Industry leaders cook up 'Project Potluck' to promote BIPOC representation in CPG space

CEOs from A Dozen Cousins, Beanfields and Mason Dixie Foods band together to advocate for diversity through community, events and mentorship.

September 23, 2020

4 Min Read
Project Potluck

Mark your calendars for the industry’s biggest potluck! The consumer-packaged goods (CPG) sector has long failed to represent the makeup of today’s U.S. population, specifically Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) who support and fuel the category. Looking to promote positive, long-lasting change, Ibraheem Basir, founder and CEO of A Dozen Cousins, started Project Potluck as a first-of-its-kind organization to help BIPOC thrive in the CPG industry by tackling the inherent bias in hiring, networking gaps, lack of access to capital for diverse founders and more. Joining Ibraheem as founding board members are Ayeshah Abuelhiga, founder and CEO of Mason Dixon Foods and Arnulfo Ventura, CEO of Beanfields, who are coming together to improve access and representation in the space.

Created with the intention of providing BIPOC with opportunities and resources for learning and growth in the CPG sector, Project Potluck will launch with three key pillars: a year-long mentorship program, monthly community building events and a best-in-class digital community.

  • Year-Long mentorship program: Project Potluck members will have the unique opportunity to match with industry veterans who will provide guidance, motivation and support while sharing intel about the CPG industry. Mentors will include individuals from verticals ranging from sales to marketing, operations to finance, investors and CEOs, and provide a specialized experience for mentees based on their interests.

  • Monthly community-building events: Members will have the opportunity to network with industry insiders during monthly digital events. Established CPG leaders will share their knowledge and experience, creating a space for dialogue and learning.

  • Best-in-class digital community: This platform will allow members to share news and make themselves visible to hiring managers, recruiters and event organizers looking to identify and connect with a diverse pool of candidates.  

“Throughout my career I have done my best to make whatever space I am in more welcoming and equitable for other people of color, and Project Potluck is a natural continuation of that work,” said Ibraheem Basir, CEO and founder of A Dozen Cousins . “The beautiful thing about the CPG industry is that almost everyone in America uses these products on a daily basis. Project Potluck is not just going to help people of color build more successful companies and careers, but over time it’s going to improve the quality of the products and brands that we all use. Ayeshah and Arnulfo have been instrumental in bringing this organization to life, and I am excited to have them as partners on the journey.“

“When Ibraheem asked me to be a part of Project Potluck it was an instant yes from me,” said Ayeshah Abuelhiga, CEO and founder of Mason Dixie Foods. “I had been waiting for a BIPOC-led organization to develop and Project Potluck is as authentic as it gets. The three of us interestingly enough have very global backgrounds, large consumer product industry experience and had similar experiences in our own career trajectories. We all lacked BIPOC mentorship, saw no BIPOC leadership in major roles within our former organizations and realized how often we had to change who we authentically were in the name of professional progress. Project Potluck is our chance to open our world to those seeking to be a part of a more culturally diverse industry, be around people that look like them and grew up facing the same challenges we did.”

“As one of the few Latino entrepreneurs in the natural food and beverage arena, I have struggled to find mentors or peers whose life experiences I could identify with,” said Arnulfo Ventura, CEO of Beanfields. “When Project Potluck was presented to me, I knew I had to be a part of it. Ibraheem, Ayeshah and I are determined to implement real change and I am honored to be a part of a collective that creates a pipeline for BIPOC to succeed and grow within the CPG space. We have big plans and support from some of the most successful and innovative individuals and companies. As we look to the future, we are excited by the thought of an industry that more closely resembles the people it is serving.” 

What are you going to bring to the potluck? To join the Project Potluck community, become a mentor or mentee or for more information click here

Source: Project Potluck

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