General Meeting Spring 2021: Laura Birk

April 7, 2021 Brittany Caskey 0 Comments

On March 31st, Laura Birk from Barilla America Inc, the Italian Food Company since 1877, joined Women in Business. Laura balances being a working mom with three daughters, along with holding an executive position for Barilla as the Head of Human Resources in the Americas. Barilla is the largest pasta factory in the world! Your pantry is most likely stocked with some of their products. Barilla has also been globally recognized for its efforts to include people from all different backgrounds and experiences. In 2021, they won the Diversity Catalyst Award! 

Throughout her presentation, we worked through numerous interactive activities, exposing unconscious biases and how they operate. Unconscious biases across gender, age, weight, affinity, beauty, and attributions create barriers that exclude individuals, hinder performance, and stunt innovation and growth. Everyone should actively seek ways to address their own biases so they can more effectively eradicate them. Laura recommended that we check out the following books:

After undergoing these activities, Laura left us with some words to carefully consider: 

  • Always ask for feedback and use it to grow. You do not get good at giving feedback if you are not able to deal with feedback yourself!
  • Constantly seek out ways to become a stronger ally. Acknowledgment of a problem is not enough. You must actively seek ways to engage and do better. 

Laura exhibits all the qualities we should strive to be in a leadership position. Her presentation involved our members’ opinions and experiences – giving life to a virtual platform that has been missing that spark. We appreciated that she created a space where we could engage with her material, ask questions, and learn how to position ourselves better to align with all members’ backgrounds and experiences.While she is a woman with a lot on her plate, she finds time to balance key aspects of her life that she prioritizes, such as her family. She told us, “If you want something done, give it to a busy woman!”  

She ended the presentation by stressing, “You have not met all the people who are going to love you yet.” In a time where many of us have felt more removed and isolated from interpersonal relationships, these words helped paint a hopeful picture of a world post-pandemic. 

Stay connected with Laura Birk:


Barilla DEI Goals and Vision:

General Meeting Spring 2021: Laura Birk was last modified: April 7th, 2021 by Brittany Caskey