No stereotypes, no limitations: how Mars helps develop women’s leadership

Mars is a partner of the Innosocium National Social Projects Contest which is held by the Innosocium Foundation, a Roscongress Foundation’s social platform, and the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation. The company supports the Women’s Leadership nomination. Director for Human Resources of one of Mars Inc departments — Royal Canin — Darya Maslovskaya explained why this topic is of such importance in their corporate culture and how to increase the number of women leaders.

Be authentic

Our culture was formed in the way that it does not restrain development of any employee, regardless of their gender. Staff training and development is a comprehensive process that includes activities of the Mars corporate university, student programmes, workshops and many more. But the most important thing is every single employee’s desire and willingness to grow and develop, and for that the company has provided a very fertile ground and all possible opportunities.


Nika Bush, General Director of Mars Edge, one of the company’s departments, once said: «It is not the lack of technical skills that hinders women’s development, it is the lack of confidence.» We can’t but agree. We work towards boosting this confidence. How can we do that? First, provide role models. Second, provide support. The company has the Women at Mars club that brings together women in the countries where the company is represented.

Beat stereotypes

The company is free from stereotypes that there are men’s and women’s jobs, but women themselves might have such beliefs which prevent them from advancing their careers in STEM areas. To encourage more women to choose technical and scientific areas, we try to identify and cultivate talents right from the start, offering them internships in various engineering fields, finance, veterinary medicine and other STEM areas. There is another way — to participate in the leaders’ development programme.

We have already achieved remarkable results: 65% of positions in R&D are occupied by women, in IT and digital technologies — 37%, in engineering and production — 22%. Two Mars factories in Russia are managed by women.

Develop continuously

In the company, we promote the idea that the success of their careers depends on employees themselves. This correlates with our strategy, according to which each staff member is responsible for their own development. Any line manager, as a mentor, just creates a supportive environment and provides advice. That is why all our training and development progammes are based on the 70/20/10 principle, where 10% are training programmes and self-education, 20% are training provided by others, including mentorship, and 70% are actual projects aimed at development.

Maintain diversity

The concept of unity and diversity in business was initially weaved into company’s principles. All of us are different, and this is our strength. For example, we carry out the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for teams’ personal profiles to see how their members complement each other. Also, we use the practice of rotating employees among segments. This is always for the best, as talent sharing facilitates mutual learning and helps develop strong relations between colleagues and segments in general.

Think globally

The women development programme is a part of the large-scale Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan. This project helped, for instance, to teach financial management to over 3,000 women, together with Tanager international nonprofit. Since 2015, DOVE® Chocolate has partnered up with CARE International, a leading organization fighting poverty, to support women farmers who grow cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire. In the company, we are convinced that providing more rights and opportunities for women and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin.


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