2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Anna Miarczynski-McDonald (Q&A)
Director, Category Sales Development
Maple Leaf Foods
How did you get into the CPG business?
I have an undergraduate degree in English literature, but business always intrigued me. In my last year of undergrad, I read an article on the competitive advantages of business leaders—one of which was coupling an English literature degree with an MBA. That insight struck a chord with me and shortly thereafter I enrolled in an international marketing MBA program in Spain. After graduating, I was offered an opportunity at Danone, and my passion for the CPG industry grew quickly from there.
What are some of your greatest career achievements?
I’m a very goal-oriented person and as a result my highlights are usually tied to achieving goals. Growing up in this industry, it would not be uncommon for me to find myself as the only female “in the room.” Early in my career, I decided I needed to change that, and I set the goal of becoming a director within 10 years so I could be a role model for other women. As I matured through those 10 years, however, I realized I didn’t want to be a role model just for women, I wanted to support anyone who demonstrated passion, honesty and a willingness to learn. Now, I see those individuals having success in their careers and that makes me so proud, more than any one achievement I could have for myself.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Anyone who has worked with me will laugh, but the best advice I received was “baby don’t cry, baby don’t get milk.” For me this represents advocating for what you want and not giving up, whether it’s a great category pitch or a professional ambition. Regardless of the situation, you need to find a way to be heard and be agile enough to change the tone of your “cry” depending on what the situation requires.
What is your best quality?
I believe my best quality is my collaborative approach to business, which also happens to be fuelled by a desire to succeed. The reality is that no one can win alone and, quite frankly, it feels better to win as a team and to bring others with you on that journey.
What do you like to do outside of work?
My primary focus outside of work is my family. I have two young daughters who keep life very interesting for my husband and I. It is also very important for me to carve out space for myself daily, whether it is to read a book, go for a run, or do a hot yoga class. Physical activity helps me burn off excess energy, clears my mind and allows the creativity to flow.
Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.