For more than 40 years, BENlabs has been proud to work and collaborate with many brands in the television and film industry to bring them to life on screen through the power of popular entertainment. Recently, BENlabs’ VP of DE&I and Strategy Vanessa McCullers connected with Juan Alonso Torres Benavides, director of marketing of non-alcoholic brands at Anheuser Bush, to discuss his career journey as a Person of Color (POC) in massive consumption companies and what Anheuser Bush is doing in national and international communities.
How did you get your start in the Bev Marketing industry?
I started my career in massive consumption and have over 12 years working in marketing-related positions. After university I worked for Procter & Gamble in marketing and then continued on at Nestle. Next I began working in telecommunications in Latin America but soon realized I wanted to make a daily impact on consumers. That’s when SabMiller gave me a role in marketing strategy that allowed me to have
a direct impact on consumers, as well as my own mission and the company’s which has remained consistent through the acquisition by Anheuser Busch.
Tell us about how Anheuser Busch has worked to address diversity internally.
AB has been on the forefront of inclusion and diversity dating as far back as 1995 where they launched a campaign for LGBTQ community stating “Labels belong on beer not on people.” This demonstrated that AB isn’t afraid to speak up. AB has a huge presence and representation in various countries throughout the world, so when they speak they’re able to relay a message to consumers from all over. Not only does AB have these platforms, but they have internal programs within the company where colleagues who are passionate about DE&I get together to discuss and work toward their preferred cause.
What is Anheuser Busch doing externally and within communities?
In middle America, some farmers aren’t fully selling their crops so they’re unsure whether they should grow more or less of those crops. To help with this issue, AB has a program in place to assure farmers they’ll buy every crop necessary to brew their beer, and then we’re selling that beer in the same region the farmers reside. This assists sustainability and local businesses profit because of the program.
How do you use your work to answer your core passions and purpose?
I work in the non-alcoholic portion of AB and believe it’s essential to be inside the culture of my target consumers. I currently live in Colombia and work closely with an organization that connects with kids and teenagers. This is done through a platform of purpose where kids are incentivized with prizes to improve their performance in school. The kids achieve more and are rewarded for their achievement — and AB gets to learn more about what this market is all about in a genuine manner.
What advice would you give someone looking to walk in your path?
Be authentic. Be true to yourself and try everything so you can learn what you like and dislike. Most importantly, find the place where you can be yourself.