IMPACTful Dialogues: Nick Alfano

February 29, 2024

In this episode of the IMPACTful Dialogues Podcast series host Dexter Davis welcomes guest Nick Alfano, executive vice president and president of Ecolab’s industrial group.

This Black History Month, we take a step back to reflect on how far Ecolab has come through the development and progress of its employee resource groups (ERGs) and the challenges we’re still working to overcome. EcoEssence, which has grown to over 1,200 members worldwide, is a shining example of our ERGs’ positive impact as well as Ecolab’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

To discuss the importance of ERGs, Dexter Davis, vice president, Human Resources, Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion sat down with EcoEssence’s new executive sponsor, Nick Alfano, executive vice president and president, Global Industrial for the first IMPACTful Dialogues interview. This Ecolab podcast series, hosted by Dexter, features leaders exploring their experiences and leadership within different markets and functions, guided by the IMPACTful Dialogues framework: Inclusion, Mindfulness, Purpose, Awareness, Collaboration and Trust.

Here are some highlights from their conversation.

Dexter: What is it like coming into this new role as an executive sponsor for EcoEssence and to really get an opportunity to work with the enterprise leads, and how are you feeling coming into this role?

Nick: I strongly believe in the power of connectivity that ERGs bring to the company, and after learning about EcoEssence and its goals to advance Black and African American career opportunities, it felt right to me. Last fall, I had the chance to attend the Executive Leadership Council, which is an organization dedicated to advancing Black executives in business, and I really thought about EcoEssence and Ecolab as a tremendous feeder for this. And that's why I said yes, when you asked me to become the executive sponsor for EcoEssence.

Dexter: Nick, you’ve had a very successful career here at Ecolab, and you’ve had various projects where you had to break down internal barriers to enable teams. How has that dedication made an impact on your team and driven your career?

Nick: I really believe in the mission of this company, to do the right things for our customers and the world. This is enabled by our teams globally. I've learned over the years that even though we have a consistent business model, it's delivered in different ways depending on the customers we serve and the geographies that we operate in. So, this requires breaking down barriers and providing diversity of thought. I’m a real big believer in diversity of thought. Diversity of thought comes from the diversity of our associates. I’ve travelled to 70 plus countries in my career with the company and observed the impact of culture, albeit different cultures, to get the job done. What this means is that we need to celebrate different cultures, embrace diversity and ensure our associate base reflects this. My job is always to look at the business situation, to look at how we’re approaching things, to make sure that we do break down barriers, and we bring that diversity of thought that I just referenced to the equation.

Dexter: ERGs play a critical role in our commitment to creating a diverse and innovative workplace. In this context, what is your vision and plans in working with others to really ensure the future of EcoEssence continues on a path of really impacting our underrepresented folks and also our Black and African American associates?

Nick: From where I sit, I have the opportunity to give support to EcoEssence both from a contribution standpoint and also from a marketing standpoint. We talked about the need for marketing communication support and other things like IT support that we can do so that the EcoEssence brand can get out to the company and we can affect a lot more individuals. I think the group’s leaders have done a wonderful job guiding EcoEssence. My job is to be additive to them.

Dexter: Nick, as we think about that, you've played the mentor role quite often in your career. Why is it important for executives to really play that mentor sponsorship role?

Nick: It's a great question. I get a lot out of it, and I get a lot of energy from it. I get to meet a lot of people in the company, and I get to talk to a lot of associates about where they are in their career, where they want to go, and I get an immense amount of satisfaction out of helping the next generation of leaders in this company to lead this company.

Frankly, it's one of the best parts of my job, and I feel like I said before, at this point in my career, it's something I want to do.

To listen to the full IMPACTful Dialogues conversation, listen on Storyboard.

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