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The scale of working for Nestlé means that any positive change we're able to bring about has real impact.
Rachel Haynes,Head of Infant Nutrition Communications

Meet Rachel. She's been Head of Infant Nutrition Communications for five years having made the move from working in health communications for government, health and disability charities, the NHS and an international development programme.
She talked to us about her professional and personal inspirations, what excites her about her role and why challenging bias has always been on her agenda.

What excites you most about your role and working for Nestlé?

I love having the opportunity to help shape positive change within maternal and young child nutrition. The scale of working for Nestlé means that any positive change we're able to bring about has real impact. I also really enjoy working with so many committed people, and the diversity of the issues and people I work with. No day is ever the same, but I always feel that what I do has real importance.

What has been the best advice you’ve been given in your career? Do you have any top tips of your own for new starters?

Two things. Firstly, you don't need to decide what you want to do forever. It's easier to change direction than it's ever been, so choose what's right for you now. Try jobs on for size. Secondly, career progress doesn't have to be linear – I personally found moving sideways very rewarding as long as I was still learning and developing. Be open to a whole range of opportunities

The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Have you faced any biases in your career and how have you handled them?

I was brought up by strong women and have always tried to challenge bias. My first time was to my teacher who said that there was no point in teaching maths to girls because all they did was have babies – I replied, "you still need to know how many weeks pregnant you are, Sir".

I've been told I don't look disabled, and sometimes that has led me to mask certain symptoms or how I'm feeling. I'm also an introvert. I'm better at talking about it now as it feels less risky, so I've spoken out about both of these topics at Nestlé to encourage us to think more broadly about what a leader looks like.

Are you involved with any of Nestlé's inclusion and belonging initiatives?

As a woman with a disability, I've benefited from those who went before me, who opened doors and challenged the status quo. It's my turn now.

I'm Vice Chair of NestAbility, our disability network, and it's been an enormous privilege to be there to help set it up. I am also the Inclusion and Belonging champion for my part of the business, very ably supported by a lovely crew of committed people who help bring this to life every day at work.

Is there anyone that inspires you, either personally or professionally?

I worked for Harriet Harman in a previous role, and it was inspirational to think about the barriers she overcame to be in Parliament and how she opened up politics for women.

My previous boss, Louise, was just absolutely the cleverest, most passionate and caring leader anyone could hope for, and she helped make massive change happen in some of the poorest parts of the world.

And finally, my daughter who has a serious mental health condition. She spoke to our local MP, and as a consequence our mental health trust is looking at a new pathway to improve the service for other children who need urgent help.

What has been your proudest moment at Nestlé?

I loved being part of the global team that delivered our commitment to the Call to Action from WHO, UNICEF and other civil society organisations. Nestlé made the only substantial commitment amongst the major industry players, and it was the result of the best kind of teamwork.

What one thing would you like to see more people doing to be more inclusive?

I think we all need to check that everyone in the room or call has had the chance to contribute – take the time to make sure, don't just assume that everyone will speak up. Everyone's voice matters.