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Celebrating woman power with the appointment of our first female factory manager

KJ Aguinaga, first female factory manager of Nestlé Philippines
Woman power at Nestlé Philippines marks a major milestone with the recent appointment of Ms. KJ Aguinaga as Canlubang factor manager, the first female to hold such a position in the company’s history.

Nestlé Philippines is an advocate of gender balance, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace, which is why approximately 50% of its managerial positions are occupied by women.

As a global response to the gender gap, Nestlé began implementing the Nestlé Gender Balance Acceleration Plan in March 2019. This plan has increased the number of women in senior executive positions across the organization globally. Since the start of its implementation, there has been a 25% increase in senior executive posts occupied by women.

“Being the Canlubang Factory Manager gives me the opportunity to show that regardless of your gender, you can be whatever you want,” says Ms. Aguinaga, who is a self-confessed travel and nature lover, and photographer from Tanauan, Batangas. Despite being an only child, Ms. Aguinaga’s childhood was not at all solitary as she had 30 cousins who kept her company growing up. Her extended family held musical sessions in which she played either the piano or guitar. Ms. Aguinaga’s taste in sports also proves that regardless of gender, one can enjoy and be skilled at Taekwondo, basketball, and track and field.

Nestlé believes that driving diversity and inclusion in the workplace leads to a positive change in the organization. Moreover, to empower women across the value chain, Nestlé leaders hold themselves accountable by setting measurable gender-balance goals and supporting women through talent management practices, and sponsorship programs to prepare high-potential women for senior key executive positions.

“In this role, I have the chance to teach people, touch their hearts, and eventually, hopefully, I can transform their lives. I see it as my proudest moment, having this golden opportunity to touch more lives. Nestlé inspires me to make a difference,” Ms. Aguinaga elaborates.

In addition to the Nestlé Gender Balance Acceleration Plan, Nestlé provides training to reduce unconscious bias and programs on sexual harassment prevention. This is part of the organization’s long-term commitment to women empowerment and gender balance, and to promote a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion. To date, 89% of Nestlé managers worldwide have been trained in unconscious bias and sexual harassment prevention.

At the same time, Nestlé’s Parental Support Policy supports all forms of family set-ups: biological or adoptive parents, including same-sex partners, single parents, and legal guardians. Maternity leave is extended from 15 weeks (105 days) to 18 weeks (126 days) of fully paid leave, allowing primary caregivers to be present in giving their children the best start in life. Paternity leave is extended from 9 days to 4 weeks of paid leave, recognizing the key role of secondary caregivers during the first few weeks after birth.

The movement to support a more gender-inclusive workplace continues for organizations that Choose to Challenge gender norms. Ms. Aguinaga believes that challenging these norms starts within the person. Trying and learning new things lead to the best version of oneself.

“As women, we have multiple roles to play, at home and at work, and it’s important to start with YOURSELF. Find the time and opportunity to nourish yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally—even before you do it for others. Don’t be afraid to try and learn. We will have challenges along the way but that leads to important learning that will make you bolder and stronger. We are in a difficult situation now with the pandemic, so give yourself a pat on the back—you have been doing great in adapting to all the changes! Remember, you are not alone,” Ms. Aguinaga says.

By embracing diversity and inclusion, Nestlé Philippines fosters a workplace that inspires and empowers women, and in turn, creates a better society. In solidarity with the women of the world, Nestlé Philippines continues to challenge gender bias and support and inspire all women as an enabling #KasambuhayNiJuana.