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Drafting wills in
Tanzania. Building a diverse legal pipeline in Chile. Advising small
businesses in Cameroon. Practicing securities law. Winning activism
awards. Ensuring Walmart’s legal department was truly global.
Serving as Diversity Officer for the American Bar Association’s Section
of International Law as well as a Commissioner organization’s Commission
on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
All of these experiences and more led Gretchen C. Bellamy, Esq.,
AS99, to her current role as senior director, global diversity, equity
and inclusion, international markets for McDonald’s Corp.
“I’ve had lots of twists and turns in my journey, but I needed all of
the steps to be prepared for this job,” Bellamy said. ”The best parts
of all the work I’ve done, and all the experiences I’ve had are in this
position - they have all primed me for this role. McDonald’s symbolizes
America, feel-good, delicious moments for everyone, and convenience, so I
chose to pursue this position because it aligns with my values. And
like our slogan goes, ‘I’m lovin it!’”
Bellamy started the newly created position in April and is
responsible for managing, aligning and leading the diversity, equity and
inclusion strategy for McDonald’s in more than 115 countries as well as
delivering market-specific initiatives, campaigns and processes.
“Essentially, I’m providing a toolkit for the managing
directors/market presidents and their chief people officers to
ultimately embed diversity, equity and inclusion within their strategic
business priorities,” Bellamy explained. “It’s really taking McDonald’s
three-legged stool approach of looking at the business – employees,
franchisees and customers – and tying it back to our customers and
communities through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens, which drives
home the importance of our values overall. I approach my work like
change management and organizational development, but through the
diversity, equity and inclusion lens, which touches all functions of the
business to help the company be resilient and understand where we are
in this moment.”
In addition to her extensive travel, law school fellowship and work
experience, Bellamy credits her background and time at UD with helping
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Bellamy and her son, Stefan, traveling in Budapest.
“I look at the trajectory of my life and how I got here—I’m one of
26 children and a first-generation college student,” Bellamy shared. “I
transferred to UD and right away went to London to study abroad. I was
hooked. A classmate and I went on a clandestine trip to Malaysia, and I
never saw poverty like that. So when I returned to UD, I started working
at a transitional homeless shelter for women and an outpatient drug and
alcohol facility in Wilmington.”
After serving in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, Bellamy went on to Duke
University School of Law where she earned not only her J.D. but an
LL.M. in international and comparative law, focusing on human rights.
She had an opportunity to join a large law firm in New York City after
graduation, but felt like it didn’t align with the values she developed
throughout her life and time at UD. Bellamy was a member of the
University’s chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, a gender-inclusive honor
fraternity that combines aspects of a service fraternity, social
fraternity and an honor society. The fraternity was a large part of her
University experience and helped her engage with like-minded students
who weren’t exactly like her, but had a common purpose with “real things
Bellamy also connected with faculty members who helped shape her pathway to her position at McDonald’s.
Bellamy accepts her diploma at her UD graduation in 1999.
“Two professors were instrumental
in my time at UD. Robert Denemark, who is still on faculty at UD, taught
diplomacy and that was the best class I took. The other was an
economics professor, Eleanor Craig, who retired after 50 years of
teaching. She is the reason why I minored in economics and she helped
me make my decision of where to go to law school,” Bellamy said. “Being
engaged with faculty members and other students made me feel
nurtured—like I was taken care of at the University.”
Motivated by her warm memories of UD, the influential Blue Hens who
have helped shape her journey and gratitude for the help others gave her
along the way, Bellamy chooses to support areas at the University that
reflect her life and profession: a Minority Affairs Scholarship and
Center for Study of Diversity.
“I had funding support when I was a student, and I know how hard it
was to make money while studying abroad,” Bellamy said. ”There are
barriers to these experiences, and I want to help break those down so
people—specifically underrepresented minorities—have critical
experiences regardless of finances. I fought every step of the way to
study abroad, get my education, have the experiences I’ve had and to be
in the positions I’ve held. So if I can make it easier for the next
generation and inspire students in similar situations, I want to do
In her efforts to encourage students who are in the position she
once was in; Bellamy has some words of advice for today’s Blue Hens.
“Dream the dreams, make sure the opportunities you take are based on
your values and don’t be fearful of change because it will lead you to
next steps,” Bellamy said. “Nothing has to be forever, but be specific
in what you want while also being flexible. Always show up and know that
so many are willing to help and know the role you’re playing is
important. People are needed in challenging places so don’t be afraid
because sometimes you’re supposed to be there to improve the situation. I
live every day with courage and can say I’m being true to myself and I
hope the same for others.”
Reprinted from Alumni & Friends Stories