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Nielsen Supports Active Black Leadership in South Africa

3 minute read | February 2019

We’re excited to share that we’ve launched a South African chapter of our Sustaining Active Black Leadership & Empowerment (SABLE) employee resource group (ERG) in Johannesburg during a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) town hall meeting late last year. This is one of Nielsen’s first SABLE chapters outside the U.S., and SABLE will have a presence throughout our offices in the country.

To kick off the launch, Myriam Vidalon, who leads our nine global ERGs, walked attendees through our global D&I strategy and structure and introduced them to SABLE. Next, she spoke about how the group will help us continue to empower our diverse associates and enrich the community by increasing our adherence to the standards of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE).

B-BBEE is a program implemented by the South African government to encourage businesses to employ, promote, transfer ownership to and transact with demographic groups previously disadvantaged under Apartheid. Nielsen is committed to empowering diverse associates and consumers in each of the 100-plus countries where we operate, and SABLE will help us ensure our strategy is robust and relevant in South Africa.

“Our continued focus on B-BBEE in our South African offices is a reflection of our commitment to promoting and developing diverse talent and businesses, as well as reinvesting in the markets where we operate,” said Bryan Sun, Managing Director, Africa for Nielsen. “Thus, our D&I strategy in our South African offices is essential not only to the strength of our workforce but also to our ability to do business across South Africa. The launch of SABLE will enhance our ability to achieve better business results for us and our clients.”

Unconscious bias training
Myriam Vidalon (standing) leading an Unconscious Bias training.

Myriam also led unconscious bias workshops for managers, which help ensure all our associates around the world have a consistent understanding around what D&I is, why it matters and how each associate’s inclusive behaviors contribute to our company’s culture and our clients’ business goals. Training participants were energized by these sessions, implementing action plans in their everyday roles to ensure they are empowering their diverse colleagues and giving associates from all backgrounds a seat—and a voice—at the table.

The SABLE South Africa launch is a practical example of how we adapt our D&I strategy to the unique needs of each of the more than 100 countries where we operate. When planning the launch, we turned to our South African diversity committee, made up of the region’s senior leadership, HR staff and a global inclusion ambassador, who leads D&I engagement in the region. We asked them to let us know what benchmarks and best practices to be aware of as we design our D&I strategy to fit the region. The group unanimously agreed that greater adherence to the standards of B-BBEE was not just better business, but the right thing to do. And the launch of SABLE is just one piece in a puzzle that includes skills training, a robust supplier diversity program and hiring initiatives.

WIN ERG in Africa
Myriam Vidalon (left), Bryan Sun (center) and Funda Kalemci (right) during Myriam and Funda’s visit.

Myriam and Funda Kalemci, Global Leader of Diversity & Inclusion Programs for Nielsen, toured several of our African offices before the SABLE launch in South Africa. Myriam and Funda promoted  our ERGs throughout their trip, while also leading D&I seminars and workshops that encouraged associates to become D&I advocates in their everyday roles.

“Our Diversity & Inclusion team’s understanding of what works around the world is constantly evolving,” said Myriam. “We rely on our local associates to help inform our understanding so we can provide resources and support that empower them to craft an inclusive culture that supports both Nielsen and our clients’ businesses in the markets we serve.”

Pictured above: Nielsen associates celebrate the launch of SABLE South Africa.