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Power Shift: Our First Progress Report comes from Triumph

Prasad Ramakrishnan and Wu Qing with employee children who participated in a recitation contest using poems written by Wu Qing's mother, one of China's best loved poets. The contest was one of several inspirational and inclusive events surrounding Wu Qing's visit to Triumph's Yancheng plant.

Prasad Ramakrishnan, Head of Global Manufacturing at Triumph International, stood in the last session and committed to the entire Power Shift Forum that he would be following up with concrete actions in his company.  His was an ambitious statement, something that could easily have been dismissed as reflecting the enthusiasm of the moment—and certainly an agenda that might have taken quite a while, especially in an organization with the scope that Triumph International, an international lingerie manufacturer, has.

Within a week of the Forum, however, Prasad was on the task, asking us to help him arrange for two of our speakers from the Forum, Wu Qing and Muna Abusulayman, to speak at factories in China and Morocco, respectively.

Within thirty days, Prasad reported that:

Wu Qing was slated to speak at their Yancheng China plant, where more than 3,000 women are employed.

He had connected Alexandra Rieger, Global Head of Finished Goods Sourcing at Triumph, to Meg Jones, Elizabeth Vazquez, and John Priddy for further action in the global sourcing from women vendors effort.

He was seeking approval to send two of his female General Managers (Weibing Ji, of the Yancheng plant in China, and Ana Gomes, of their Lisbon plant in Portugal) to the Oxford Women’ Leadership training course at the end of September—as a way of  enabling a more robust pipeline of female leaders for Triumph management.

Then, early this month, we heard again from Prasad.  Now, he reported an array of initiatives and attached pdfs of management presentations that included photographs of what had been done so far. With Prasad’s permission, I am sharing with you what his team has accomplished.

Wu Qing spoke to the employees at Yancheng, but also gave training sessions on women’s empowerment to the management team.  The plant management subsequently decided to follow up by initiating a program to support Wu Qing’s Beijing Training Center for Rural Women’s Development, a center that focuses on training and entrepreneurship for poor women and girls in rural China.

With the support of Emmanuelle Roger, Triumph’s Global Head of Learning and Development, both Weibing Ji and Ana Gomes are scheduled to attend the women’s leadership training course in Oxford next month.

A number of Triumph's programs are focused on educating children into citizenship. Here employees' daughters and sons learn to select and prepare vegetables, one of several life skills the summer camp teaches, with an emphasis on environmental practice.

Going forward, the plans are further engaged with important women’s issues and programs.  A donation program of clothes and books for Wu Qing’s center is being put into place—it will collect donations every two months and deliver them to the center.

A “Knowledge is Power” program will reach four rural schools.  Two volunteers from Triumph will go each time to teach (1) basic math, English, science, and computer skills, (2) emergency evacuation and first aid, (3) sports, and (4) vocational training, especially sewing.

An “Independent Citizenship” program will teach employee children basic life skills, tour factories, inspire environmental consciousness and practices, and encourage volunteering to help those in needs.

All these plans serve multiple objectives, including environmental sustainability and employee retention, as well as women’s empowerment.  However, they are occurring in light of the recognition that most of Triumph’s employees are female, as are their consumers.

The Power Shift team is happy to report these efforts and events and will welcome other updates.


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