By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Stephanie Childs, Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations at Diageo North America, took center stage at the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) annual MidWinter Training Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where Diageo stood as a major partner.
Founded in 1997, Diageo is a relatively young company, but many of its brands are steeped in rich heritage, with some dating as far back as the 17th century.
The company’s portfolio spans the spectrum of tastes and occasions, with over 200 brands and sales in nearly 180 countries, that includes the world’s best selling Scotch whisky brand (Johnnie Walker), the most celebrated gin (Tanqueray), the world’s best selling premium distilled vodka (Smirnoff), the world-leading iconic stout (Guinness), and the world’s best-selling cream liquer (Baileys).
With a focus on responsible drinking and the power of public and private partnerships, Childs shared insights on the spirit company’s commitment to crucial initiatives, including partnering with the Black Press of America.
“First of all, NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is such a committed advocate and understands the mission we’re on, the importance of spreading the mission of spreading the language of moderation, and the importance of public and private partnerships we need to work together we need to reach out to organizations that have reach and to communities of color,” Childs stated. “The Black Press is a trusted messenger, and I couldn’t think of better messengers on this journey.
In her role at Diageo, Childs is integral to the executive leadership team, overseeing a dedicated group of professionals in communications, government relations, and social impact programs. She sits on the Boards of the American Distilled Spirits Association, the British American Business Council and the Public Affairs Council, the leading professional development organization for corporate affairs experts. Child also counts as the executive sponsor of Diageo’s African American employee business resource group.
With a background that includes roles at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, PepsiCo, and the United States Postal Service, Childs has proven equipped with a unique perspective on the intersection of business and social responsibility.
She shared her connection to the cause, having joined Diageo in 2021. She described the partnership with NNPA as a “signature accomplishment close to [her] heart,” attributing its success to the dedicated leadership of Deborah Crew, former head of Diageo North America.
“We were committed to it and put the resources behind this partnership,” Childs asserted. “I think the key message is that you have a choice in terms of how you think about alcohol, how you consume; there are low alcohol choices, no alcohol choices; we invite people to educate themselves.”
She emphasized the role of education in responsible drinking and highlighted various tools available to the public, such as DrinkIQ.com, a survey designed to help individuals understand their relationship with alcohol.
“We have several tools: something called DrinkIQ.com, a survey people can take to learn more about their relationship with alcohol; and a ‘wrong side of the road’ tool that educates people about consequences of impaired driving and teaches people how to be intentional,” Childs explained, stressing Diageo’s commitment to responsible drinking. She urged individuals to be intentional about their drinking habits and expressed that it is not in Diageo’s interest to have people misuse their products.
Further, Childs acknowledged the longstanding legacy of the Black Press, which in 2027 will celebrate its bicentennial as the trusted source of information for people of color.
“It’s a testament to how this industry has persisted in the face of challenges; it is such a trusted avenue of information for people of color. I look forward to supporting the Black Press as you grow,” Childs affirmed.