The only thing quite as exciting as being appointed to a new position is when you are the first person to ever hold that newly created role. This is how Guillaume Bagal might feel as he has just been elected as the new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for United Natural Foods, Inc (UNFI). He is set to begin in this inaugural role September 14, 2020.
According to a press release, Bagal most recently served as Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), which serves over 400,000 members. In his new role, Bagal will report directly to Danielle Benedict, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).
In this newly created position, UNFI explained that Bagal will continue advancing the company's commitment to promote equality, celebrate diversity, dismantle systemic racism in its workplace, and support justice in the communities it serves.
“Guillaume has a tremendous background, including a strong track record for bringing about change, generating associate engagement, and creating programs that help diversity initiatives and organizations prosper,” said Benedict. “His immediate focus will be on team building, reviewing and revising our current D&I efforts, and bringing together a more holistic strategy to advance our position as North America’s premiere grocery wholesaler and a top workplace for associates of all backgrounds. He’s experienced and motivated and will no doubt hit the ground running.”
Through an ability to create internal partnerships, Bagal helped refine BCBSRI’s internal and external DEI efforts and, in just over two years, helped grow its associates of color population and foster a sense of belonging, elevating the supplier diversity program with a stronger focus on Tier 2 spend.
Among many accolades, Bagal was appointed this year to Rhode Island Governor’s Equity Council to help address inequities witnessed through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to inform Rhode Island’s reopening plan.
As stated in the release, Bagal has served in policy roles at Whitman-Walker Health and as a Director of Policy at the Center for Global Health and Diplomacy. He also has extensive community leadership experience and currently serves on several boards of health and inclusion, including the Rhode Island Public Health Institute, where he chairs Rhode Island’s first LGBTQ health center and, previously, the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.
Bagal is fluent in French, English, and two African dialects. He holds a Master of Healthcare Administration from George Mason University and Master of Sociology from East Carolina University and earned his undergraduate degree in French and Biology from East Carolina University. Bagal resides in Providence, Rhode Island, with his husband, Bobby Gondola, Jr.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Guillaume as he brings his extensive skills to this newly formed role. We wish both him and UNFI the best of luck in their partnership.