2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Nicole Fischer (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Head of Sustainability
Kraft Heinz Canada
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
My first experience in consumer-packaged goods was an internship I did at Unilever Canada when I was at Queen’s University. I was always fascinated by consumer behaviour, understanding what motivated people, how they made decisions, what they wanted, what their pain points were and then designing products to meet their needs and make their days a little bit happier, easier and more delicious!
What are your career highlights/greatest achievements?
I have enjoyed a diverse career working across a variety of functions, categories and geographies. My career highlights were always when I was part of high-performing teams who worked collaboratively together to achieve a common goal (and had fun along the way), whether that was growing the Unilever Canada foods business with Walmart in Canada, launching the number-one performing hair care innovation in the U.S., building the TRESemme global brand purpose, turning around the Unilever Canada spreads business, or developing the Kraft Heinz Canada sustainability strategy.
What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moments have always been seeing the work I do come to life in market and the impact it has. In my current role, I am particularly proud of Kraft Heinz Canada’s decision to join the recently launched Canada Plastics Pact as a founding signatory to help eliminate plastic pollution and drive a circular economy in Canada. Working across the plastics value chain, we have the unique opportunity to keep plastic waste in the economy and out of the environment and I am very proud to be a part of this important movement.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that I am working on building a more sustainable Canada that I can feel good about leaving to my children. As a large food company making even small changes to our packaging, resource use, transportation and products can have a big impact, so it makes everything I work on impactful and meaningful. I am inspired every day by our employees’ passion for sustainability, our consumers who are demanding sustainable options, and the collaboration taking place across the industry to drive sustainability in Canada.
What is your leadership style/philosophy?
I follow a servant leadership philosophy where I put the needs of my team and people first with a focus on helping them develop and reach their full potential. This means understanding the way each person works best and adapting my leadership style to meet their unique needs, ensuring I am setting them up for success. The foundation of this approach is creating a supportive environment built on trust, mutual respect and transparency.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice I received was to own my own development both personally and professionally. This means taking a proactive role in identifying the projects, opportunities, experiences and jobs that you want to build your toolkit and going after them. As one manager once told me “No one else is going to do it for you!” It often requires you to step out of your comfort zone, put your hand up, and stretch yourself beyond what you might have thought was possible but the growth you will experience will be worth it.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.