News Briefs


PepsiCo Celebrates Supplier Diversity Program Anniversary By Expanding Commitments

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PepsiCo marked the 40th anniversary of its Supplier Diversity Program with a commitment to expand its base and increase overall spend through new forums, mentorship, partnerships, and resources.

As part of the Supplier Diversity Program, PepsiCo currently spends more than $1 billion annually with certified, diverse suppliers, including women, Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+, Native American, individuals with disabilities, and U.S. veterans. The program has grown from an initial spend of $5 million in 1982 to nearly $30 billion spent over the past 40 years across PepsiCo's entire value chain.

The expansion will include increased support around the supplier certification process to help businesses grow and sustain their economic impact for the future.

[See also: PepsiCo Adds Renewable Energy Access to Pep+]

"As one of the leading convenient food and beverage companies in the U.S., we have a responsibility to leverage our size and reach to help address the systemic barriers that too often limit or exclude diverse suppliers from developing and expanding their businesses," said Melani Wilson Smith, PepsiCo's global chief procurement officer, in a statement.  

"We've been on this journey for decades and we are committed to growing with our diverse suppliers and procuring new ones,” she added. “Working with diverse-owned businesses is one of the more important ways we can help build a more inclusive supply chain which, in turn, strengthens the communities where we operate and yields greater value for our consumers and customers."

PepsiCo, which is the No. 3 publicly owned consumer goods company, has also hired Pink Patch Group, a Black-woman-owned certification consultancy, to help with the diverse supplier certification process and remove barriers to economic advancement.

"We know that minority certification will allow diverse businesses to work with many Fortune 500 companies beyond PepsiCo," said Christina Tyson, director of supplier diversity at PepsiCo. "Hiring a third-party consultancy to assist small diverse-owned businesses with the certification process is one of several steps we're taking to drive racial equality and create systemic change in the communities we serve."  


CGT Parent Company EnsembleIQ Recognized as a ‘Best Leadership Team’

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EnsembleIQ, parent company of CGT, was recently honored by workplace evaluation firm Comparably in its “Best Leadership Teams” category for driving positive culture change.

This honor is based on ratings voluntarily and anonymously submitted to Comparably by EnsembleIQ employees about the performance of the company leadership team. Those rated included direct managers and senior leaders, who all received “A” level grades during the past 12 months.

“The leadership team is approachable and open to new suggestions and ideas. They make themselves available to the team at-large and encourage / motivate us to perform our best,” posted one employee. Another stated, “Communication is excellent! I am asked to participate in any meeting or event that can help my growth and knowledge of the company.”

“This evaluation clearly illustrates that our team members value how company leaders have created a positive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diversity of our employees,” said EnsembleIQ chief executive officer Jennifer Litterick said. 

“Prioritizing positive culture change has strengthened the core of our organization. Our leaders are providing a supportive, flexible, and development-driven environment for employees to innovate and drive growth by delivering actionable business intelligence and connections to retail, healthcare, and hospitality business professionals and solution providers,” she added.

[Read more: Creative Agency EIQ Brand Lab Wins 7 AVA Digital Awards]

Culture is an essential component of EnsembleIQ attracting top-tier talent. In addition to utilizing Comparably for cultural assessment, EnsembleIQ provides a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council with 35 people serving on three employee-driven task forces focused on Community, Cultural Competence, and Cultural Belonging. 

The company also provides two volunteer days per year and a platform to find in-person or remote volunteer opportunities that are individual or team based, monthly leadership training, a wellbeing program with a mental health focus, and a feedback culture where employees receive feedback every week. 

“Company culture is driven by the organization’s leadership team,” said Comparably CEO Jason Nazar. “Sentiments expressed by EnsembleIQ employees clearly illustrate they greatly appreciate the outstanding leadership that has driven positive change to provide a culture in which they thrive.”

EnsembleIQ previously was honored by Comparably as a Best Place to Work in Chicago, where the company is headquartered.


CGT Parent Company CEO Jennifer Litterick Honored as a Change-Maker in the Information Services Industry

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Jennifer Litterick, CEO of CGT’s parent company, EnsembleIQ, was recently recognized as a Change-Maker in the information services industry by the Top Women in Media & Ad Tech Awards. 

Produced by AdExchanger and Admonster, the annual awards celebrate leaders who have made an impact in the digital media and advertising technology industry. 

“It is a privilege to be recognized by AdExchanger and AdMonsters as a leader in the information services industry. EnsembleIQ’s success can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the entire EnsembleIQ team and I am pleased to share this accomplishment with them,” said Litterick. 

Litterick will also participate as a panelist on the c-suite panel “Current State of the Industry” at the MediaGrowth Summit 2022 on June 15. Other panel participants include Paras Maniar, CEO; Bobit and John Yedinak, president and co-founder, Aging Media Network; and Craig Fuller, CEO of FreightWaves, who will moderate the session. 

“I am passionate about the advancement of the information services industry and I look forward to sharing my insights at the Summit,” said Litterick. 

Litterick was appointed CEO of EnsembleIQ to define and execute a new company vision. She  specializes in turning challenged businesses into high-performing assets by quickly assessing changing  market opportunities, talent needs, and core strategy to ensure revenue and growth objectives are  reached. 

Litterick rebuilt the EnsembleIQ executive leadership team with a focus on innovation, and she  created a performance-based culture rooted in nurturing and recruiting high-performing employees — driving company growth. 

EnsembleIQ was recently named a “Best Place to Work in Chicago” by workplace culture evaluation firm Comparably based on a survey of company employees, who also gave  Litterick high ratings for her exceptional leadership.


Creative Agency EIQ Brand Lab Wins 7 AVA Digital Awards

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Marketing and creative agency EIQ BrandLab, operated by CGT’s parent company EnsembleIQ, has won seven AVA Digital Awards for digital excellence. 

The AVA Digital Awards is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design, and production of digital communications. They are awarded by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP).

Each of the award-winning entries were developed in partnership with clients ranging from CPG brands to enterprise technology companies. 

Platinum Awards

Gold Awards

Darren Ursino, vice president of brand engagement at EnsembleIQ said that EIQ BrandLab aspires to be “a true firebrand in business marketing.” He added the brand is honored to work with forward-thinking companies across the retail, healthcare, and hospitality industries. “We are very proud to have been recognized by the AVA Digital Awards for our work.”

Joe Territo, executive vice president of content and communications at EnsembleIQ stated that the company’s redesigned corporate website, which was created by EIQBrandLab, has been well received. 

“We are very pleased to have received this honor from the AVA Digital Awards,” he added.


General Mills Investing in Food Tech VC to Advance DEI Commitments


General Mills’ venture capital arm, 301 INC, is investing a combined $15 million into two early-stage venture capital funds — Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital — as part of its commitment to promoting racial and gender equity in representation through economic opportunity for minority and female food entrepreneurs.

The investments focus on supporting founders from underrepresented groups and will be designated for food-related businesses that seek to drive systemic impact and financial returns.

Supply Change Capital, a women and Latina powered venture firm, invests at the intersection of food, culture, and technology. It catalyzes early-stage food and food tech founders with a focus on sustainability, health, and diversity.

[See also: General Mills Leans Into Predictive Experiences]

Fearless Fund is a fund built by women of color that invests in women-of-color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed-level or series A financing. Its mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for founders building scalable, growth-aggressive companies.

Previous investments from 301 INC include the plant-based food company known as Everything Legendary that targets the Black community, a decision made after 301 INC identified Black Americans as the largest and fastest-growing vegan demographic in the country, at nearly 8%.

“We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse and female founders within our 301 INC portfolio, and yet there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking for early-stage venture capital funding,” said Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer, General Mills. “We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders, at earlier stages. Closing this gap means more great innovation in our food system — from new concepts to emerging food technologies — and more inclusive cycles of opportunity for entrepreneurs, companies and communities.”


Retail Velocity Undergoing Major Rebrand

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Retail Velocity, a consumer demand and supply data management company, is rebranding. 

Featuring a top-to-bottom revamp, in response to a renewed corporate mission led by the July 2021 appointment of CEO John Rossi, Retail Velocity will be showcasing a new visual identity and go-to-market messaging. 

The rebrand includes a new company logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and company tagline: “Reliable Data at the Speed of Now.” According to the company, the tagline emphasizes its expertise at providing consumer brands with daily retail point-of-sale and inventory data “at the most granular level to enable them to generate actionable insights.” 

[More on rebrands: RB Rebrands As Reckitt]

The new logo symbolizes business growth, continuous collaboration, data integrity, and harmonization, according to the company, and the new brand colors represent profitability, harmony, intelligence, and leadership.

Rossi succeeds Jeff Beckett, Retail Velocity co-founder and CEO since 1997. Beckett will continue to serve as chairman of the company’s board of directors, providing counsel to Retail Velocity’s leadership team.

“I am privileged to have stepped into the CEO role at Retail Velocity and continue building on the long-term success the company has achieved over the last 28 years,” said Rossi, adding that part of the company’s evolution is launching a new corporate identity that not only recognizes past success, but also symbolizes the changes taking place across the business.  

In previous leadership roles at Capgemini, Wipro, Plan4Demand. and Clarkston Consulting, Rossi developed and executed go-to-market strategies for the consumer goods, retail, hospitality, distribution, and transportation consulting groups and verticals.

“Since John joined Retail Velocity, he has significantly strengthened our business processes, enhanced our product offerings and improved our strategic planning and growth,” said Beckett. “He has a strong vision for the future success of the company and has brought in extremely talented and experienced individuals who will continue to develop and provide outstanding products and services to our current and future clients.”