Wholesale distributor and retail operator United Natural Foods Inc. named Guillaume Bagal the company’s first vice president of diversity & inclusion, effective Sept. 14, 2020.
In the newly created role, Bagal will continue advancing UNFI’s commitment to be a company that promotes equality, celebrates diversity, dismantles systemic racism in its workplace, and supports justice in the communities it serves. He will report to Danielle Benedict, UNFI’s chief human resources officer.
“Guillaume has a tremendous background, including a strong track record for bringing about change, generating associate engagement and creating programs that help diversity initiatives and organizations prosper,” said Benedict. “His immediate focus will be on team building, reviewing and revising our current D&I efforts, and bringing together a more holistic strategy to advance our position as North America’s premier grocery wholesaler and a top workplace for associates of all backgrounds. He’s experienced and motivated and will no doubt hit the ground running.”
Bagal (left) most recently served as head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). Bagal helped refine BCBSRI’s internal and external DEI efforts and, in just over two years, helped grow their associates of color population and foster a sense of belonging, elevated the supplier diversity program with a stronger focus on Tier 2 spend, and earned the Rhode Island Black Business Association’s Diversity Champion Award in 2019. This year, Bagal was also appointed to Rhode Island Governor’s Equity Council, to help address inequities witnessed through the COVID-19 pandemic, and inform Rhode Island’s reopening plan.
Prior to BCBSRI, Bagal served two and half years in policy roles at Whitman-Walker Health and, prior to that, served as a director of policy at the Center for Global Health & Diplomacy, and engaged with various healthcare stakeholders while employed at Avalere Health. He also has extensive community leadership experience and currently serves on several boards, including the Rhode Island Public Health Institute, where he chairs the community advisory and advocacy group for Open Door Health (Rhode Island’s first LGBTQ health center). He also previously served as president of the GLAA (Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance), the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.
Bagal is fluent in French, English and two African dialects and holds two master’s degrees: Master of Healthcare Administration from George Mason University and Master of Sociology from East Carolina University. He earned his undergraduate degree in French and biology from East Carolina University. Bagal resides in Providence, R.I., with his husband, Bobby Gondola Jr.