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2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Eileen Mac Donald (Q&A)

Senior Level Star
Eileen MacDonald

Eileen Mac Donald

CEO & President
GS1 Canada


What would you say is a career highlight?

I believe there has been no bigger test of leadership than through this global pandemic. Leading the GS1 Canada team and supporting real-time pivoting required of all levels in support of our board of governors and industry partners was both a leadership challenge and honour. GS1 Canada was identified as essential to our constituent’s supply chain during the pandemic, which challenged us all both professionally and personally. It has been a real test of resilience and I am proud of the team for persevering during this time.

In the spring of 2020, I was appointed as incoming CEO for GS1 Canada. Embarking on a CEO transition was not only the biggest challenge (while managing through COVID) of my career but truly a tremendous achievement. The need for trusted collaboration was at its height and I am humble to say, in my experience, I witnessed leaders in our industry at their best.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I am a people first leader and I learned that the most important asset to any business is the team. It doesn't matter what your strategy is, what your budget is, who's on your board, etc. You are not a leader if you don't have fellowship. To be privileged to work with incredibly bright, committed, focused and aligned team members is the best part of my job. My focus on people is reflected in the core of who I am as a person. GS1 Canada is a not-for-profit association; everything we achieve/deliver is based on our ability to garner trust. The speed of trust starts with the team.

How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

I'm very fortunate I come from a family of seven girls and my sisters are my closest friends. I also enjoy spending time with long-term friends, my children and grandchildren but most of all I enjoy the time I spend with my husband. I love to spend time with the people that I love and who love me unconditionally to laugh sometimes cry dream, play, travel, dance sing and eat way too much.

Anything you'd like to say?

I admire what you're doing to acknowledge women. When I first joined the industry and attended events, I could count on one hand the participants who were women. It is thrilling to see how far we've come and yet I know we still have a way to go. I'd like to thank you for this privilege and encourage all women to know their power and own it. The world needs us!

Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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