WSWA is the national trade association representing the distribution tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 380 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States.
Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America
In 2016, WSWA recognized the need to launch the WSWA Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) to help provide women in the wholesaler tier with networking and professional skills development opportunities with the objective to help them advance in the wholesale tier and global alcohol marketplace. WLC hosts an annual conference each year and has also developed strategic partnerships and targeted programs to help toward achieving the council’s goals.
Each quarter WSWA recognizes women in the industry through WLC’s Spotlight to increase the profile on women in wholesale. Additionally, WLC has created an “Icon Award” that goes to an individual that encompasses the WLC three pillars – to educate, elevate and empower women.
In 2019, WLC partnered with Columbia University to support the Women in Leadership Program designed to advance women leaders in the wine and spirits industry – enabling them to navigate the business landscape, develop and leverage their talents, and step into roles of greater influence and leadership.
In 2020, WLC launched its Mentorship Program, the first cross-company mentoring program for the industry that matched current women leaders and future women leaders from different companies to help facilitate professional growth and skill development. In 2021, WLC doubled the number of women participating and continues to build excitement amongst its participants and supporters about the future impact of this program.
In October 2020, WSWA also launched its Talent Development and Diversity Council, comprised of HR leaders and diversity professionals across WSWA’s member companies to better understand talent recruitment and retention challenges, share “best practices” and develop both tools and resources, and advocate for the value of diversity and inclusion with the goal of creating a more diverse workforce. The Council also makes an effort to maximize the talents and skillsets of current employees. WSWA is excited about developing this council further to increase the value proposition it will have in 2021 and beyond.