ForceBrands was on the ground in Anaheim, Calif., during Expo West 2018 and was proud to host several events on Friday from Founder Hour, to the Expo West Afterparty, to Rise Up.

ForceBrands partnered with VMG Partners to host Rise Up, a unique forum designed to bring together diverse professionals within the CPG industry to crowdsource resources for “the next big ideas” to ultimately accelerate careers. Nearly 100 people, from Brand Managers to CEOs, attended the event which took place from 7:30-9:30pm PST at Bowlmor Anaheim.

Prior to the event, attendees were encouraged to submit their next big idea that would accelerate their career. The room was set up with all of the shared submissions and attendees walked around and indicated if they could serve as a resource for any of the ideas. ForceBrands and VMG will continue to keep this conversation going by connecting those who submitted their ideas to the appropriate resources.

“ForceBrands and VMG were excited to partner to shine light on this important issue in our industry,” Jennifer Ornovitz, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications at ForceBrands, said. “We wanted to create an event where people could receive real insight and resources to help them advance in their careers to create more diversity at the top.”

Vice President of Talent at VMG Partners, Cassie Nielsen, gave introductory remarks and discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“If you don’t have a multicultural strategy, then you don’t have a growth strategy,” Nielsen said, who highlighted several surprising industry statistics:

  • Women are responsible for or have the final say on 80 percent of consumer purchases.
  • Consumers of color represent an outsized percentage of consumers who purchase hair care, skin care, personal care, dry vegetables and grains, bottled water and refrigerated drinks.
  • Nearly 40 percent of African Americans between the ages of 18-34, and 41 percent of African Americans 35 years of age or older, expect the brands they buy to support social causes.
  • African Americans are more likely than non-Hispanic white peers to interact with brands on social media or use social networks to support companies and brands.
  • 43 percent of the 75M Millennials in the U.S. identify as African America, Hispanic, or Asian

ForceBrands’ Executive Recruiter and Division Director for Sales and Marketing, Anna Johnson, also gave remarks and thanked everyone for coming together.

For many, Rise Up extended beyond the evening’s event.

“As part of the Rise Up initiative, we saw the importance of starting the diversity conversation early with up-and-coming professionals who were just about to enter the workforce,” Ornovitz said. “ForceBrands and VMG put out a call for applications to students of diverse backgrounds who were interested in working in the industry to join us for an interactive ‘Day in the Life of Natural Products.'”

New Hope Network donated complimentary passes for the selected students to attend Expo West for a day filled with one-on-one workshops, interactive discussions with founders and CEOs, and an opportunity to walk the floor of the industry’s largest natural products trade show. Later that night, the students joined the Rise Up party where they had the chance to network with industry leaders and rising talent and to see the crowdsourcing of resources for the next big ideas in the industry.

ForceBrands looks forward to continuing to build this community.