JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Swisher International is launching a new Inclusion, Diversity & Transformation strategy that includes multiple steps to combat the effects of systemic racism and social injustice.
Company leadership consulted with Black business leaders to identify actions Swisher could take to create meaningful and lasting social change, the company said.
"It's abundantly clear that our country and corporate America are long overdue in addressing racial inequality," stated Swisher International President John J. Miller. "We're going to do our part at Swisher by redefining the work we do in three core areas: business, education and civic participation. Additionally, we're creating a new Inclusion, Diversity & Transformation strategy that builds sustainable plans to help the community and the brand within each of the three core areas."
In one of Swisher's first steps to support the initiative, the company appointed Alexandria Deal to the newly created role of manager of inclusion, diversity & transformation. She will be responsible for recognizing, creating and implementing plans to promote diversity as well as co-developing programs to support each of the core areas of focus, and will report directly to Miller.
"I'm thrilled to be taking on this new responsibility at Swisher," said Deal. "With the support of our leadership team, I look forward to helping create change within our business as well as within the communities where we live and work."
Swisher's Inclusion, Diversity & Transformation strategy launches this month and will:
- Increase awareness about diversity and inclusion to ensure Swisher provides an open and welcoming environment for all employees;
- Partner with multicultural groups and organizations that can help advance the initiatives of the core program goals;
- Create opportunities for Black-owned businesses;
- Develop a talent pipeline with Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and
- Create sustainable corporate and field career opportunities for minorities within Swisher International.
Swisher's business incubator for Black-owned companies is expected to launch in 2021 and will offer business development resources.
"Through our research and discussions, we learned that while new Black-owned businesses encounter similar problems to all start-ups, they also face their own unique challenges including a need for mentorship, capital access, research and product distribution," Miller said. "The goal of the incubator project is to provide unique solutions and opportunities to Black entrepreneurs, start-ups and small business owners."
Swisher is also expanding its existing relationship with multicultural strategic and communications firm NIMBUS, which is known for its diversity, equity and inclusion expertise and diverse marketing experience.
NIMBUS has supported Swisher on multiple brands to enhance its consumer activations and expand audience reach for more than five years. Deal will work directly with NIMBUS to develop a comprehensive strategy for short-, medium- and long-term initiatives.
"I applaud John and the Swisher team for engaging our agency right away on this important initiative," said Stacey Wade, NIMBUS CEO and executive creative director. "They're being bold about taking strong steps forward while remaining authentic to their brand promise. We're confident that together we will implement an inclusion and diversity strategy that generates positive social impact, both internally and externally, for their company."
Jacksonville-based Swisher International’s portfolio includes cigar brands Swisher Sweets, King Edward, Optimo Natural Leaf, and Santa Fe; smokeless tobacco brands including Lancaster, Mail Pouch, Chattanooga Chew, and Starr chewing tobacco; Kayak and Creek moist snuffs; and Rogue alternative nicotine products.