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McDonald’s Corporation (Oak Brook, IL)

McDonald’s Corporation (Oak Brook, IL)

2002 Employer of Choice Winner

Midwest Region

Gloria Santona
General Counsel

The mission of world-renowned McDonald’s Corporation is to leverage the unique talents, strengths, and assets of McDonalds’ diversity to be the world’s best quick-service restaurant experience. Their initiatives focus on ensuring that their employees, owner-operators, and suppliers reflect and represent the diverse populations McDonald’s serves worldwide.

Reflecting McDonalds’ commitment to diversity is its General Counsel, Gloria Santona, who is one of only two women of color who heads the law department of a Fortune 500 company.

Also senior vice president and secretary, she serves as a role model for many, particularly young women of color. Santona manages a diverse, high-performing team of 62 attorneys; eighteen percent of whom are people of color and half are women. Of the 13 attorneys who report to her, 23 percent are attorneys of color and 54 percent are women.

Each McDonald’s department must devise and implement a formal diversity plan, which starts with a commitment from the top and entails ongoing education for its employees. Employees are able to select from several presentations and workshops that teach them how to maximize their potential, manage differences, and communicate effectively.

The law department has set ambitious goals for spending with minority- and women-owned law firms, and encourages its outside counsel to use more people of color and women. The department’s plan emphasizes informal mentoring, workshops on maximizing potential, managing differences, and communicating effectively. It also includes a process for open recruiting through partnerships with organizations and law firms. All initiatives are subjected to sophisticated diversity metrics to ensure accountability.

For its many contributions to diversity, McDonald’s has been recognized for supporting minorities (by Fortune magazine), people with disabilities, Asians, Hispanic women (by LATINA Style magazine), and corporate women in America (by Hispanic magazine).

McDonald’s has made successful attempts to appeal to African-American consumers, vendors, and businesses. The company was named Fortune magazine’s top purchaser from minority suppliers, spending more than $3 billion a year (27 percent of its total) at minority-owned firms.

Return to List of 2002 Award Winners


From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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