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DEI, ESG Are Central To Ingram Micro’s Culture: ‘Our Success Is All About People’

CJ Fairfield

Ingram Micro is laser-focused on environmental, social and governance and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

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Ingram Micro is nothing without its people, said Scott Sherman. And that means the distributor is laser-focused on environmental, social and governance and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

It’s not one versus the other, said Sherman, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Ingram Micro. DEI and ESG are part of the company’s culture. They are what makes the company what it is.

“It’s ESG with DEI,” he said. “It’s ESG and it’s DEI.”

“We’ve been doing DEI for years,” he said. “Talent is one of our six tenets of success. Being diverse, equitable and inclusive has been a key element of that tenet since before we articulated that tenet. It’s always been a part of who we are.”

[RELATED: Ingram Micro’s Community Spirit: Partner Collaboration Is Key]

DEI is a part of the ESG framework because it’s the people who make Ingram Micro successful, Sherman said.

“We don’t own buildings. We don’t own much technology. What we have are great people who work through processes that focus on customers at the middle,” he said. “Our success is all about people.”

Sherman hopes that bleeds over to its partner community as well. He encourages partners to think about their own DEI and ESG initiatives and pick where they want to start to make a difference. He said it’s important to engage communities both internally and externally and deliver on those initiatives.

“If we get this right, then our work will be energizing and we’ll be able to share it,” he said. “We’ll be able to wash, rinse and repeat in what we’re doing. If we are energizing in any and all of these e‑ orts, then we’re going to make our community a better place by doing the right things the right way. We think that a more diverse associate community will engage more effectively with our vendor and reseller communities to develop more creative solutions and business opportunities.”

Ingram Micro is also putting its money where its mouth is and making key investments in its people. Just recently it promoted company veteran Susan O’Sullivan to vice president of DEI, a new position.

“DEI has always been in the fabric of Ingram, and we’ve always had these basic principles,” O’Sullivan told CRN in an interview earlier this year. “I think we realized that now more than ever we need to make this a serious commitment. We have to take action. We have to show sustainable and ongoing action, and I think we [need] to have someone own it.”

O’Sullivan’s role includes looking at DEI and communities and how Ingram Micro can better serve employees and solution providers. The company also appoints team members from around the world as DEI ambassadors and facilitators.

“What we’re doing with those folks is we’re deploying what we call a ‘Together at Ingram Micro’ curriculum,” said Sherman. “It’s our global DEI curriculum. We developed that to be a very global DEI curriculum. Many organizations are focusing on DEI from a very U.S.-centric point of view, and we’re trying not to do that.”

The company also is harnessing its employee resource groups but is not controlling them from the center. The ERGs have the flexibility to grow however they want and “support each other, find excellence, build excellence, and now we’re helping them defi ne what the frameworks for growth should be.”

And those groups help Ingram Micro remain intellectually and emotionally connected to their teams, Sherman said. There also is a directive to reach out to local colleges, universities and vocational schools to forge ties with a younger and more diverse talent pool.

Meanwhile, Ingram Micro keeps its ear to the ground through anonymous internal “pulse” surveys. The distributor’s DEI favorable score was 87 percent, a number Sherman said has increased year over year.

“Ninety-two percent of us believe we treat each other with dignity and respect,” he said. “Ninety percent of us say we can be ourselves at work and be accepted. And then about 80 percent of us say that all of us have the opportunity to advance in the organization. We know that that’s a perception we have to continue to evolve.”

The survey also found that in the first half of 2022, 74 percent of Ingram Micro’s executive roles were fulfilled with internal candidates. Thirteen percent of the company’s associates, on a global level, were either promoted or had developmental job experience in the first half of 2022.

“It really is that career opportunity here,” he said. “That makes us better, smarter, faster, more equitable and more inclusive. We’re really working to make sure that we’re bringing in more diverse talent, and then we’re incubating that talent to grow with us for the future.”

CJ Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at cfairfield@thechannelcompany.com.

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