Diversity and Inclusion

Ed Martinez, The UPS Foundation, UPS

Ed Martinez

Built Around People

Editors’ Note

Ed Martinez also represents UPS on the World Economic Forum Advisory Council on Pandemic Preparedness and serves on the Executive Committee of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Connecting Business Initiative and as UPS Executive Liaison to the Council of Independent Colleges.

Company Brief

UPS (ups.com) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight, facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.

Are your roles at UPS interrelated?

They are interrelated, and it’s about unlocking value from our people and our value chain – our stakeholders, our suppliers, our communities and our customers, all of which will lift our society.

UPS Drone Launch

Drones being used for the world’s first
national medical drone delivery network in Rwanda

How ingrained is diversity within UPS’s culture?

We’re a 110-year-old company that is built around people. Today, we’re the third largest employer in the U.S. and the seventh largest private employer in the world. Our founder, Jim Casey, always knew he had to have a workplace that was fair, authentic and inclusive in order to have a successful company.

We have a large workforce with more than 454,000 employees who live and work in more than 220 countries. Therefore it underscores the fact that we have to have a workforce that is representative of all the communities in which we operate.

I like to refer to UPS as a doorstep company, because we deliver to every address in the U.S. and to most doorsteps around the world. We have to have a workforce that knows those markets and that develops relationships with people from those communities.

There is also an interesting dynamic around the world. Strong social and political undercurrents are more visible and at times divisive so we believe that as a large, private sector employer, we must set the example within the four walls of UPS, but also by being a leader in our communities when it comes to the fair treatment of people around the world.

With UPS’s broad global footprint, is it more challenging to communicate culture and values?

It’s all about opportunity. There is a common place all people meet, no matter where they’re from, and, from that point, we have to be sensitive to local cultures, communities and perspectives. That is what makes UPS successful. This is the same approach we take not only with our people, but with our customers, suppliers and entire value chain.

It’s understanding our common values and being sensitive to what is local and what our communities value in different parts of the world.

That is where we have to navigate and invite people in to understand our differences should not divide us but should be a source of strength. This reflects the inclusion piece of our movement.

As you look to hire the best talent, does that ensure diversity or do you need to have metrics in place to track it?

We are not just looking for diversity – we are looking for talented, diverse people. Our founder says a lot about youth and innovation as he was 19 years of age when he started the company as a bicycle messenger service. He also had a saying: In God we trust, everything else we measure. UPS is, for the most part, a technology and engineering company, so we attach metrics to everything we do in business. Managing talent and diversity is no different. It’s about goal setting, understanding how well we’re doing and finding ways we can measure that and work toward quantum improvement.

How critical has it been in this role to have buy-in from senior leadership?

It means everything. For everything we do at UPS, the reason we’re successful is that we lead by example. Our board of trustees for The UPS Foundation is the C-suite – this is the way our founder wanted it because of the importance of our investments in our communities around the world. The companies’ Diversity & Inclusion Steering Council is also led by members of the C-suite and chaired by our CEO because of the prominence of diversity and inclusion across our people and value chain.

In both respects, the CEO leads our efforts in our communities around the world and the direction of our people around diversity and inclusion. This is a powerful message that permeates from the most senior level to the front line.

Our CEO has made diversity and inclusion one of the top five priorities for UPS.

In order to attract and retain talent, how critical is it for companies to be purpose-driven?

Purpose has been part of my talk at our annual conference for the past several years. I continue to articulate the fact that the most successful companies in the world pursue profit alongside pursuing purpose. Because of our history, UPS is in a perfect position to be able to continue to leverage our purpose-driven approach to attract talent.

As an example, many times when I travel to our business units, no matter where I am or what culture I’m in, UPSers have told us they have left other opportunities to join us because of our community engagement and because of our being a purpose-driven company.

The diversity and inclusion movement has continued to leverage that very strong value point of the company.

Is it well understood that innovation is the foundation of UPS even with its long history?

Our medical drone network program in Rwanda is a great example. It’s a public/private partnership. We build these partnerships because we understand no one entity can solve the world’s biggest challenges alone. Through our partnership, life-saving blood is being delivered throughout Rwanda – we have had 4,000 missions so far. While talk about the use of drones is very topical, we have built a partnership that is doing it. That is a huge breakthrough for public health that stems from our work in the community, building partnerships for collective action and our understanding how we leverage the strengths of the company to innovate ways to save lives.

Are you able to take moments to celebrate the wins when you’re doing this type of work?

We are a humble company, serving our customers and stakeholders, behind the scenes connecting a global community through intelligent logistics networks. Through these connections we link people and ideas, commerce and trade, creating global prosperity. Together with our stakeholders we promote diversity, inclusion and sustainable practices because we also know these are the cornerstones of a thriving world. With a global footprint, there is a lot going on all over the world every day, so finding time to celebrate is challenging. It is very important because we understand our success is driven by our people and partners. Celebrating them and inspiring others is also a legacy of our company.