2023 Marketing All-Stars, Marketing Champion of the Year, Milly Pineda, Dutch Bros

2023 Marketing All-Stars, Marketing Champion of the Year, Milly Pineda, Dutch Bros

Each year, we proudly celebrate the achievements in the Pacific Northwest’s marketing excellence. From now to April, we’ll share insights from our 2023 ThinkNW Marketing All-Stars class. The ThinkNW Marketing All-Stars presents a rare opportunity to delve into the minds of some of the world’s top marketers, leaders and talent shaping our industry and region.

This week, we head to Grants Pass (sort of) and our Marketing Champion of the Year, Milly PinedaDutch Bros‘s director of DEI & Learning and Development. With an infectious energy and a positive outlook, Milly continually shines a bright light on all the good from a brand dedicated to the right thing.

What do you value most in your work in this role, and what do you consider your biggest accomplishment in your current role?

As a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader, what I value most in this role is the profound impact it allows me to have on how we show up as individuals within the organization. It’s about recognizing that each of us plays a crucial role in owning DEI, not just as a set of policies and initiatives but as a fundamental aspect of our individual and collective identities. 

I prioritize creating an environment where every team member understands their role in championing diversity, actively contributing to a workplace culture that embraces inclusivity. 

My most significant accomplishment in my current role is fostering a culture where owning DEI is not solely a top-down initiative but a collective responsibility. It’s about creating a mindset shift where individuals understand that the power to shape our organizational culture lies in their hands. Through workshops, awareness campaigns, and open dialogues, I’ve emphasized that every interaction, decision, and collaboration is an opportunity to manifest our commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

It’s about how we show up daily, recognizing that our actions and decisions collectively define our workplace culture. Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) serve as vital forums for employees to connect, share experiences, and actively contribute to shaping our workplace culture. ERGs provide a platform for individuals to express their unique perspectives and foster a sense of community. 

By supporting and amplifying these groups’ voices, we’ve strengthened our commitment to diversity and cultivated an inclusive space where individuals feel heard, valued, and empowered. In our journey toward creating a workplace that genuinely embodies diversity, equity, and inclusion, we will listen and learn from the voices of our employees. This commitment ensures that our culture guides us toward intentional steps that create an environment of love, respect, and kindness. By centering our actions around the lived experiences of our diverse workforce, we aim not only to understand but also to celebrate the unique strengths that everyone brings to the table. 

Through this ongoing dialogue, we reaffirm our dedication to fostering a workplace where everyone feels seen, heard, and embraced.

What do you like to do outside of your work?

Outside of my professional life, I immerse myself in a dynamic mix of activities that reflect my passion for sports, family, and personal growth. As a football coach, I find immense joy and fulfillment in teaching the game and instilling values like teamwork, resilience, and sportsmanship in the young athletes I mentor. It’s more than just a sport; it’s a platform where I can empower girls in sports, breaking down barriers and fostering a sense of inclusivity on the field. 

As a mentor and coach, I believe in the transformative power of sports to build confidence and character. Empowering girls in sports goes beyond the game itself; it’s about creating an environment where they recognize their strength, worth, and the importance of supporting one another. Through my coaching, I aim to contribute to a future where inclusivity is second nature, both on and off the field. 

At home, my focus turns to instill values in my kids that go beyond the immediate and extend into the broader concept of inclusivity. Whether it’s through bedtime stories that celebrate diversity or family discussions around the dinner table, I want my children to understand the importance of embracing differences and championing equality. These values are the building blocks of a future where inclusivity is not just a concept but a lived experience. So, in every endeavor, big or small, there’s an intentional effort to extract joy, find humor, and relish the distinctive flavors that diverse experiences bring. 

It’s not just about achieving goals; it’s about enjoying the journey, acknowledging the beauty in differences, and building a life that is not only productive but also profoundly fulfilling. After all, life is extraordinary, and it’s meant to be lived with a spirit of fun and an open heart to embrace the myriad hues that make it uniquely beautiful.

What impact does the Pacific Northwest have on your work?

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest has significantly influenced my professional journey in various ways. The rich history of companies rooted in this region adds a meaningful layer to my career path. Working for companies with roots in the Pacific Northwest signifies a dedication to values ingrained in the local culture. It reinforces the sense that the roots run deep, anchoring my work in innovation and community engagement that define the essence of the Pacific Northwest. 

I find inspiration in the commitment to forward-thinking approaches, which encourages me to integrate creative problem-solving and environmentally conscious practices into my projects. The unique PNW culture has refined my professional skills and instilled a sense of responsibility toward crafting solutions that align with the broader goals of sustainability and innovation. 

The Pacific Northwest’s diverse talent landscape is another impactful aspect. Working in an environment that reflects rich diversity brings a wealth of perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table. This diversity fuels creativity, fosters a dynamic exchange of ideas, and ensures that the projects I engage in benefit from a broad spectrum of insights and lived experiences. Collaborating with individuals from varied backgrounds enriches the creative process, leading to more innovative and inclusive outcomes. 

The PNW is so laid back; the environment gives us a natural commitment to work/life balance. Whether it be hitting the mountain range, driving to the coast, camping in the forest, or floating on the lake, the landscape of PNW significantly influences how I structure my professional life. The Pacific Northwest’s recognition of the importance of downtime and personal well-being aligns with my values, prompting a conscious effort to prioritize a healthy balance between work and life. This approach enhances my personal fulfillment and contributes to a more sustainable and productive work environment. 

The Pacific Northwest is not just a geographical location for me; it’s a dynamic force that influences the fabric of my professional journey. From instilling an innovative mindset to fostering a diverse and collaborative workspace and emphasizing the significance of a balanced lifestyle, this beautiful place will always shape how I approach and engage with my work.

How would you characterize the Pacific Northwest marketing/creative community? In your mind, what makes it unique?

The Pacific Northwest marketing and creative community is vibrant and filled with innovation, authenticity, and conscious creativity. We are all creatives in our ways, roles, and the way we show up in this world. 

What sets the PNW apart and makes us truly unique is the fusion of several distinctive elements that contribute to its dynamic and progressive nature. The community has an authentic and unapologetic approach to storytelling. I believe we are known for being genuine and a laid-back culture. Marketing and creative endeavors reflect a commitment to narratives that resonate on a human level. Brands and campaigns originating from the Pacific Northwest often prioritize authenticity, fostering a deeper connection with audiences by sharing stories that are real, relatable, and reflective of the diverse experiences within the community.

Additionally, collaboration and inclusivity are vital pillars of the Pacific Northwest. The diverse population and a culture that values different perspectives create an environment where collaboration thrives. This collaborative spirit is evident within individual companies and community-wide initiatives that bring together creatives from various backgrounds, fostering innovation and enriching the creative landscape. 

Whether it’s the quirkiness of local advertisements or the innovative approaches to experiential marketing, a sense of playfulness adds a unique flavor to the creative output, reflecting the laid-back yet inventive spirit. 

As a native of the Pacific Northwest, I grew up with the community’s genuine storytelling, environmental consciousness, dedication to fostering collaborative synergy, and a delightful touch of playfulness. It’s a community that reflects the spirit of the PNW and actively shapes the future of marketing and creativity by embracing diversity, authenticity, and a commitment to making a positive impact.

See the 2023 ThinkNW Marketing All-Stars class, and contact us to learn more about the program.

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