2020 Star Women in Grocery winner Philippa Macleod (Q&A)


Rising star

Philippa MacLeod
Director, Merchandising Planning & Analytics
Customer Intelligence
Metro Inc.

How did you get into the grocery business?
I entered grocery through the world of analytics, working for data consultancy Dunnhumby in the U.K. I spent the first two years working with the Tesco business and their CPG partners to leverage insights in retail planning. In 2012, I jumped at the opportunity to come to Canada with Dunnhumby, to work on the Metro business in leveraging data. From day one in Canada, the environment at Metro has given me the opportunity to learn the dynamics of grocery retail, take on new challenges, and develop my personal leadership. In 2019, after years working alongside Metro, I took on a role within the business to build out the new customer intelligence division in Ontario.

What do you consider your greatest career achievements? 
One of my greatest achievements is playing a role in establishing data analytics as “table stakes” in merchandising decisions and processes—an accomplishment that has been the accumulation of many people, projects, processes and leaders. Over my years in Canada, I have seen evolution in the appetite and application of analytics at Metro, and like to think I have played a role in helping to shape this journey.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
Probably that I came to Canada in my early 20s with limited knowledge of the Canadian grocery landscape nor the intricacies of retailer processes, and had to quickly build credibility to present strategic ideas or recommending change to senior retail leaders. My approach to overcome this was employing both humility and confidence; seeking to understand as much as I could about different areas of the business and learn from the years of experience held by the team, while maintaining confidence in my own knowledge of analytics and how I could apply this to the business.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Your career path is in your own hands. To shape this, you need to seek out learning, stretch your own comfort zone, and build out your network. Sometimes the path may not flow as you originally expected, but embrace the journey and find the learning opportunities along the way.

What do you like most about your job?
No day in grocery retail is ever the same and there is never a chance for complacency. Working in a culture that embraces pace of change, encourages new ideas, and empowers team growth, all bring dynamism to my role. Also as an analytics enthusiast, the richness of the data in our business and the constantly expanding potential of how this can be leveraged is exciting. Not to mention that grocery retail is genuinely interesting, as we can all relate to it. Doesn’t everyone enjoy going on store tours when they go on vacation?

What is your leadership style?
I try to lead with authenticity as a core vale; I believe we all work best when leaders and teams can be open, empathetic, and given freedom to take decisions. I also look to build a team culture where curiosity is actively encouraged, and that all individuals find the right balance between challenge and support to enable their personal growth.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Only a big thank you to everyone at Metro for this recognition and their ongoing support, particularly this year when I am soon due to take on a new important role, a first-time parent!

Click here for the full list of 2020 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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