As part of its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion as a key enabler of business success, Berkshire Hathaway’s Lubrizol has appointed Cheree Aspelin as the company’s first Chief Diversity Officer. In this role, Aspelin will continue to advance the company’s organizational capability by further embedding diversity and inclusion (D&I) across Lubrizol’s workforce, culture, systems and processes.
Aspelin also will hold HR leadership responsibilities for culture, talent management, talent development and organization design and effectiveness.
Aspelin has been a tireless advocate for culture, diversity and inclusion throughout her career, most recently serving as senior director for Lubrizol’s culture and inclusion efforts. Her successful 25-year career has focused on culture, talent development, training, and change management roles, including leadership roles with BP and JP Morgan Chase.
The addition of Chief Diversity Officer is a significant step in Lubrizol’s on-going D&I journey. For years, the company has embraced policies and programs that recognize and nurture a diverse and inclusive workforce, including training related to bias and inclusion and a strong network of Employee Resource Groups. Forbes named the company as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity in both 2019 and 2020.
The company believes additional improvements will lead to even greater innovation and success. The company’s D&I approach rests on three pillars:
• Owned by the Organization – All Lubrizol employees have a shared accountability to drive toward a more inclusive work environment. The company’s global D&I Council, Inclusion Advocates and Employee Resource Groups provide examples of shared ownership to raise awareness and offer opportunities for greater connection.
• Measured to Track Success – Many years of experience have taught us that we must have meaningful measurements to track success if we are to realize sustainable organizational improvement. The company adopted gender-based goals in 2019, committing to increase the percentage of women in senior leadership roles. In 2020, the company expanded its diversity and inclusion goals to address two additional areas of impact: increasing the representation of Black employees and Black senior-level leaders within the U.S. and expanding the geographic diversity of senior-level leaders across the company.
• Embedded into Systems and Processes – To be successful in these goals, diversity and inclusion are being further embedded into company systems and processes. The company has been updating and improving HR processes, including new ways of working related to internal job posting, candidate assessments and increased workplace flexibility options with the intention of attracting, retaining and promoting the best talent to help us achieve our business goals.
The company also has re-engineered its university scholarship and recruiting programs to ensure it is reaching more students traditionally underrepresented in the industry and is enabling hiring and promotion practices that help reduce bias and evaluate candidates in a consistent, objective and transparent manner.
“We are committed to building on the strength of our culture to ensure a truly inclusive environment where talented people can be their absolute best,” said Eric Schnur, Lubrizol Chairman, President and CEO. “An environment where different experiences, perspectives and ideas are not only welcomed, but celebrated. We are building a more capable company as a result, and Cheree’s appointment to Chief Diversity Officer furthers our commitment and will meaningfully advance our progress.”
© 2021 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.