Empowering Women: A Chat with Coca-Cola Women’s Leadership Council


HipLatina had the chance to speak with Sarah Marske, Manager, Commercial and Constituents, from The Coca-Cola Company who celebrated the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month 2016 in Miami last weekend with Nely Galán with interactive activities in Miami. The Adelante Movement is part of the Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 initiative to advance women’s economic empowerment around the globe. The organization aims to empower 5 million female entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020.

HipLatina: How does the Adelante Movement fit within the greater vision of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative?

Sarah Marske Nely Galan

Sarah Marske: Coca-Cola recognizes that women are the pillars of our communities. In fact, an interesting statistic is that women reinvest around 90% of the income they earn back into their families and into their communities. So we know that empowering women means creating stronger communities and spurring economic growth. This is why Coca-Cola started the 5by20 initiative in 2011, to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across our value chain by the year 2020… helping them overcome barriers to success in business by providing them access to training, resources, capital, and networking opportunities.

The Adelante Movement is one our valued partners in achieving our 5by20 goals in the U.S. The mission of Adelante is to unite and empower Latinas economically and businesswise.

Latinas are the emerging economic market in the U.S. and have a strong entrepreneurial appetite. In fact, over the past 10 years, there has been a 200% increase in businesses owned by Latinas. But in spite of this development, women still face many barriers to success—including access to training and information, access to funding and tools to drive their business revenue.

This is why it’s so important that Coca-Cola work with The Adelante Movement to help close these gaps and break down these barriers to success. Adelante provides training, inspiration, and motivation to Latinas in the U.S. to show them how to start and grow their own businesses as a pathway to help them achieve economic independence.

HL: Please explain the idea of empowering women in the Coca-Cola “value chain”?

SM: Empowering women across our value chain means empowering women who connect to, or have the potential to connect to, our business in one way or another—for example, as a supplier, a customer who sells our products, as a distributor, or as recycler. The core of our 5by20 work in the U.S. focusses on connecting to potential suppliers and customers. One of the main ways we connect with our value chain through The Adelante Movement is providing training in the food service industry.

Food service, and especially the Hispanic foods and restaurants industry, is growing—salsa now outsells ketchup; tortillas now outsell pasta. There are so many entrepreneurial opportunities for Latinas in the food service space.

This is why Adelante & Coca-Cola have partnered with the Women’s Foodservice Forum to host two webinar series on “How to Become Self Made in the Food Industry.” The first series is coming up this fall in October and includes three webinars teaching women about how to start and grow different types of businesses in the food industry, from being a food supplier to owning a franchise.

Empowering Latinas in the food service industry gives them the opportunity to tap into this growing marketing, which as a result will drive economic growth in communities across our country.

HL: Please update us on progress toward the mission of 5by20. Has the program evolved since its inception?

SM: To date, we have enabled 1.3 million women globally through 5by20, and training over 20,000 Latinas in entrepreneurship via The Adelante Movement.

HL: Thanks so much for speaking to us today!

SM: Thanks to you!

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