Safeway to Be Honored for its Initiatives to Advance Women

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Supermarket chain Safeway, Inc. here is among the winners of the 2006 Catalyst awards, which recognize companies for "outstanding initiatives to advance women in business." Catalyst is a nationwide gender diversity advocacy group with offices in New York; San Jose, Calif.; and Toronto.

The awards will be presented at Catalyst's Annual Gala Dinner March 16 in New York. BP p.l.c. and the Chubb Corp. will also be honored with 2006 Catalyst awards.

"Catalyst Award winners understand that in today's global marketplace, advancing women and promoting diversity is a strategic business imperative with bottom-line impact," said Catalyst president Ilene H. Lang in a statement. "Their leadership recognizes the advantage of building a diverse management team that reflects their customers and employees, and reaches new markets. As drivers of positive change, these three outstanding initiatives are innovative and replicable, with significant, measurable results."

Catalyst was impressed with Safeway's integrated strategy, which features "comprehensive career development and mentoring programs combined with rigorous tracking and accountability systems, which have resulted in the substantial advancement of women -- including women of color -- to management positions."

"Safeway seeks to promote management talent from within, drawing from all levels, including entry-level store employees, to fill its leadership ranks. Diversity Advisory Boards, which work with division and corporate leaders, support the initiative, providing strategic direction on issues of diversity and inclusion, observing progress on diversity goals, and playing a role in maintaining consistency across locations," the group said.

Safeway's initiative also features a mentoring program that requires all managers to mentor diverse talent, and the Retail Leadership Development program, which trains retail employees to be store managers, a path which can lead to corporate management. Safeway "tracks the success of its programs by ensuring that compensation and advancement criteria include employees' abilities to meet diversity goals," Catalyst said.

According to Catalyst, since 2000, there has been a 40 percent increase in the representation of women in store management ranks, a 34 percent increase in the representation of white women, and a 65 percent increase in the representation of women of color. Safeway's representation of women at the v.p. level rose from 12 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2005.

Previous Catalyst Award winners include Accenture, Avon, Deloitte & Touche, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee Corp., and SC Johnson.
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