2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Amanda d’Halluin (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Trade Marketing Manager
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
When I was 16, I was fortunate to have a summer job at Weston Bakeries working with sales/category management as an analyst. There was something about the atmosphere and dynamic environment that made me eager to prove myself and learn as much as possible. I returned every summer and eventually continued part-time with Weston Bakeries in the last two years of my undergrad, where I was earning a degree in economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. After graduating, I continued to pursue a career in CPG. What was initially a summer fling naturally blossomed into a marriage with the industry.
What are your career highlights/greatest achievements so far?
In my previous role, I was responsible for driving co-pack and private label new business development with all Canadian customers across the entire Lactalis manufacturing portfolio of cheese, tablespreads, fluid and cultured products. When I assumed the role in 2016, it was the start of the PL department with myself as the sole member. Opportunity was endless and I set out to evolve Lactalis from a transactional private label partner to a strategic one with our customers. Over three years, I was able to secure multiple new businesses, deliver an average growth contribution of $47 million in turnover annually and launch over 120 new products to the Canadian market.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the ability to play a key role in creating the vision for our business and implementing the stepping stones to get there. I’m fortunate to work with amazing quality products and brands like Astro, Siggi’s and Stonyfield, but with growing downward pressures on manufacturing and difficulties in the grocery landscape, it is extremely challenging to build a thriving business for the long term. Finding ways to overcome these challenges brings opportunity for growth and development every single day.
What is your proudest moment?
I am so proud of the moments where my mentoring played a part in driving success for my teammates. We all have something to learn from one another and elevating those around us only makes for a stronger organization and ultimately greater success. I try my best to learn from others but also invest the time to teach from my own strengths. It can create a longer road travelled but this is a quality I hold with importance day to day at the workplace. It simply feels good to know when I was able to play a role in any team member’s development, making the persistent tenacity worth it.
What is your best quality?
My positive outlook. It is so important to bring a positive mindset to the workplace so that I can be the best version of myself and bring the best out in others. The ability to see the glass half full and recognize gratitude for all that we do have can be the difference for some when it comes to keeping one’s sanity. I have found this to hold especially true in the last year living through a pandemic—thank goodness for fresh air, group chats, same-day delivery and sourdough 101 tutorial videos.
What is the best advice you received?
Be yourself. I have often battled with how to present myself at the workplace. It is easy to be intimidated by others and constantly second-guess yourself. However, I have found that when I can be true to myself, I am pushed to develop both professionally and personally. When exercising this advice, I have been able to form genuine connections and beautiful friendships. When there is a bond between team members, it creates a safe environment to work cohesively and productively. Most importantly, it makes the workplace much more fun and enjoyable.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I am truly humbled to be one of the recognized Star Women this year. However, I know that what makes me worthy to accept this award is in large part due to the amazing support system I’ve had the privilege to be a part of over the years. I want to express my deep gratitude to all of the mentors, managers, peers and family that have given me the opportunity to develop an amazing career and have been instrumental in shaping who I am as a person today. Thank you to all of you!
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.