2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Julie Fluelling (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
North American customer service manager
McCormick & Company
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I started in the grocery/CPG business two years ago by chance. My supply chain background is varied, and I’ve worked at a lot of great companies, including 3M, HP, HPE and American Eagle Outfitters. I saw a role at McCormick that seemed like a great fit for my background and was successful in getting the job. Since then I have actively looked for ways to build a network in the grocery industry by attending events by the Network of Executive Women and by Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada.
What are you proudest about in terms of your work?
The work I do to increase awareness and employee engagement with diversity and inclusion. I have the privilege of being the co-chair of our Canadian Diversity and Inclusion Committee (CanDi), that has created many initiatives to support movements such as Black Lives Matter, and the emphasis on women in leadership roles. Our vision is to enrich the lives of McCormick employees at home and at work through awareness and engagement initiatives that celebrate all ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.
What do you think is your best quality?
My best quality is probably problem solving. I enjoy figuring out why issues are happening, identifying root causes and streamlining processes. I think that’s why I’ve found success in supply chain and project management roles—I have a continuous improvement mindset, and problem-solving feeds right into that.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Surround yourself with nutritious people, meaning people who feed into positivity. If you surround yourself with people who complain about everything, you will start to do the same. I make a conscious effort to spend time with people who make me feel good, both professionally and personally. I think it’s important to make every interaction count and stay optimistic.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
It was at a former company. A division I was working in was being restructured and team members were being let go on a bi-weekly basis. Company culture was non-existent, and everyone was just waiting for their phone call. It was a time when I really struggled—I felt completely underutilized and unmotivated. That experience made me appreciate the inclusive culture at McCormick—people truly care about you as a colleague and as a person.
What do you like most about your job?
The people that I work with. McCormick has such an inclusive culture and even though my background was not in CPG, I felt so welcome right from the beginning. In my current role as North American customer service manager, every day is different, which I really enjoy. Especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic, nothing is predictable so there is opportunity to learn and improve each and every day.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.