Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 13

Attendees at RILA's annual supply chain
event showed their commitment to increased
gender diversity at next year's event.

into the human resources area and
a series of rapid promotions led to
her current role. It is a position from
which she makes a forceful business
case for diversity internally at Target
and externally. And she minces no
words when describing the business
imperative, considerable risk-taking
and self-sacrifice required of entrenched leaders.
"It will require things that are
going to take you outside of what
you comfortably have been doing for
however long you have been in this
business. If your path to a commitment in gender parity has connected
to it an assumption of comfort, you
are setting yourself up for failure," Wanga said. "It is going
to be a constant state of discomfort. It is not going to be
easy, short or immediate. You might not even live to see the
impact of your actions."
Nevertheless, it is a commitment that has to be made
so the retail industry can continue to serve ever changing
consumer demographics. And as part of that commitment leaders need to apply the same type of metrics and
performance standards used to manage other aspects of
the business such as product sales or on time deliveries,
according to Wanga.
"It has to become part of how you lead and run your
business everyday," Wanga said. "If you look at metrics
every day on how your business is performing you should
do the same thing on how you are performing on diversity
recruiting and gender parity."
Target has done that. And while the company isn't perfect, it fares better on diversity than most of its peers. It has
also become more committed than ever before, which is
something borne out in numbers that show 36 percent of
Target's board members and the C-suite team are female,
according to Wanga. Forty percent of Target's supply chain
leadership team is female.
"Where we need to agree is on the destination to creating
gender parity in supply chain. Where we don't have to agree
is on the many paths that help us get there," Wanga said.
Whatever path a company takes it requires adopting a
view that a person's individuality is non-negotiable. On
this point, Wanga is particularly forceful because she lived
through the experience with Target. A native of Kenya, she
moved with her parents to Minneapolis at the age of 10. She
went on to attend a small historically black college in east
Texas and connected with Target when the company came
on campus for a recruiting event. When she was hired,
rather than become like everyone else in the organization,
which she called the business case for homogeneity, Wanga

retained her identity and Target is the better for it.
"Who you are is what helps the business we are in be successful. The combination of your dimensions of difference,
your experiences and the perspective you offer, requires you
walk into the organization and unleash and weaponize your
dimensions of difference to be able to drive the business.
That's hard as hell," Wanga said. "Stay who you are based on
the truth of your experiences and you don't adjust who you
are for the organization. You change the organization until
you find the one that works with who you are."
What that looks like for companies operating in the
real world is ownership for diversity, inclusion and gender
parity has to be extended beyond human resources and
into the business functions, according to Wanga. Such a
decentralized approach improves the prospects for success
because then the business function "owns it" as part of their
strategic objectives. The best way to test whether such an
approach is functioning, she said, is to ask HR a question
about diversity and the business a question about diversity
and see if they give the same answer. Or an answer at all.
"(Diversity) is not an HR initiative. This should be a part
of your business strategy. This is the thing you should be
most afraid of taking your business apart," Wanga said.
Diversity as a business continuity imperative was a theme
emphasized throughout a presentation that, by design,
pushed those in attendance outside their comfort zone.
Some may have even felt threatened or got a sense from
her remarks that for women to gain men must lose. That's
not the case at all however, as Wanga noted in response to a
question, because gender parity is about everyone having an
equal chance.
"One of the things I hate about the D and I (diversity
and inclusion) industry is no one ever asks the straight
white man what he needs and he is constantly excluded and
villainized in the conversation," Wanga said. "That's crap
and it needs to stop." RL
MAY/JUNE 2018 Retail Leader.com

13


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Leader - May/June 2018

Contents
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover1
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover2
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Contents
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 5
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 6
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 7
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 8
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 9
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 10
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 11
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 12
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 13
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 14
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 15
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 16
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 17
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 18
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S1
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S2
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S4
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S5
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S6
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S7
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S8
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 19
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 20
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 21
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 22
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 23
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 24
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 25
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 26
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 27
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 28
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 29
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 30
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 31
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 32
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 33
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 34
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 35
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 36
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 37
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 38
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 39
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Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 41
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 42
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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