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Maria Caceres, senior brand manager, Centrum multivitamins (left) at Haleon Canada, celebrating the launch of its tropical fruit-flavoured multivitamins.Provided

When asked by her employer, Maria Caceres helped design an office space for Haleon Canada that would inspire her at work.

Caceres, senior brand manager for Centrum multivitamins, and a team of employees provided design input for Haleon’s Canadian headquarters in Mississauga before it opened in April 2022. Sustainably designed, the welcoming, bright, open office includes several collaboration spaces. It also boasts a multi-faith room, lots of plants, wall-sized photographs of the country’s iconic natural landscapes and a relaxed eating area conducive for gatherings and chef-inspired bi-weekly meals.

“The office reflects the space in which employees want to work,” says Rupa Bahri, Haleon Canada’s general manager.

In the office, Caceres recently offered food from her native Venezuela as part of a company event organized by the ‘Embrace Ethnicity’ employee resource group, one of four employee groups within the GTA office. The other three focus on women, Pride and people with disabilities. The groups are championed by leads and hold educational and social events to foster inclusion and belonging within each community.

At the multicultural food event, Caceres made colleagues tequeños, a popular Venezuelan snack of fried cheese wrapped in a crispy dough, and Haleon’s roughly 250 employees in Mississauga were also asked to place a marker on a map to show their country of origin. Caceres was amazed to discover her colleagues represent 37 countries and nationalities.

“The event was an opportunity to really get to know each other better, connect and understand each other’s cultures better,” she says.

As a global company operating in almost 90 countries, Haleon sees diversity as integral to its culture. A world leader in consumer health with brands including Advil, Sensodyne, Voltaren and Centrum, the company was formed in 2022 through a demerger from GSK.

As a leader, Bahri champions diversity. She is part of Haleon’s global diversity, equity and inclusion council and has worked within the GTA to create a space where all people, including women, feel like they belong.

“My leadership team is over two-thirds women,” says Bahri. “Our global goal is to achieve gender parity in leadership roles by 2030.”

Caceres has always felt supported in her drive to take on increasing leadership roles. “I have never feared raising my voice,” she says. “I have always been encouraged to talk, to speak, to give presentations. That is part of the inclusivity.”

Giving back and connecting with the community where she works is a huge motivation for Caceres. Alongside her Haleon colleagues, she volunteers to cook food for people in need in the Mississauga area and raises money to buy warm clothes for Indigenous children.

She also supports Haleon’s community giving strategy developed by employees. Refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the Toronto area recently got their help. Employees mobilized and partnered with a large retailer to provide the community with everyday over-the-counter medicines and the opportunity to be seen by a pharmacist.

“This year, we have donated over $1.5-million to help our community,” says Bahri. “That’s an example of really living our purpose.”

Being a leader in an industry that is empowering consumers to take their health care into their own hands drives Bahri and her team.

“We have a global purpose at Haleon and that’s to deliver better everyday health with humanity,” says Bahri. “Right now, we touch two thirds of Canadian households with our brands. I see it as an honour to impact that many Canadians’ lives.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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