Get to know our new and recently promoted leaders at Levi Strauss & Co. through these Quick Qs. Meet Gareth Whalley, our new head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Europe.
What did you do before joining LS&Co.?
I was leading the global inclusion practice at The Coca-Cola Company for the last three years, after spending almost 20 years in various travel management and HR leadership roles in companies including Procter & Gamble, IBM and Coca-Cola.
What are the biggest challenges you and your team face?
The diversity, equity and inclusion space is huge and multidimensional, so there’s always more we could be doing or wish we could be doing. Often, the work we do can be emotionally charged, slow and sometimes painful — we’re essentially unpacking centuries of systemic oppression, so progress doesn’t happen as quickly as we see other business metrics move. Also, this work really has to be owned by everyone in the organization if we’re to be successful, in terms of the behaviors we demonstrate and the decisions we make every day within the flow of our work and the ways we interact with each other.
What is your go-to LS&Co. product?
I have more pairs of 512™ jeans than I care to count!
What is your secret dream career?
In a parallel universe, I’m a graphic designer.
How many cities have you lived in?
I grew up in a small, semi-rural village in Lancashire, England, and since then have lived in Newcastle, UK; Le Mans and Paris, France; Málaga and Madrid, Spain; Rome; and Stockholm. I also spent a lot of time working in Budapest, Hungary. I currently live on a remote hillside in Weardale, about an hour from Newcastle.