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Alex Rowe from McDonald’s talks about how McDonald’s has supported her career ambitions and helped her feel more comfortable about speaking about issues to do with race.
McDonald’s won this year’s Top Employer Award for Career Progression for Women. We spoke to Alex Rowe, a Learning and Development Officer at the company, about how its approach has helped her.
Alex Rowe has been at McDonald’s for 15 years and currently facilitates and delivers McDonald’s leadership curriculum across the UK and Ireland through project work and planning. She says the company has always supported her ambitions. Alex, who is also a trusted business partner to the company’s corporate and operations teams, says: “At McDonald’s we are driven by our values and one of them is inclusion which creates a great culture to work in. The company has always offered me opportunities to progress my career and helped by supporting me to reach my personal goals.”
One of those goals was to work on the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion agenda. Alex asked her line manager about how she could do that and was told about the Ethnic Future Leaders programme. After speaking to her line manager, she was selected to join the programme.
The programme made a big impact on Alex. She says: “I can’t understate the impact that the programme has had on me, both personally and professionally. Before taking part in the programme, I’d never had the courage to tell my story and openly speak about the challenges I face being part of an underrepresented group. I learned a lot through the connections I made with business leaders from across business. I particularly valued the chance to partner up with an executive-level mentee as part of the programme’s reverse mentoring scheme.”
She adds: “ It was an honour to represent McDonald’s on such a ground-breaking programme.” The company was a key sponsor of the programme.
Alex [pictured right] says that, professionally, the programme has made her more confident and helped her to better understand the next steps she wants to take in her career. She states: “I feel better able to express what my ambitions are for my career, and this will be key to helping me to achieve those goals.”
I learned a lot through the connections I made with business leaders from across business. I particularly valued the chance to partner up with an executive-level mentee as part of the programme’s reverse mentoring scheme.
Personally it has given Alex the tools to speak more openly with family, particularly her sister, about what it means to be a leader both at work and at home. She says: “This is something we’ve never spoken about before, and has brought us closer together and we are able to support and respect each other more. I have found that I am more comfortable talking about DE&I, especially around issues to do with race. This has allowed colleagues and friends to ask me questions and learn from my experiences as a mixed race woman.”
*Alex features in this year’s Best Practice Report, which includes all the winners of WM People’s Top Employer Awards. It will be published on 9th June and is free to download from our site.