Diversity & Inclusion: Delivering Change in the Workplace

Jul. 13, 2018

One of the biggest questions facing organizations today is what does inclusion really look like in the workplace?


The next question, of course, is how do you build it?


Creating a workplace culture that celebrates and practices diversity and inclusion is an absolute essential part of a successful business. In fact, according to a report from McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse workforces increase company profits and are better at attracting—and retaining—talent.


Here at Breakthru, building this type of inclusive culture means everything to Hillary Wirtz.


“I’m proud and honored to lead this initiative,” said Hillary Wirtz, Breakthru’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). “As a family member (Rocky Wirtz’s daughter), it personally matters to me that everyone feels a sense of belonging. I want them to see themselves and others represented in the company.”


Prior to joining Breakthru in 2011 (then Wirtz Beverage), Wirtz was a 1st grade teacher for 10 years, and while she was passionate about teaching, she knew she wanted to eventually get involved in the family business. Naturally, her first role with the company was as Director of Training, where her experience educating others was of great value to Breakthru.


During her seven-year tenure, she’s served in a variety of roles with the goal of experiencing as many different aspects of the company as she could. Now, as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Wirtz feels it is her time to make her biggest impact yet.


“Diversity equals representation,” Wirtz said. “Without inclusion, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent that leads to business growth won’t happen.”


Wirtz leads a “Diversity & Inclusion Alliance” comprised of representatives in every Breakthru market in North America, and the group regularly discusses best practices in implementing D&I initiatives in all the local markets.   


We wanted to share some recent examples of D&I Alliance initiatives and how their efforts in ideating inclusive practices are being put into place across all our Breakthru markets.




Employee Spotlight: The Maryland team celebrates all the different people who work in that office, and one thing they do every month is publish “Employee Spotlight” features that are emailed to all associates. Each edition highlights two associates and they answer a series of questions that tells their story. It’s a really helpful program that helps associates get to know one another.


Diversity Awareness: Every month, the Maryland office sends a diversity-themed newsletter to all their associates educating them on a specific topic. For instance, when it was Women’s History Month in March, associates received an in-depth email telling the story of the history of the monthly celebration.


South Region


Celebrate Diversity Month: In April, Breakthru’s South Region associates (FL, SC, VA) joined together for “Celebrate Diversity Month,” which started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all to gain an understanding of each other.


Throughout the month, associates received tips on how to become immersed in the diversity initiative, with projects ranging from pot luck meals celebrating a variety of cultures, watching movies that deal with diverse topics and many more.




Values Tree: Associates each chose one of the company values and wrote a letter about what that value means to them, and the letters were posted on a tree in the front lobby so that all associates can learn more about which values drive each of them.




Pride Month: While Breakthru IL is celebrating its 10th year as a proud partner with Equality Illinois, an organization fighting for basic civil rights for LGBTQ Illinoisans, associates have opportunities to join Breakthru IL during Pride Month to support LGBTQ initiatives, including volunteering to help Equality Illinois at Pride Fest and walking with Breakthru’s partner brands who are participating in the Pride Parade.




Ted Talk Tuesdays: At this monthly event, Colorado associates come together to watch a popular TED Talk that deals with a variety of subjects meant to engage and educate, and the team has an open discussion afterwards to discuss the topic.


Shout Out Cards: Every department has a box with “shout out” cards where associates can give praise to a fellow employee for doing a great job, and the cards are prominently displayed in the front lobby for everyone to see.


Group (All Markets)


D&I Initiatives: Across Breakthru’s entire North American footprint, we recently launched two trainings for all associates and leadership to participate in where they can learn how to promote and celebrate diversity on our team. Also, Breakthru is participating in the 2018 Women in the Workplace study, which is a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. This training will give us the tools to promote women’s leadership and foster gender equality among the workforce.
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