This summer, members of the Institute began a project with corporate partner Tupperware Brands to examine the interplay between confidence, a woman’s economic empowerment, and organizational structures. As part of this project, members of the Institute team have been embedding in the organizational culture to get a deeper understanding of the dynamics of working with Tupperware.
Professor Jason Schloetzer and I began by attending Tupperware’s Jubilee for the United States and Canada this August. These Jubilees are yearly events held around the globe that provide a venue for management and sales force members to celebrate accomplishments, share best practices, and establish organizational goals. Yet, these are not a routine sales force conference or awards dinner. At the opening meeting for top leadership to ostensibly provide an overview of organizational priorities and an exclusive look at upcoming products and initiatives, Tupperware Brands President for the US and Canada Stein Ove Fenne opened the meeting by teaching us all precisely how and when to fist pump appropriately during a techno song. This was an illustration of their Jubilee’s theme: Energy in Motion. The Opening Ceremony held later on, which included all 3,000 attendees, was an even more animated affair. The ceremony started with a complex lights show that included a fog machine and was followed by live music and professional dance routines. Anyone who received an award or other recognition (both of which were numerous) was enthusiastically welcomed back to their seats from the stage by their regional teams that formed tunnels with their hands to run through.
In addition to celebration, the Jubilee provided an opportunity for sales force members to develop valuable relationships with their peers and learn new strategies to grow their own Tupperware businesses. In the large gatherings and the smaller trainings, presenting sales force members emphasized how much they “love what they do.” They also encouraged those in the audience to “be confident” in their own skills, in the Tupperware products, and in the support Tupperware will provide. The message was that this confidence would inspire those attending their Tupperware parties to trust the brand, purchase the products, and perhaps even join the sales force. These narratives were surprisingly convincing – even for outsiders. Both Professor Schloetzer and I left the Jubilee tempted to host our own Tupperware parties. We found that the implications for female empowerment and gender equality may just be getting started here.
– Nicole Ratelle