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Puma’s DEI officer Michelle Marshall discuses being the 1st in that role

Michelle Marshall is cultivating a culture of diversity and inclusion at Puma

Michelle Marshall is the diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for PUMA North America. In Marshall’s role with PUMA, she is responsible for overseeing, designing, and implementing change initiatives that foster a culture of diversity and inclusion while driving employee engagement across all offices and stores in the United States and Canada.

What are your current responsibilities?

I’m PUMA’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion leader. In terms of my role, I hit the ground running building out what DEI looks like for Puma. We launched a very ambitious strategy back in 2020, which we entitled Reform the Workplace. The strategy focuses on five pillars, which are focused on our environment, how we’re enhancing our culture, and making sure we’re truly building a sense of belonging for all of our employees. A second pillar is talent, the strategies that we’re putting in place to not only attract underrepresented talent but what are we doing in the environment to retain our existing talent. Our third pillar is education, all the things that we’re doing from a training standpoint, cultural competency, learnings, and just those real conversations, to make sure that our employees are well informed on their various aspects of diversity. Our fourth pillar is advocacy and that just basically covers how we’re showing up in the community when it comes to our investments. What are we doing from a volunteerism standpoint, and also what are we doing in terms of our social justice initiatives? Our fifth pillar is marketplace, and that’s just everything we’re doing when as it pertains to our consumers, products, campaigns, how we’re showing that when it comes to supplier diversity, and all those things to make sure that we’re truly talking the talk and walking the walk.

What is one of the biggest obstacles that you currently face when it comes to hiring and retaining a diverse pool of qualified candidates, including women, racial minorities, LGBTQIA+  individuals, and persons with disabilities?

Well, from the standpoint of women, we at Puma do a phenomenal job when it comes to representation with women. from a global standpoint, and from a North American standpoint, we’re almost down the middle when it comes to representation. And we still have more opportunities, of course, but we’re doing a great job there. When it comes to people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ ai plus community, sometimes it’s a little bit more difficult because you can’t track that coming into the door. And people don’t always disclose if they have a disability. But what you can do is make sure you’re being intentional as a brand and showing up in certain spaces, showing up at certain events, making sure that you’re intentionally putting policies and things in place within your work environment that’s going out going to attract those populations.

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