Continuously Learning

Devastating and deadly events over the last two years – a pandemic that disproportionately impacted communities of color and long overdue awareness of social injustice and systemic racism – fueled our work and accelerated action. To create meaningful, sustainable change, we supported our team members to digest current events, share lived experiences, listen with an open mindset and adopt inclusive behaviors. We worked to engage team members and customers in a safe space to allow them to share their experiences and learn from one another. And we leaned into conversations about the impact of COVID-19, racism and inequality and the impact on our team members both personally and professionally through a range of “Brave Conversations” and “Moments to Connect.”

United, our company sought ways to use its purpose, reach and positioning as a healthcare provider to educate its workforce on the healthcare disparities facing Black and Brown communities and identify ways to drive positive change. 2020-2021 was a critical period of listening, learning and acting.

Everyday Champions Driving Real Change

Our WBA business resource groups (BRGs) and field chapters help team members to develop programs that drive inclusion, education and engagement. Formed and led by team members who volunteer their time, BRGs enable participants to learn and collaborate and help connect WBA more closely to the multicultural and multifaceted communities we serve.  BRGs help advance a culture of inclusion at WBA while supporting and aligning with business priorities.

logo: African American Leadership Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Asian Connect Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Black, Asia and Minority Ethnic Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: disAbility Alliance Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Environmental Sustainability Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: InclusivIT Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Latin Professionals Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Mosaic Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: NextGen Empowerment Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Pride Alliance Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Shades of the World, Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: W-Vets Walgreens Boots Alliance
logo: Women of WBA Walgreens Boots Alliance

An essential element of our WBA community, our BRG leaders and members provide opportunities for their peers to share ideas and experiences while broadening their networks and perspectives and building a true sense of community. In 2020, for example, our BRGs spoke up and stood up to help break down barriers and unify one another in response to the racial equity movement. In an open letter signed by all global BRG Chairs following the murder of George Floyd, these team members condemned racism and committed their support as allies with their Black team members and the Black community as a whole. They encouraged everyone to “be willing to listen, take time to learn, and, finally, take action by making a genuine effort to better support and contribute to the movement.”

Moving beyond words, our BRGs quickly and thoughtfully took action, sponsoring a wide range of programs and forums in which leaders and team members could share and listen to the experiences, views and feelings of their peers and customers. They provided safe spaces to learn about and openly engage in the social justice movement and enable change.

WBA Business Resource Group Leaders

“Recognize that this is a journey. The reason that we refer to it as the racial equity movement is because we are still on our way. The goal is to keep moving forward toward equality, and whether you are on Day 1 of your journey or you have been fighting the fight for a long time, we are walking alongside our Black colleagues toward a better, brighter, more equal future.”

- WBA Business Resource Group leaders

in an open letter to WBA team members

Creating a Safe Place to Listen and Learn

Our efforts to broaden racial understanding reach every part of our global company. The UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and U.S. African American Leadership BRGs follow this link to learn more about African American Leadership BRGs, will open in new tab. hosted cross-divisional listening and learning sessions. Following the murder of George Floyd, they created safe spaces for Black team members to share their experiences and start the conversation about racial inequity and for team members and allies to educate themselves about racism and social injustice.

Increasing Understanding

On International Day for Persons with Disabilities follow this link to learn more about International Day for Persons with Disabilities, will open in new tab., our disAbility Alliance BRG partnered with six other BRGs to create a full day of interactive events. The sessions ranged from panel discussions about DE&I to presentations on how to be an ally follow this link to learn how to become and ally, will open in new tab to understanding depression and remote learning.

Words are powerful and they can quickly shift how people perceive and react to any situation. With this awareness, our Pride Alliance BRGs hosted a session to help team members understand the language used to define the gender and sexuality identities in the LGBTQ+ community. As the speaker said, “We are all allies to someone.”

Our Latino Professionals BRG sponsored an educational program about “Immigration at the Border,” providing a firsthand view of the experiences of individuals attempting to immigrate to the U.S. for asylum.

To create understanding about the phrase "white privilege" and enable team members to talk about it and take action, our InclusivIT BRG sponsored a panel discussion. During the session, Demystifying DE&I, participants learned about the definition and meaning of this expression and what they can do to level the playing field.

Our AsianConnect BRG sponsored a panel discussion to raise awareness about the disturbing trend of increasing violence against Asian communities and ways to extend allyship to our Asian team members and friends. AsianConnect BRG Executive Sponsor Rina Shah led the discussion with Carlos Cubia, senior vice president and global chief diversity officer, and several other leaders from across WBA.

Empowering One Another

Working across their chapters, the Women of WBA BRG held seven-week, self-guided Learning Journeys. Each journey covers a career-defining hurdle, such as developing your personal brand, building your confidence and improving your negotiation skills. Women of WBA-US also partnered with the Next Gen Empowerment BRG to expand on the existing mentoring circles in the U.S.

Additionally, the Women of WBA-UK launched Lean In Circles follow link to learn more about lean in circles, will open in new tab, where small groups of women mentor and inspire one another, share skills and experiences, and celebrate each other’s successes.

Ladies at Lean In Circles

“Whether you need help navigating your new normal at work or are looking for support from women who understand what you’re going through, your Circle will give you the boost we all need.”

- Lean In Circles

Myth Busting: The Facts about COVID-19 Vaccinations

In the UK, our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic BRG hosted a discussion about COVID-19 and vaccination myths. During the discussion, Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist, Boots UK, shared an update about COVID-19 and debunked myths about the vaccination.

Read more stories about how BRGs are helping to build a culture of DE&I in the Building Talented and Diverse Teamssection of our 2020-21 DE&I Report.

Moving Out of the Fear Zone and into the Learning Zone
Listening to One Another

With a conscious bias for action and a recognition that fear of saying the wrong thing can lead to inaction, the leadership team for the No7 Beauty Company and WBA Global Sourcing established a new Racial Equity Movement team with diverse cross-functional representation. The group outlined a manifesto to “actively create an anti-racist culture reflected in our people, our ways of working and our brands,” and brought it to life with the company’s first DE&I Summits in January and May 2021. The team curated and hosted 22 inspiring events across two weeks with over 870 unique attendees, 4142 event visits and an open rate of 65 percent for the daily related spotlight newsletter.

DE&I Summit Participants

“It is not enough to sit back and let others make the change, you have to be part of it – educate yourself, be an ally for others and continue to learn (even if it is learning from mistakes).”

- DE&I Summit participant

Speaking Boldly, Taking a Stand

We established a key partnership with DIAL Global (DIAL) follow link to learn more about DIAL, will open in new tab to elevate our links and conversations with the broader business community on how we move the dial on DE&I. DIAL is a global community for Diverse Inclusive Aspirational Leaders. Their purpose is to create a more open, diverse and inclusive society, and help organizations grow authentic cultures to unlock more innovation, creativity and productivity. Our unlimited corporate membership gives team members access to a wide range of webinars, roundtable discussions, workshops, podcasts and more.

Expanding Awareness, Continually Learning

Last year, for the first time, WBA recognized Native American Heritage Month. Partnering with the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian follow link to learn more about Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, will open in new tab, WBA sponsored a presentation, Native American History and Health Status in the U.S. and Chicago. Our goal was not only to celebrate their culture but to promote better understanding of the indigenous peoples of the U.S. and build awareness of inequity in education, jobs and healthcare.

The American Indian and Alaska Native people have long experienced lower health status when compared with other Americans. Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist perhaps because of inadequate education, disproportionate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services, and cultural differences.

Programming included suggestions to learn more and help drive change, including taking a virtual Indigenous tour follow link to learn more about virtual Indigenous tour, will open in new tab. through Northwestern University, reading selected books and watching recommended documentaries.

From Unconscious Bias to Conscious Inclusion

Building on previous learning interventions, we deployed a global effort to help team members act on and shift the underlying attitudes and stereotypes – that gut feeling – people unconsciously attribute to another person or group. The training program, delivered in 13 languages, used the STOMP model (Stop, Take a Moment, Observe, Manage and Proceed) to help participants understand how unconscious bias impacts our decisions and how they can take steps to stomp it out – moving away from simple unconscious bias follow link to learn more about unconscious bias, will open in new tab training to conscious inclusion.

The training program, delivered in 13 languages, used the STOMP MODEL.

As a follow up to this, we developed a Global Inclusion in Action series and have already started to deploy the leader workshop to our senior leaders internationally. The module supports brave conversations and facilitates a learning journey of empathy, allyship and championship, covering key topics such as the importance of equity and privilege awareness. The team member modules are being developed and will be rolled out in fiscal 2022.