Insights from The Hershey Company at the 2024 Top 50 Event

The Fair360 Top 50 Companies event in NYC on May 13 was a hub of insightful discussions. Among these, a Q&A session showcased insights from The Hershey Company’s (No.1 on the 2024 Top 50 Companies list) Chris Scalia, Chief Transformation Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer
. Here’s a snapshot of the conversation. 

Elements of Communication at Hershey

Scalia placed emphasis on the significance of community and expressed his gratitude to everyone, especially the members of The Hershey Company present at the event. Transitioning into the core discussion, Scalia highlighted the essential aspects of communicating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to the C-suite and board of directors. 

He said communication with Hershey’s board and his fellow C-suite colleagues has three foundational elements: 

  1. Communication must be highly transparent and fact driven. 
  2. It must be deeply embedded in your business. 
  3. It must be rooted in authentic listening. 

“It has to be incredibly rooted in listening and deeply authentic to who you are, what the company is and what you stand for as an organization and as a team. And if you can’t be authentic, you’re likely not going to be helpful, and ultimately that is essential,” Scalia said. 

The ‘Fundamental Need for Dignity’

The conversation delved deeper into Hershey’s values. Particularly, the company’s unwavering commitment to fostering a sense of togetherness and promoting accountability. This commitment is strongly upheld under the leadership of Hershey President and CEO Michele Buck. Scalia took the audience through a journey of pivotal moments within the organization. For instance, he emphasized the importance of fostering community engagement. Additionally, he underscored the organization’s priority in raising mental health awareness among its members. These initiatives, he explained, are integral to the company’s mission and values.

Scalia shared a poignant experience that reshaped his life. Five years ago, his younger sister took her own life at the age of 38. He said it was a profound shock to him. He had always supported and guided her through life’s challenges, but this time, he couldn’t intervene. 

This experience made him realize the importance of mental health. He shared this story with Hershey team members, who then opened up about their struggles. Scalia said this prompted him to reconsider what he characterized as the “fundamental need for dignity.”

“If I take your dignity, I am cutting at the fiber of who you are. And if I’m doing that, whether it be policies or programs or actions or words, insensitivities, I’m committing probably the most significant egregious sin I can commit against you as a member of this society,” he said. “That, for me, changed pretty dramatically.” 

The dialogue expanded to encompass Hershey’s holistic approach to business. Additionally, Scalia urged organizations to align values with actions, prioritize meaningful connections and drive impactful change.

Click here to view our Top 50 event page. We will continue to update the page with articles and videos in the next week.