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Plant Based World Council Introductions: Le’Spencer Walker

Le’Spencer Walker’s role as the Director of Merchandising Vendor Development at Target is more than just a job; it’s a mission to drive change in the retail landscape. With a background in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Walker combines technical expertise with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and sustainability. His journey in retail is marked by a constant pursuit of innovation and inclusivity.

Walker’s approach to retail is holistic. He believes in the power of connectivity, collaboration, and purpose. His work involves providing the Target team with tools, processes, mindset insights, data, and storytelling to inspire growth. This approach is not only about enhancing business performance but also about fostering a culture of learning and development.

Leading the Merchandising Vendor Development team, Walker focuses on engaging, onboarding, and developing vendor partners for Target, with a special emphasis on equity for  diverse-owned businesses. This aligns with Target’s REACH enterprise goals, showcasing his dedication to creating opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs.

His passion for providing pathways for emerging companies and advocating for diversity and inclusion is evident in his work. He has been instrumental in conceptualizing and executing Target’s Black History Month Assortment, highlighting his commitment to cultural representation and inclusivity in retail. He emphasizes that his work spans far beyond the realm of “charity”, communicating that supplier diversity is a sound and profitable business practice that allows retailers to connect more authentically with their customers.

Walker’s interest in sustainable products led him to the plant-based world. “I am passionate about providing diverse-owned businesses the chance to be successful in mass retail. I think of equity as more than just financial equity but opportunity equity as well,” he explains. His experience attending Plant Based World Expo in 2022 was a turning point, as he saw parallels between sustainable product sourcing and his efforts in retail diversity.

As an advocate for blending efficiency, creativity, and an authentic shopping experience, Walker is excited about the potential of plant-based foods and products. “I am excited to collaborate with this group, stay curious, and bring the diversity and innovation from the plant-based world back to my work at Target.” His vision and expertise make him a valuable member of the Plant Based World Advisory Council, poised to bridge the gap between sustainable products and mass retail, shaping a more inclusive and environmentally conscious experience for shoppers of all backgrounds.