Fifteen years ago, few organizations realized the need to recognize the growing significance of the Hispanic community and their contributions in the US. NielsenIQ’s (erstwhile Nielsen) first employee resource group (ERG) was HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leaders in Action). It started in 2006: its purpose was to empower Hispanic employees, increase workplace engagement, improve corporate policies, and enrich work and home communities.
Throughout the past fifteen years, the company has worked to create a strong Hispanic community and provide professional development opportunities. “The mission and influence of HOLA has continued to evolve,” says Myriam Vidalon, senior vice president of diversity, talent, and culture.
Last year, NielsenIQ held an unusual quinceañera that perfectly exemplified the company’s commitment to this community. Participants didn’t dress up to eat enchiladas, tamales, and arroz before ending the party by cutting an elaborate cake lined with dolls. This quineceañera didn’t mark a young girl’s transition to womanhood, either—it was thrown to honor fifteen years of inclusion for Hispanics in the workplace at NielsenIQ.
The event brought together the company’s most senior leaders, including the CEO, chief human resources officer, and chief transformation officer, to highlight the contributions and celebrate the diversity of Hispanic employees at NielsenIQ. “Being an HOLA ERG leader for three years truly helped me navigate the company in different ways,” Vidalon says as she recalls her leadership of HOLA at the start of her career and how the ERG shaped her own path within NielsenIQ. “From gaining visibility to senior leaders, showcasing my ability to set a strategy and execute, all the way to mobilizing volunteers to work with purpose, this experience fueled my passion for D&I and shaped my career path.
“Our plan is to continue to strengthen the leadership support, development, and visibility of Hispanics at NielsenIQ,” the SVP continues. “We used this milestone celebration to reflect on having this conversation about inclusion for fifteen years and inspire other groups that have followed in HOLA’s footsteps to strengthen our multicultural workforce.”
“If you listen to your colleagues, you build empathy, and empathetic teams can empower people and solve problems.”Myriam Vidalon
NielsenIQ has 2,500 employees in nine total ERGs that not only emphasize corporate inclusion but also bring measurable business outcomes. “We have operations in nearly one hundred markets around the world, and we need to reflect what real consumers look and sound like in the marketplace,” Vidalon says. “We can’t do that with accuracy if we are all the same.” With a diverse and engaged workforce, NielsenIQ ensures its measurements and reports accurately represent the population.
After her first year of college, Vidalon toured the most remote parts of her native country of Peru. Interacting with shopkeepers, artisans, farmers, children, musicians, and laypeople changed her life. “I was surrounded by different cultures even in my own homeland, and I started to understand the value and richness these differences bring to one country,” she says.
Vidalon returned home determined to think about diversity and inclusion long before D&I was a corporate buzzword. She earned a degree in marketing from the University of Tampa and took a job at Nielsen.
Sixteen years later, Vidalon is helping her company integrate diversity, inclusion, and accountability into all that it does. Since taking on the diversity leadership role in 2018, she has solicited feedback on existing ERGs, crowdsourced new ideas, and launched initiatives designed to evolve and reshape the D&I program. During her tenure, the company has grown its ERG presence from twenty-five to eighty-four countries and from fifty to six hundred volunteer leaders. Additionally, Vidalon created local “inclusion impact” teams that welcome new hires, build culture, and serve as the regional voice to amplify each ERG.
In 2021, NielsenIQ’s D&I team (led by Vidalon) received sponsorship support from the CEO and NielsenIQ customer success leadership and introduced NielsenIQ University, a one-semester data analytics training program that gives historically underrepresented students the chance to explore careers in the popular consumer packaged goods industry. Enrolled students receive a stipend, mentoring opportunities, professional development, and references for internships and job interviews.
“This program is a true statement to our commitment to contributing to a better and more equal CPG industry,” Vidalon says. “By investing in our youth, we will move closer to ensuring Hispanics are represented in the data and marketing analytics space.”
In response to social unrest and growing racial issues in America, Vidalon and her team of D&I practitioners also launched The Home Truth Series, a collection of firsthand accounts from employees that help colleagues learn from their personal experiences with racial bias. “If you listen to your colleagues, you build empathy, and empathetic teams can empower people and solve problems,” Vidalon says.
NielsenIQ is also helping brands and advertisers understand multicultural consumers. According to findings by NielsenIQ, “consumers of all cultural backgrounds have demanded that businesses take action to diversify, be more inclusive, and less biased.”
Hispanic consumers care about causes like homelessness and food insecurity, the company has found. They want to make a difference in their communities, and so does NielsenIQ.
“At NielsenIQ, we want to provide truths and facts that can create food equity for underrepresented communities worldwide,” Vidalon says. “Showcasing what we know through these reports, it’s the first step of the journey. Whenever we turn to our Hispanic Heritage diaries, there will always be a page to learn from [in terms of] how our people challenged status quo, brought in perspectives at work, and inspired through their personal stories to build this inclusive culture.”