A new initiative aims to create more equitable hiring processes and sustainable careers in the wine business. Be the Change is billed as the first-ever virtual job fair to prioritize diversity and inclusion. The two-day event will be held December 2-3, 2020.
“As a Black queer woman, I am no stranger to being a token to meet an employer’s bottom line. Because of this experience, I became a DEI professional,” Lia Jones, founder and executive director of Diversity in Wine & Spirits, and co-founder of Be the Change, said in a press release. “What makes this initiative unique is our vetting process of the employers to address the need for safe spaces for a diverse workplace.”
Be the Change is helmed by Jones; Rania Zayyat, founder and president, Wonder Women of Wine; Cara Bertrone, national accounts sales manager, Folio Fine Wine Partners; and Philana Bouvier, vice president of fine wine, Republic National Distributing Company, and chair, WSWA Women’s Leadership Council.
In addition to a virtual job fair for up to 1,000 jobseekers, Be the Change will host a roundtable discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion in hospitality. It will be moderated by Bouvier and feature Jones as well as Dr. Hoby Wedler, sensory innovation director, Sensepoint Design; Bobby Stuckey, MS, partner, Frasca Food and Wine; Stephanie Gallo, CMO, E. & J. Gallo; and Susana Balbo, founder and winemaker, Susana Balbo Wines.
“I immediately saw the negative effect that COVID 19 would have on employment and diversity,” Bouvier said in a release. “We are going to implement change in multiple industries and it begins with wine, tech and legislation.”
In 2021, Be the Change plans to lobby for legislation regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. It will also host a second employment event in March 2021.
Employers can register for the December job fair starting November 2.