United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) said this week that it has named Guillaume Bagal VP of diversity and inclusion, a newly created role at the Providence, R.I.-based wholesale food distributor.
Bagal, whose appointment is effective Sept. 14, will advance 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, according to a release. 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 [diversity and inclusion] efforts and bringing together a more holistic strategy to advance our position as North America’s premiere 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 most recently was head of diversity, equity and inclusion, for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Through an ability to create internal partnerships, Bagal helped refine the insurer’s internal and external diversity 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, 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 Blue Cross, Bagal served two and half years in policy roles at Whitman-Walker Health and, prior to that, he was 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 was president of the 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, with his husband, Bobby Gondola Jr.