One of our 2022 priorities at Levi Strauss & Co. is to strengthen our position as a world-class destination for talent, including investing in our people as a competitive advantage. One exciting way we’ve brought this commitment to life is through the launch of our new executive women’s development program, LS&Co. Lab.
With women making up more than 50% of our organization, LS&Co. Lab was curated specifically to further develop our high-performing senior women leaders, with the aim to increase their representation and retention as well as provide opportunities to help tailor and advance their careers.
“To attract and retain the best women talent, it’s without a doubt that we must invest in them and their careers,” said Karthik Varatharaj, VP of Global Talent Management at LS&Co. “When it comes to hiring and elevating qualified women for leadership roles at LS&Co., our priority is to look from within. To do so, we’re creating the space and time to nurture, coach, mentor and prepare our pipeline to take on challenges through the highest levels of leadership.”
Fourteen women from across our organization embarked on a four-month development journey focused on:
- Self-awareness and leadership effectiveness
- Business acumen and political savvy
- Personal resilience, confidence and branding
- Peer relationships and executive sponsorship
Last week, we proudly celebrated our inaugural cohort of LS&Co. Lab graduates in the presence of our Executive Leadership Team.
“Despite modest gains in representation over the years, women — and especially women of color — are still dramatically underrepresented in corporate America,” said Elizabeth Morrison, LS&Co.’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “By prioritizing and focusing on their representation at the highest levels of our organization, we’re laying the foundation for greater innovation, business leadership and impact. I’m beyond proud of the time and effort invested by this inaugural cohort of women to not only commit to furthering their development but the future of our company.”
After the celebration, several cohort members reflected on their experiences in the program. “The best part of the LS&Co. Lab program and cohort for me was the opportunity to use the dedicated time to understand how my behavior impacts others, so I can be my best self as a leader,” said Shalonda Welborn, LS&Co. Lab graduate and senior director, Global HR Operations. “I also had a great opportunity to network and build my business acumen by interacting with women colleagues in our company who really run key parts of our business.”
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the first LS&Co. Lab cohort with such an amazing group of women,” added Melissa Trevino, fellow graduate and VP, Global Strategic Sourcing. “The exposure to other women leaders at LS&Co. has been invaluable. We have collaborated and learned from one another throughout the program, and will continue to do so even after graduation. I truly enjoyed the speakers and sessions that allowed us to focus on how we can leverage our strengths and show up as strong leaders.”
Congratulations to all the cohort graduates.
We’ll continue taking action and building on our commitment to deliver exceptional career development opportunities and programs for high-performing talent that ensure long-lasting and fulfilling careers with us at LS&Co.