2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Suzy Maharaj (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Sr. Finance Manager, Forecasting & Business Analysis – Specialty/NPC/VMS
The Clorox Company of Canada, Ltd.
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
My first foray into the grocery business was as a teenager helping at my parents’ community grocery store, from ordering inventory to cashier on demand. I loved interacting with customers and vendors as well as sampling new products. Being at Clorox Canada many years later, after having worked in audit, financial services, and energy and mining, literally felt like coming home. It has taken that experience to a whole new level, with amazing people, culture and household brands that I grew up with.
What are your career highlights/greatest achievements so far?
Over the course of my eleven years at Clorox, I have now worked on every brand and segment in our extensive portfolio. Being able to successfully transition from several financial roles, from consolidation to reporting; working with the various business teams on different product categories and brands; and working with so many great leaders and team members has been very rewarding. I love a challenge and I’m very passionate about what I do, whether it is a small initiative or a major groundbreaking project.
What is your proudest moment?
In the past, I was able to lecture part time, and even though I can’t seem to find the time to do this anymore, I love training, coaching and mentoring new team members. I always focus on my team, providing regular feedback and setting clear expectations to allow them to continue to improve. My proudest moments are when I see them developing and excelling, being promoted or acing a big presentation.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
A few years ago, I left a very senior lucrative job to start my own financial consulting business, so that I could have better work/life balance with a young family. Establishing my business was challenging, but gave me a great sense of achievement and the flexibility I needed at that time. I always view challenges as opportunities, seeking first to listen and understand, gather all the facts, analyze and then recommend solutions—whether it was in my consulting business, working with a mergers and acquisitions team, integrating a new business into Clorox Canada, or working on an e-commerce project with our international team. I’m always looking ahead for the next big challenge and don’t like being bored.
What do you like most about your job?
The opportunity to have a voice and influence decision-making, whether it’s advising on strategy, new product launches to meet the needs of the Canadian consumer or leading a capital expansion project to expand capacity at our local Glad plant in Orangeville, Ont. My role allows me to think strategically, looking at internal customers as well as the external end-consumer. I thoroughly enjoy working with cross-functional teams and my global colleagues.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
“The mature mind does not rail at the inevitable, it merely adjusts itself.” Change is inevitable, and we can embrace the change and adapt. This has served me well and I constantly challenge the status quo, looking for improvements, cost savings and reimagining new ways of working.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Clorox’s purpose is: “We champion people to be well & thrive every single day.” The pandemic has highlighted how we turn our words to action with such trusted brands that impact our daily lives and help us thrive, from Clorox disinfecting wipes and bleach to Glad waste bags. Our Clorox’s Charity Committee and HSE Committee also actively support our community and employees. It’s an honour to be a part of such an organization.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.