March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day that has been observed since the early 1900s but has gained more recognition in recent years. The day was founded to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and as a call to action for gender parity. Celebrating International Women’s Day is about unity and celebration, reflection and action—both locally and globally. As a women-owned company, it is also a day Edlong takes great personal pride in honoring.
Celebrating International Women’s Day is About Equality
At Edlong, we have long been proponents of gender equality; it’s not only a cause intrinsic to our company and our values, but those of our CEO, Laurette Rondenet. For example, Edlong is the only flavor company certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), where Laurette serves as a board member and on the Certification Committee, and has been appointed to a position on the Women’s Enterprise Forum. Additionally, Laurette was selected to join the International Women’s Forum (IWF), and is very involved with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), where she serves on the board of the Spirit Foundation for young women entrepreneurs. She also is very active with their Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel. She recently appeared as part of the YEA! CEO Roundtable at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and participates in the organization’s YEA! Investor Panel. The most recent Investor Panel event took place March 5 and included a Meet and Greet reception with the young entrepreneurs, followed by business pitches. The panel awarded $10,000 of seed money to support proposed new ventures. And those are just some of the many causes Laurette supports, is a member of, and in which she is actively engaged.
The involvement of Laurette in social and women’s causes is only a reflection of the values that all of us share at Edlong. Our commitment to gender equality, and of diversity, can be seen in all facets of our organization. Nearly half of our managers are minorities, and nearly half of our company executives are women. In 2017, we were recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s Best Places to Work for Minorities. We actively seek opportunities to develop the next generation of scientists and particularly food scientists—including young women through the support of Girls Inc., and economically underprivileged students who need career mentorship. We are members and supporters of NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council), and BDR (Billion Dollar Roundtable).
Our mission is to: Enrich the Lives of Those We Touch. We strive to adhere to this principle every day through our products, partnerships, diversity and corporate social responsibility practices. The tenets of celebrating International Women’s Day are part of our daily culture.
We believe diversity makes us stronger, and better. “Our mission is to enrich the lives of everyone we touch, and that starts with people,” says Laurette. “We have always encouraged multiple viewpoints and building an inclusive culture with a larger collective experience that helps us serve our customers better.” We value diversity of thought through the wide range of talents of our team. Our ability to balance artistry and science in order to reinvent the authentic taste of dairy is as unique as it is valuable to our clients.
Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day and gender equality–not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. For while International Women’s Day is a day worth cherishing, it is only a small part of the efforts needed for building gender balance and growing respect. Let’s all do our part to improve it.