Over the past 12 years, Vice President of Operations John Prendergast has held various roles within Levi Strauss & Co.’s operations organization, including product development, sourcing, planning and distribution and logistics. He has been a part of global and regional cluster teams located in both San Francisco and Singapore, and for the past five years he has led our North America and Latin America (LATAM) distribution and logistics networks — one of the largest and most diverse employee populations in the company.
Throughout his career, empowering his employees and teams has been central to his work.
“I have seen firsthand how teams and organizations perform at their best when we have a wide range of perspectives driving our work forward,” said John. “Harnessing the power of our diverse supply chain workforce and advancing that talent within the company will only strengthen our business to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse consumer base.”
John’s expertise, drive and talent are what landed him a spot in the Aspen First Movers Fellowship Program, a program bringing together professional innovators from around the globe to harness the power of business to improve society. This year’s cohort consists of roughly two dozen mid- and senior-level leaders from various industries, focused on how to bring their purpose into the work they do every day.
As a fellow, John is focused on tapping into talent pipelines through which a diverse workforce — already employed in distribution centers and supply chain operations across the country — can receive the proper tools and training to someday enter corporate functions.
“Our distribution centers contain some of the most committed employee populations in the company,” said John. “At a time when companies are hoping to foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce, we have a lot to gain by looking inside our own four walls to provide our people with opportunities to grow. This gives us a strong talent pipeline, provides new career opportunities for our employees and helps us achieve our own diversity, equity and inclusion goals. At the end of the day, we have an obligation to create an employee experience that is grounded in respect and growth and is in service to our company’s vision.”
In completing his fellowship, John hopes to strengthen his own leadership skills while opening doors for employees and populations that may have previously been left behind.
“As leaders, it is on us to make all our people feel safe, valued and respected,” he said. “Good leaders have an obligation to use their voice and position to lift up their teams, and I hope to cultivate that upward mobility for our distribution and logistics employees and create pathways for them to have meaningful careers within LS&Co. in the years to come.”