Stefen J. Welch has joined Saks Off 5th as divisional vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.
The position, a new one at Saks Off 5th, comes on the heels of the off-price chain’s formation of a council for diversity, equity and inclusion in August. The DEI council is made up of corporate, store and distribution center associates.
Recently, Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay in Canada, which like Saks Off 5th are divisions of the Hudson’s Bay Co., also named their first D&I executives.
Officials described Welch as a “proactive and results-driven leader with more than 15 years of experience connecting businesses to communities with diverse talent, customers and opportunities.” Also cited was Welch’s track record of developing D&I strategies for organizations. Most recently, he worked for Rocket Mortgage, where he established and led the company’s first D&I team, and developed a strategy promoting an inclusive and diverse culture.
In other D&I efforts, Off 5th formed a long-term partnership with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, a national nonprofit organization for advancing health equity and social justice for Black women. Off 5th said it will donate $100,000 over the next two years to support BWHI’s mental health, wellness and mentorship initiatives. As part of the partnership with BWHI, Off 5th gave 100 gift cards to young women in its My Sister’s Keeper and SIS Circles programs, which are focused on empowering high school and college girls of color.
Also, Off 5th has joined the Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan group of businesses working to promote civic responsibility. According to Off 5th, a “community-centric focus” is a key element of its DE&I strategy. For Election Day, Saks Off 5th’s corporate office in New York will be closed and all Off 5th stores in the U.S. will close by 5 p.m. local time so associates can vote and have some time to volunteer that day.