- Rite Aid hired Texanna Reeves as its first vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, the American drugstore chain announced Dec. 1. In the newly-created position, Reeves will work closely with Rite Aid's CEO Heyward Donigan and other executive leaders to facilitate best practices for an inclusive workplace culture, the company said.
- Reeves is tasked with developing and implementing Rite Aid's overall diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy. In her role, Reeves will maintain partnerships with Rite Aid's HR Centers of Excellence and legal department to align diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) best practices with talent attraction, retention and development strategies, according to the company. She will also create an "enterprise cross-functional diversity council," Rite Aid said. "The addition of Texanna will help elevate and focus our overall efforts to be an equal-opportunity employer of choice for people of broad perspectives and experiences, cultures, genders, races and generations," Jessica Kazmaier, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Rite Aid, said in a statement.
- Reeves joins Rite Aid with experience spearheading diversity and inclusion strategies at Fortune 100 companies such as Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Merck, S.C. Johnson and Sodexo. Reeves also recently launched Engage U, a consultancy providing expertise on diversity and inclusion management services. "I believe it is important to go beyond rhetoric and strive for measurable progress in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion," she said in a statement.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rite Aid's bottom line struggled. Last month, the company launched its refreshed brand, which included an enhancement of its website, a new logo and a "Store of the Future" prototype piloted in select markets, according to Retail Dive.
The move was part of its RxEvolution strategy launched in March. "Rite Aid is a business in the midst of a turnaround and it is time for a radical change — our RxEvolution," Donigan said in a statement. Reeves' appointment comes as the company continues to implement the strategy. In her role, she will work to advance shared organizational responsibility for strategic goals related to diversity, inclusion and belonging to align with the RxEvolution strategy, Rite Aid said. Reeves plans to ensure DEI "is strategically integrated in every facet of Rite Aid's future plans — particularly at such a consequential and transformative time in the company's history," she said in a statement.
As calls for racial justice took place this summer, many companies reviewed DEI practices and policies and planned enhancements. Similar to Rite Aid, organizations that previously didn't have a role dedicated to diversity, equity inclusion and belonging created one. Diversity Best Practices' 2020 Inclusion Index released Aug. 18 found that companies making strides in DEI focus on recruiting and advancement. In an unprecedented year, companies have faced heightened expectations from employees and customers regarding DEI. The goal of many organizations is to continue this focus for the long haul.