2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Adrienne Pagot-Gerault (Q&A)
Senior Level Star
GM, Yogurt and Cultured Division
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I’m curious by nature and driven by a need to really understand how things work, and it is this curiosity that inevitably led me to pursue science, specifically food science as a career. My journey to the grocery and CPG industry started with my passion for food and supporting nutrition with quality products that also taste good. I started out with a focus on infant and children’s nutrition, which naturally led me to dairy given its key dietary role and nutritional benefits. With this background, moving to yogurt and cultured was a natural fit for me.
What are some of your career highlights?
I love a challenge and equally so, finding solutions. Together with my team, we have increased the yogurt and cultured business’ profitability by 200% and strengthened its portfolio with the launch of strong brands. Given the large industrial and supply chain footprint of Lactalis Canada’s yogurt and cultured operations across the country, we have contributed to maintaining consumer access to nutritious dairy products as well as ensuring employment in the regions and communities where we operate.
What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
It’s so hard to pinpoint just one but I will speak to the integration of Ultima Foods in 2021. Acquisitions are always challenging, but throw in the complexities of a global pandemic and of course, the challenges increase tenfold. As part of the integration, it was incredibly important for our 450 new team members to feel part of the Lactalis Canada family and that is much more difficult to do when people are working remotely. That said, I am so proud of the work of our entire team to really connect us together and ensure that not only was the transition seamless but that our new team members feel very much a part of our company.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Surround yourself with people who both support and challenge you and cut out the noise.
How do you guide future leaders in your organization?
I love coaching and over the years I have learned that by giving your team autonomy and empowering them to learn by experience only strengthens team collaboration and leads to successes and wins. Certainly, as someone with a science background, I know that you learn a lot “by the books” but I am a firm believer that the best career development is gained through both professional and personal experience.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Admittedly, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and I love race cars! I’m also a “horse whisperer” so to speak. I am passionate about horses and have not only raced them my entire life but have taken courses in learning about their behaviour as well as their relationship with humans. They are fascinating animals and have taught me so much.
Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.