Diversity expands beyond typical definition

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Diversity in the corporate sense used to be about hiring. Now for such companies as Walgreens, it means ensuring that the banner resonates among the diverse cultures the retailer serves. It’s more than neighborhood marketing; it’s what Walgreens might refer to as Customer Centric Retailing on a much deeper level.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens names first-ever chief diversity officer. For the full story, click here.)

It’s about getting closer to the community.

An example of that neighborhood resonance is the urban desert stores, where fresh food is being beefed up among ethnically diverse urban communities with no nearby supermarkets.

It started a couple of years ago when the company moved all 29 of its vice presidents of operations out of Deerfield and into the areas they oversee — to go be a part of the community.

It continues in the inner cities, where Walgreens’ urban desert stores, with their beefed-up fresh food offerings, are helping to fill the supermarket void. In pharmacy, it means looking at different chronic diseases that disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups and developing specialized disease state management programs for such conditions as diabetes that are resonate and are culturally relevant to the patient.

Pemberton will play a key role in these types of initiatives, and you can expect more because Walgreens has a goal to be “My Walgreens” to each one of its customers. That kind of relationship demands diversity.

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