Tent founder Hamdi Ulukaya and FEMSA’s José Antonio Fernández join Council of the Americas to discuss why it’s critical for business to integrate refugees
On Wednesday, May 26, Founder and CEO of Chobani and Founder of Tent, Hamdi Ulukaya, joined FEMSA’s Executive Chairman of the Board, José Antonio Fernández, in a conversation on corporate leadership, social impact, and diversity and inclusion, highlighting their respective experiences integrating refugees into the businesses they lead.
The two leaders were interviewed by President and CEO of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA), Susan Segal, as part of its BRAVO Leadership Conversation series, which features conversations between prominent heads of business across the continent.
Ulukaya discussed how his own experience hiring refugees to work at Chobani has helped him develop one of the fastest-growing food businesses in America. He also discussed why he is committed to including refugees, and the reasons behind why he started the Tent Partnership for Refugees to mobilize other companies to follow his example.
“The minute a refugee has a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee. That’s the minute they start building their life, that’s the minute they start being part of the community,” Ulukaya said. “They are the most dedicated (and) hardworking… people you can think of.”
Fernández discussed how FEMSA, one of the first companies in Latin America to join Tent’s network of over 140 major companies, has developed a program to integrate refugees in Mexico.
“We have a priority to be at the forefront in diversity and inclusion,” Fernández said. “We have to be an example in Latin America. We’re learning and trying and working to do it,” he said.
Fernández highlighted how FEMSA’s program to hire refugees at its OXXO convenience stores in Mexico has not only provided an economic opportunity to refugees, but has also brought new skills and experiences to FEMSA’s workforce.
“Integrating refugees can reap the benefits of a talented workforce while supporting the region’s economic recovery. Inclusive and diverse companies generate 35% more value to the business: the customer values today that we are part of Tent,” Fernández said.
The conversation was part of COA’s Symposium and BRAVO Virtual Series on the Acceleration of Business and Transformation.