KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — In an effort to create a more inclusive environment in the world of craft beer, Bell’s Brewery and its owner New Belgium Brewing have brought on a director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Cultivating the culture of practice over perfection and seeking to understand and really managing our defensiveness,” Courtney Simmons explained her new role at the WOOD TV8 Live Desk Friday.
She said she is a budding beer drinker. She has taken a liking to sour beers and is working to acclimate herself with other types. Still, as a Grand Rapids native, she is more than familiar with the rich craft beer culture in West Michigan.
She said that during a time of high racial tensions, she hopes to bring quality decision making to all levels of employees.
“Making sure to build on the learning and the competency, especially of our leaders and our people so that they’re able to do this work,” Simmons said.
Australia-based New Belgium Brewing announced last year it was buying Bell’s. Simmons now faces the task of juggling duties for both. She said New Belgium has good ideas surrounding strategy and how ideas can be developed and that Bell’s has good, grassroots employee engagement on DEI topics.
“I think there’s a really excellent opportunity for us to meet in the middle and take that structure and governance and that passion for developing strategy from New Belgium and apply it to some really cool programs that we already have at Bell’s to make sure we’re bringing co-workers’ voices and making them as good as we can possibly be,” Simmons said.