2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Jennifer Allchin (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Director of Sales – Western Canada
A. Lassonde Inc.
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I started my career in the CPG industry after university. I always knew I was interested in sales and thought the idea of selling food items sounded fun. I have always loved grocery shopping, seeing the newest trends and products and shopping for the best deals. Making a career out of something I love has been a great experience.
What are you proudest about in terms of your work?
I love working with cross-functional teams to make ideas reality. It’s takes a lot of departments to make things happen: marketing, trade, category management. Working with customers to then execute these plans is so rewarding. It’s pretty cool to see something in a store that you have made happen.
What do you think is your best quality?
Building lasting relationships within the industry has always been important to me and something that I work hard to maintain. I love going to industry events and seeing people I have met and worked with along the way. Treating everyone with respect, even though you may not always be aligned, is important to maintain these relationships. Work is always easier (and more fun) if you get along with the people you work with.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
My grandpa was a vice-president of sales at a large steel company. When I was about to start my career, I asked him if he had any tips for me. He said to show respect to all, know your stuff, always dress one level higher than is required, and it’s better to be an hour early versus five minutes late. I still try to live up to this advice over 20 years later.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
When two companies merge into one. I have experienced this with three different companies. Finding your way through different processes, systems and cultures is always a challenge, but I’ve found that once the initial integration occurs, the company that emerges is stronger after learning best practices from each other. On a personal level, I made a move to Calgary from Toronto for work, which was a difficult decision. It was just as tough a few years later when I made the choice to leave that company to stay in Calgary long term.
What do you like most about your job?
I love leading and inspiring people. It’s so fun working with my team to execute plans from the account level as well as the retail level. Bouncing around ideas and helping with issues drives me and my team to constantly strive to achieve our goals.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I wanted to give thanks to Lassonde and all of the people here who have helped me to develop even further in my career. Our leadership team is industry leading, and ensures everyone lives up to their potential through constant training, coaching and encouragement of personal development.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.