Oral Histories

Kelly McGinnis

Interview Segments on Topic: Code of Ethics/Mission Statement/Credo

Kelly McGinnis Biography

Kelly McGinnis is the senior vice president and chief communications officer for Levi Strauss & Co. She shapes the company’s corporate affairs strategy and managing stakeholder relations.

Previously, McGinnis served as the vice president of global communications at Dell, Inc. Before Dell, she was the general manager of Fleishman-Hilliard’s San Francisco office and led corporate communications for drugstore.com.


INTERVIEWER: Is it important for a corporation to have an ethical mission statement or code of ethics or credo?

MCGINNIS: I think for us, it all starts with our purpose. And our purpose is about enabling individuals and organizations to really achieve their potential to grow and thrive. What that translates to in terms of what we expect of our employees, is that they respect our customers first and foremost. I think that if you bring that level of respect and authenticity to your customer interaction that answers so many other questions around ethics and other things. Now, we do annual training. It has a very high focus. Every one of our executives, starting with Michael Dell, our CEO and founder, will bring it up at each of our leadership team meetings, so there is a very, very high expectation of reminders. But at our core, it’s about our purpose, and rarely do we get ourselves in trouble if we follow first and foremost, what’s the right thing in terms of delivering for our customers. That’s really been the message. And it’s so closely aligned with the history of the company, where we were built on a direct business of really responding to and trying to make PCs affordable and accessible. Continuing to follow that model, we don’t really stray if we follow that.