Educating leaders on diversity and inclusion has played a significant role in Cartier’s journey towards driving change, according to Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier America.
“Having our leadership team directly involved in the roadmap to inclusion and diversity paved a real clear way on the next steps of our journey and showed the company’s commitment. It has really been a key discussion over the last 18 months,” Abramo said at the recent NRF Converge event.
In October last year, the luxury brand hired former Condé Nast executive Erica Lovett as its first head of diversity and inclusion at Cartier North America.
“Erica’s appointment was a critical step forward in our diversity and inclusion journey and toward tackling discrimination and racism in all forms,” Abramo said.
According to Abramo, as part of the business’ journey to diversity and inclusion, they conducted listening sessions with their employees and gathered data on how they can identify what they need to focus first.
“We really looked at the entire roadmap on where we need to be and how we speak on these topics and how to make our employees first and foremost feel included, and then, of course, our clients,” she said.
Abramo said making the commitment to authentic diversity and inclusion had not only been educational for the company, but also for her on a personal level.
“As a leader, I always try to educate myself on where I am on my own journey on this topic and as a person of more privilege, how I can expand my horizon. Then it’s about connecting all of these topics as to who we want to be as a company and where it fits with all our values,” Abramo said.
“The world is more diverse, employees are more diverse and we want to continue to grow and [be] the legacy of an over 170-year-old company.”
In addition, Cartier will also focus on its philanthropy arm this year. Formed in 2021, Abramo said the foundation is also committed to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in the world’s poorest regions, by funding impact-driven, non-profit organisations around the globe.
Cartier will also celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Cartier Women’s Initiative, an international entrepreneurship program which supports and empowers female business leaders.
Since its inception 15 years ago, the program has supported more than 240 women-led businesses, hailing from 56 countries.
The Phluid Project and the expansive workplace
At the NRF Converge event, Rob Smith, founder of The Phluid Projet, also discussed the increased interest of businesses in creating more diverse and inclusive environments. The Phluid Project is a business that creates gender-fluid clothing, footwear, accessories and beauty.
“It’s hard to move big ships, but people are now saying things like, ‘You know, Target has trans exclusive bathrooms and fitting rooms’,” Smith said. “I always say inclusion is a journey. Anytime anybody enters this space, he or she begins a journey.”
To show their commitment to their mission to degendering fashion and focusing on inclusion, The Phluid Project launched a company training program called Get Phluid and a non-profit organisation called The Phluid Phoundation, which focuses on advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Get Phluid is a gender expansive training program that helps companies prepare for the gender expansive workforce, learn how to use pronouns correctly, learn how to make space for folks who are transgender and give them access to bathrooms and all the other policies, language and dress codes that go along with it,” Smith explained.
“Every day is a challenge but every day we identify boundaries and we push past them.”
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