2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Lindsey Williams (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Senior director, Human Resources, International and U.S. Food Service
Conagra Brands Inc.
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I began my career in human resources at Cargill, and from there held roles with increasing responsibility within the supply chain human resources team. After Cargill I joined Conagra Brands as an HR manager for the Customer Leadership organization in the U.S. After a few years in this role I had the chance to move to Canada for an opportunity that was supposed to be a short-term expatriate assignment. I fell in love with our international business and the Greater Toronto Area, so with the support of Conagra I was able to make a permanent move and continue to expand my career here in Canada.
What are you proudest about in terms of your work?
I’m proud of how our leadership team and entire organization pulled together and managed through all the unexpected challenges brought on by the pandemic. By focusing on our people first, we were able to achieve our goals. Both individually and collectively, we demonstrated agility and were able to pivot our focus as required to continue servicing our customers’ needs, all while keeping our people safe and healthy.
What do you think is your best quality?
I strive to lead with empathy. I believe every team member brings strong ideas and perspective, however it’s the role of a leader to ensure that all employees feel heard, valued and appreciated.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I have been blessed with great mentors who have shaped who I am as a leader. One key mentor pushed me to always be my authentic self, and to leverage my strengths. She told me that “opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” I have tried to live by this advice by continually looking for ways to make an impact on others.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
There have been many challenges in my career, from moving to a new country, to leading the organization through significant organizational change, to successfully navigating a team through the pandemic, all while keeping our folks safe, engaged and connected. I think one of my biggest strengths is the ability to apply a growth mindset and focus on turning challenges into opportunities. I have learned from each and every “challenge” that has come my way and remain focused on applying these learnings for the future.
What do you like most about your job?
I’m passionate about leading change by building capacity through people. I’m the most energized when I can provide challenging assignments to grow and empower our team. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing a team member grow their skills and thrive.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I am honoured and humbled to achieve this award, and hope my experience can somehow inspire anyone looking for a career in CPG or HR.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.