2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Katelin Mailer (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Vice-president, Human Resources
Lactalis Canada Inc.
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I worked as a receptionist at a hair salon in university and had built a great relationship with one of my clients, who was a recruiter for Pepsi-QTG. I was extremely fortunate that upon graduation she gave me the opportunity to work as an HR intern with them. It shows that the world is a small place and all connections are valuable as you never know where they will lead.
What are you proudest about in terms of your work?
Development of my team. Seeing my team members develop, grow, thrive and shine makes me extremely proud. If I end up working for someone that grew through my leadership one day, what a gift that would be.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Facing a global pandemic after six months of being promoted to lead the HR team is no doubt the biggest challenge I have faced in my career. While it has been challenging, it has been extremely fulfilling and rewarding and I have grown tremendously as a leader. What is now interesting is what we will take forward following this period of unprecedented adaptation.
What has been a career highlight or one of your greatest achievements?
Being entrusted with the opportunity to lead and drive the HR strategy for Lactalis Canada after growing my career with the organization for 10 years is absolutely my greatest achievement. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this role during the company’s period of growth and transformation.
What is your leadership style/philosophy?
Simply put, I would say my philosophy is servant leadership. One of my favourite sayings to my team is “help me, help you.” Bringing out the strengths of the great talent we have within the organization, empowering them to make decisions, opening pathways to bring out their potential, and paving the way for career growth, is what I live for!
What do you like most about your job?
I love the ability to build and shape the culture of our organization. I strive to create an environment where our employees feel a true and strong sense of belonging, and can bring their whole authentic selves to work each and every day. Envisioning the future we are building together is a beautiful thing. When we have a lineup a million miles long of talent wanting to join us, I will know we are doing something right.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to say a special thanks to Mark Taylor, president and CEO for Lactalis Canada, my leader and mentor who nominated me for this award. I am extremely honoured and grateful and would not be here without his amazing leadership. Thank you to my fantastic team of HR professionals who make my job easy. We are building amazing things together and I can’t wait to continue our journey to become an employer of choice.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.