How Marissa Andrada Is Helping Educate Companies on DEI Initiatives

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DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) is a priority for most brands; that doesn’t mean it is automatically successful, though.

JUST Capital recently reported that 94% of employers and 74% of employees say their organizations have committed to advancing DEI at work. However, 43% of both groups add that there’s still a long way to go before acceptable progress is made.

The corporate world is ready for DEI, it just doesn’t necessarily know how to implement it. This is where a leader like Marissa Andrada can be a game-changer.

Who Is Marissa Andrada?

Marissa Andrada has positioned herself as the “Culture Master and Kindness Catalyst” within the work world. The successful executive and corporate influencer seeks to transform company cultures by putting people before goals, procedures and the bottom line.

Andrada possesses the perfect blend of corporate experience and DEI acumen. She is the embodiment of empathy while simultaneously grasping the nuance of executing an empathetic leadership style within a corporate, profit-driven environment.

Andrada’s track record speaks for itself. She has decades of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and has served multi-year stints in the C-suite of major brands, including Starbucks, Universal Studios, Red Bull, and GameStop. Throughout that time, Andrada has influenced the larger business landscape in various ways, not the least of which has been as a leading voice for all things DEI.

“The one big learning from 2020 and 2021 is that if your culture is not healthy then your company is not healthy,” Andrada told TIME in February of 2022, “HR has to build a culture where the ideas come from everywhere—not top-down.” The comment came at a time when Andrada was serving as the Chief Diversity, Inclusion & People Officer at Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The inspiring Culture Master has echoed similar sentiments across multiple companies where she has served in the past. Andrada seeks to help these brands look beyond DEI as a “to-do” item on the ESG scorecard. She helps them use the powerful DEI trifecta as a way to unleash the inner potential of their respective employees. This leads to greater creativity, efficiency and, ultimately, profitability.

Andrada has turned heads across multiple industries for her push towards inclusive, crowd-sourced workplace culture improvement. She has thousands of LinkedIn followers. In addition to TIME, other outlets have also published her insights and best practices, including Fortune, SHRM and Grit Daily. This has led to a growing impact not just within the C-suites where she has worked, but also in the broader landscape.

Andrada’s Shifting Roles and Expanding Reach

Andrada’s growing influence led her to embark on her latest dual venture: offering DEI inspiration as an event speaker and podcast host. While this takes her wisdom outside of individual corporate board rooms, the shift has the potential to directly influence and positively impact the upper echelon of corporate America.

Front and center of Andrada’s new influencer role is her message of kindness. Her mantra reads, “Being kind is infectious and is the foundation for the willingness to give; always lead with kindness and never forget the platinum rule: Treat people the way THEY want to be treated!” Backing up this gilded guideline is her slogan, “transforming culture by putting people first.”

As mentioned above, the message goes deeper than happy workplaces and satisfied employees. Andrada uses this starting point of kindness to encourage C-suite executives to co-create transformative company cultures.

Defining purpose, establishing values, and welcoming individual ideas are key elements that unlock the capability of employees; for Andrada, they’re foundational to an equitable and rewarding work environment.

“My best work takes place with leaders committed to cultivating environments where people can thrive, pursue their passions, and become lifelong leaders,” she explains in her profile bio. At every step, Andrada is about prioritizing people as a mutually beneficial cornerstone of sustainable personal and corporate success.

A Veteran Voice in a New Medium

Andrada is distilling all of this advice into two key outlets: live presentations and inspiring audio content.

For the former, Andrada is already juggling a busy and ever-growing schedule as an event speaker. She recently was a featured presenter at high-profile events such as the Equality Lounge at the World Economic Forum and SHRM’s Insights Forum in February. In late 2022, she also made a marquee appearance at the Women of Hospitality Conference.

Andrada is also creating killer content in audio format. With her podcast, CultureCast, the executive-turned-influencer hosts an endless string of fascinating leaders, entrepreneurs, authors, actors, and other personalities. To date, her guest list has included notable faces, such as Nick Sonnenberg, Tia Carrere, Jason Cochran, Edna Primrose, and Arabian Prince.

Marissa Andrada’s Enduring (and Growing) Impact

Marissa Andrada has spent decades helping organizations from the inside out as they seek to prioritize their employees. She has guided major brands toward greater profits not by draining their employees dry but rather by cultivating workers’ success and including them in company-level decision-making.

Andrada’s pivot from the boardroom into the world of live events and podcasting has only amplified her voice. It is increasing the impact of the DEI executive’s already enduring legacy as she seeks to influence a quickly-growing corporate audience to be better, more inclusive leaders.

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