A Conversation with Beatriz Tumoine, Global Social Impact Director, CEMEX


SVI: You recently moved from CEMEX’s Human Resources team to the Global Social Impact team.  Why did you make that move?

Beatriz Tumoine: There are very few choices this big that have a simple answer. I deeply appreciate and value the time I spent working in Human Resources, and I was fortunate to find early in my career a passion for people strategy and learning.  You see, people are the key to unlocking value.  Having the opportunity to help others understand their motivations, realize their full potential, and in doing so, achieve business objectives, has been extremely rewarding.

Having a leadership role in HR through the pandemic has been one of the most demanding challenges I’ve had in my career, but it also gave me a new, broader understanding of the needs of the ecosystem of people beyond our people. I honestly felt a calling to raise my head and look beyond and work towards building solutions for society’s most pressing challenges, and do that by leveraging the amazing platform our company provides. I was planning on continuing this work through my role in HR when I got a call from my boss asking if I would be interested in interviewing for the Social Impact role.  I love exploring and learning so I said yes, knowing this was not a promotion, but an opportunity to expand my range and follow my purpose.

SVI: What is similar about the work you did in HR and what you do now in Social Impact? What’s different?

Beatriz Tumoine: I think it was Bob Marley who wrote, “In this great future, you can’t forget your past,” and I haven’t.  When I think about how to solve the social challenges that we face, there are many transferable skills that I built in HR and now apply in Social Impact.  For instance, throughout my career in HR, I focused on learning, leadership development, and succession planning and developed frameworks and approaches to accelerate change and develop people-centric solutions and platforms. These skills and tools are crucial in supporting my work today in Social Impact. What I did not anticipate was the complexity of serving in this new role in a global company.  In HR, listening to the organization and developing solutions that could benefit our people around the world proved challenging, but it is nowhere near the challenge of listening to our communities globally and trying to design solutions that improve their lives and livelihoods.

As part of our adaptation and resilience to climate change efforts, this year we launched a project to improve our capabilities to respond to disasters that affect our communities in 24 hours and leverage our unique position to support people who live nearby our plants to recover faster from the impact of these events. With operations in over 20 countries, our exposure varies from droughts to storms and flooding so just like in HR we had to segment our population, develop solutions, and prioritize audiences to maximize of our resources and leave no one behind.

I continue to learn and struggle to find the right balance between local and global solutions and to maximize the positive impact our organization can make in the cities where we operate, and ultimately worldwide.

SVI: What issues or challenges keep you up at night?

Beatriz Tumoine: Well, I am the mother of two teenage boys, so there are more than a few things that keep me up at night.  But from a work perspective I am very much concerned with two issues:

  • The impact of climate change and the increase on frequency and severity of weather disasters. Our operations in the Caribbean, western Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are increasingly exposed to devastating floods and storms, while the southern US, northern Mexico, and western Europe face droughts that compromise the continuity of our operations and the livelihoods of our people and are also a driving force to challenges such as migration. Knowing that these situations pose an even greater burden on women and girls literally prevents me from sleeping, and I run scenarios and options and opportunities for us to participate in the solution constantly.
  • This brings me to the second issue: growing violence and aggression towards women and girls in my community, in my country and in many places around the world. We can’t continue living in a world that does not value, respect, and protect its women. Young girls should not be victims of abuse, traded as tokens, or killed. I struggle working in the context of my role as the D&I leader within the company when we talk about representation in senior management, while there are still women in my country with no access to education, or even allowed to leave their houses to join the formal workforce, or are being killed in the streets.

SVI: What role do you see CEMEX playing in helping to address these serious challenges?

Beatriz Tumoine: As we work towards our climate goals, and every day become a more aware, more committed company, innovating to lead on ESG in our industry, I see great potential for us to contribute in building a better future for all.

As a company we are uniquely equipped in supporting individual and large-scale builders to improve the quality of homes, schools, hospitals, and other key infrastructure using sustainable, lower carbon products. We are expanding programs like Patrimonio Hoy, that has provided financial support, technical assistance, and products to improve the homes of over 600,000 low-income families in Mexico for the pas 25-years.

As we accelerate our path to a green economy CEMEX can continue to support the skilling and reskilling of our own people and others in the community to ensure they have access to education and quality training to benefit from the jobs being created in our industry and other related businesses. To date, we have trained over 5,000 of our employees on the fundamentals of climate change, large customers on sustainable construction, and piloted a program with our supply chain on the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.

Being a global company with the opportunity to learn from our operations in Europe, we are well positioned to support governments and multilateral agencies in the Global South to share our internal best practices and help them develop the policies, practices, and programs required for cities in the global south to change their energy mixes, increase efficiency and invest on zero-carbon solutions.

Personally, I am proud to work at CEMEX and believe that we will continue to be essential to the development of resilient communities and thriving cities in the future, I am working hard and learning from amazing partners, like FSG, so that I can bring quality solutions, innovative thinking, and visible impact to the company and our people.