Frank Zahn talks diversity and inclusion during Pride month.

Taking Pride! in Our Work: Associate Frank Zahn Works to Create a More Inclusive Tomorrow

To recognize and celebrate Pride month, we sat down with Frank Zahn, Senior Manager with our Mars Global Services (MGS) Learning Technology team. As a religious studies student, Frank has always been a critical thinker, forever in the pursuit of knowledge—working to grow as a person and professional. In fact, it’s those ideals that first drew him to Mars more than 10 years ago. 

Frank is now sharing more about how he’s working to create a better tomorrow and continuing to make Mars a truly diverse and inclusive business. 

As Senior Manager with our MGS Learning Technology team, part of my responsibility is to maintain several of the platforms in our learning ecosystem, including Mars University, so our Associates have the tools they need to learn and share with others. We want to ensure the learning experience is the best it can be.

What originally drew me to Mars more than 10 years ago was the culture. We’re not just focused on the customer, but the Associate. We’re committed to growth and the idea of continually learning and developing, and that’s important to me as I continue to evolve in my career. I started in the Mars Retail Group before becoming a Learning and Development manager, moving into Mars University and eventually Mars Global Services, or MGS.

Today, I’m incredibly proud of my work with our PRIDE! Associate Resource Group (ARG). I was a founding member nearly seven years ago. This is an Associate-led and leadership-championed group that promotes responsibility in diversity and equality. We strive to spark meaningful connections with Associates, consumers and the community around LGBT+A awareness and acceptance. 

Our initial focus was on internal activities and how we interacted with the external community, including looking at other organizations and how we compared.

At the time, Mars had a 60 rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and it soon became my responsibility to work with teams across Mars to enact meaningful change. We saw a lot of support from business leaders asking how we can move the needle, what are the gaps and how do we address them. We needed to focus on four important pillars of inclusion. 

Frank on the M&M’s™ Pride float in 2019.

  • Ensuring our leaders are visible champions of Inclusion & Diversity. Something we see from our Office of the President Grant Reid and across the business. 
  • Embracing a culture of belonging, that values and harnesses the power of differences. We see this in external campaigns that give a platform to things like gender equality as we work to achieve 100% gender balance in our leadership teams.
  • Harnessing diverse groups that represent the diversity in our business. We see this in our recruitment efforts that aim to reflect the race and ethnicities in the markets in which we operate. 
  • Equipping our business with cohesive policies, processes, practices and training that support our aspirations. Working with the learning team—this is a personal passion of mine. We see this reflected in strategic partnerships that aim to educate Associates on the movement needed to further our fight for inequality.   

We’ve seen significant progress each year, and I’m proud to say we just hit 100 for the first time in 2021. While the Index is mainly focused on North America, it’s slowly branching out globally, so we’re expanding the reach of the ARG to truly make it global and more inclusive.

PRIDE! Mars Associate Resource Group

I’m also proud to say I helped secure 100% transgender benefits for our Associates and their dependents. We were able to secure those with the help of our Health & Wellness, Rewards and Benefits teams, and in the first year, more than a dozen Associates or their family members took advantage of those benefits in North America. 

Our work over the past several years has helped spur inspiring change here at Mars. This is only the beginning. This is about more than Pride and the LGBT+A community—it’s about recognizing and celebrating cultural, gender, multigenerational differences. We see that in our I&D strategy and the foundation we’ve built is strong, providing us a solid roadmap to further these ambitions. 

For future Associates—there’s no worry about having to adjust to our culture….”learning curve." When you join our team, you can jump right in and join our efforts—community members and allies alike. There’s a plan in place and we’re ready to work together to continue to enact meaningful change, truly creating a more inclusive and diverse business of tomorrow.  

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