Be the Change Job Fair, a joint initiative between Diversity in Wine & Spirits, Wonder Women of Wine, and other industry leaders, took place on December 2-3. The two-day event brought together like-minded companies including job technology industry leaders Brazen and ForceBrands’ specialized beverage hiring division BevForce, to enhance and diversify the wine industry.

The event was founded by four of the wine industry’s leading women in wine: Lia Jones, Founder and Executive Director, Diversity in Wine & Spirits; Rania Zayyat, Founder and President, Wonder Women of Wine; Cara Bertone, National Accounts Sales Manager, Folio Fine Wine Partners; and Philana Bouvier, VP, Fine Wine, RNDC, Chair, WSWA Women’s Leadership Council.

Be The Change Virtual Job Fair kicked off December 2, 2020 with a revolutionary roundtable discussion amongst respected wine industry leaders in a conversation about exploring, implementing, and embracing true diversity and inclusion for all.

The one-hour discussion included the following changemakers: Dr. Hoby Wedler, Sensory Innovation Director – Sensepoint Design; Stephanie Gallo, C.M.O. – E. & J. Gallo; Bobby Stuckey, Master Sommelier and Partner – Frasca Food and Wine; Susana Balbo, Founder, Winemaker – Susana Balbo Wines; Philana Bouvier (Moderator), VP Fine Wine – Republic National Distributing Company; and Lia Jones, Founder and Executive Director – Diversity in Wine & Spirits.

“As a woman in wine in the industry and advocate for women empowerment, I immediately saw the negative effect that COVID-19 had on employment and diversity. I saw an opportunity to bring women that I admire together in an innovative space created to pave the way for a better future. We will implement change in multiple industries, starting with wine and tech, and also submit groundbreaking legislation,” said Be the Change Co-Founder, Philana Bouvier.

Bouvier kicked off the roundtable discussion with a question for Balbo, who shared what DEI has meant to her throughout her entrepreneurial career and why it’s important to have trust and confidence in yourself.

Bouvier then asked Dr. Wedler to share his experiences with DEI and how being open-minded can help create a more inclusive environment for all.

“I really do believe that oftentimes when we think about people we might work with, we might judge them without really understanding what they’re good at and what they can do. And what I really like to do with DEI is listen and understand people and know everyone for their individual self and really bring out the best in people, which I think all of us, no matter who we are have something huge to bring to the table, and something really important to say,” Dr. Wedler said. “Very simply put, diversity, equity, inclusion to me is sitting down and listening to those conversations and not judging based on the way someone looks or the way they act or the way they sound.”

Following Dr. Wedler’s remarks, Bouvier turned the conversation over to Gallo, who shared some of the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Stuckey followed Gallo’s remarks and shared some of the DEI initiatives that he and his company have implemented.

Bouvier then directed a question to Jones who discussed what diversity means, and why it’s important to look at it in its entirety.

The discussion opened up to a Q&A session where all panelists had the opportunity to share additional insights.

The virtual job fair on Dec. 3 continued to drive the conversation around DEI. For additional information about the initiative, visit Be the Change’s website.