Innovative ideas, open discussion and constant learning are all qualities of a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace. That’s why Farmacias Ahumada, WBA’s retail pharmacy chain in Chile, has developed a Networking Café program. The idea is to bring team members together from a variety of roles and departments to create connections, listen to different opinions and develop new ideas around important topics.
Most recently, the Networking Café held virtual sessions that focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. The sessions gave team members the chance to talk openly, learn from each other and share ideas with the aim to promote an inclusive culture. The sessions also prompted a discussion about what it means to create a working environment with diversity and equity as core values.
“Being part of the Networking Café has been a fruitful experience for my professional growth,” says Paula Rodriguez, category manager in the commercial management team. “I have been working for Farmacias Ahumada for a year and participating gave me the chance to talk with people that had more than 30 years of experience in the business.
“When I joined the company, the Networking Café helped me to feel included and get to know my team members. Hearing from a diverse group helped us all become closer – not just as colleagues but as people. It helped us realize that we are all part of an incredible company that is full of marvellous, diverse people. It’s a place we can really feel comfortable being ourselves.”
Antonio Cepeda, operational director, Farmacias Ahumada, says that the Networking Café discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion are also benefitting the business.
“The Networking Café promotes the exchange of each other’s viewpoints to help us face the challenges that we have as a company, together,” says Cepeda. “That allows us to further our collaborative working practices, streamline our decision-making, and respond in a more efficient and innovative way to changes in the market. All of this ultimately benefits our patients and customers as well.”
“The success of the Networking Café is also being seen in team members who are beginning to think differently. “There is a greater openness to listen to different opinions,” says Cepeda. “Team members are more confident in saying what they think while making sure to ask others for their point of view to help enrich their own.”