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report on Canvas For Good.

Don’t Have a D&I Team? Learn What You Can Do.

Although in-house collaboration, discussion, and peer sharing among coworkers and colleagues are paramount to achieving a representational work culture, we believe that individual curiosity and self-facilitated education are incredibly beneficial.

The first step in the journey toward creating a uniquely diverse and inclusive culture is understanding that diversity and inclusion connote quite different concepts.

Dimensions of diversity might include visible traits like age, gender, disability and ethnic background, or invisible traits like socio-economic status, marital status and sexual orientation. In essence, workplace diversity means just what we think it does — having a culture that represents different types of people and backgrounds.

Inclusion refers to a cultural and social feeling of belonging. It is about the extent to which employees are valued, respected, accepted, and encouraged to fully participate in the organization. To use a sports analogy, think of diversity as who’s on the team and inclusion focuses on who’s really in the game.

Here are a few useful books on diversity and inclusion in the workplace: