Doing the Work at Saks to Advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

by Saks

At Saks, we’re doing the work–the work to look at every aspect of our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) footprint to ensure that our employees, customers and partners can all say: I feel welcome. I feel included. I belong. Our goal is to advance equity and embed DEI into our purpose, people, culture and brand to organically represent Saks’ progress as an industry leader.

As the premier digital platform for luxury fashion, we are also committed to advancing DEI across the industry. At Saks, we help our customers express their identities through inspiring fashion. This begins by respecting individuals’ unique backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, and we work every day to make Saks an inclusive environment for all.

As we continue to cement our DEI footprint, we hired Dr. Alicia Williams in Summer 2022 as VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Williams joined us from Morgan Stanley, where she served as Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the U.S. banks business, leading DEI strategy and talent management. Prior to that role, she was VP and Diversity Lead, and the head of the North American campus recruiting program for JPMorgan Chase’s Investment Banking, Wholesale Payments and Global Corporate Banking businesses. She has also held program management, human resources and DEI leadership roles at top universities globally, including New York University in Shanghai, Cornell University and Harvard University.

Dr. Williams’ deep expertise immensely benefits Saks as we implement initiatives in support of our DEI roadmap. We have also assembled a wider network of DEI advocates including our employee-led DEI Council, a forum for identifying and sharing initiatives and practices that have the greatest potential to enhance DEI in the best interest of Saks. Our DEI efforts are further supported by Saks Inclusion Advocates, and our employee resource groups (ERGs) with executive sponsors who celebrate diversity, champion equity and foster inclusion. As we progress on our DEI strategy, we are prioritizing transparency and accountability to help us reach our aspirational, but achievable, DEI goals.

Our DEI roadmap, launched in 2021, outlined our commitments within four pillars: purpose, people, culture and brand. Our DEI commitments are to:

■ Invest in Black-owned, -designed or -led brands and support the growth of emerging designers;

■ Increase diversity in our marketing by featuring models who represent diversity of ethnicity, age and/or size;

■ Increase racially diverse representation across roles at the manager level and above;

■ Increase educational opportunities across our organization that foster empathy and understanding;

■ And evolve our impact in underserved communities through the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation and rally employees through the establishment of Saks Serves, our employee volunteer program.

We aim to evolve our current DEI roadmap as we advance our commitments. We have made progress through programs such as The New Wave at Saks, our designer accelerator program supporting high-potential independent brands in accelerating their growth at Saks and across the greater fashion industry. Each year, more than half of the participating brands are racially diverse[1]owned, with six of the eight participating brands from our most recent cohort being Black-owned, -designed, or -operated.

As part of our continued advancement of DEI at Saks, our progress to date includes:

■ Launching internal programs for underrepresented populations to drive mentorship and advancement opportunities;

■ Introducing a more robust DEI talent acquisition strategy;

■ Offering continuous DEI learning opportunities with a goal of producing an allyship journey and DEI education series;

■ Growing donations through the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation and mobilizing our employees through Saks Serves to uplift and support underserved communities;

■ Expanding our ERGs;

■ And amplifying our network of DEI champions from every level, function and location who help us celebrate diversity, champion equity and foster inclusion.

At Saks, we are doing the work to drive meaningful and lasting change. We recognize this is an ongoing journey, and we are confident in our plans and the progress we are making every day. We are proud of our achievements to date and look forward to building on our momentum.

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