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2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Leslie Nicholson (Q&A)

Senior Level Star
Leslie Nicholson

Leslie Nicholson

SVP, Supply Chain Operations & Digital Business Transformation
Nestlé Canada


How did you get into the grocery/CPG industry?

It was a natural progression out of university, where I studied commerce. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work for some incredible organizations like Nestlé, Cargill, L’Oréal and CP Rail, and have always enjoyed the consumer packaged goods industry across both commercial and operational roles. I find it to be a fast-paced industry with strong connectivity across the value chain—starting and ending with the consumer.

What are your greatest achievements?

I've had a lot of personal and team accomplishments that I am proud of. I hope the greatest achievement will be that I’ve been a positive role model for my two teenage children about career choices, loving what you do, and believing you and your team(s) are capable of anything.

What do you like most about your job?

I have described this role as the best playground I have ever played in and I do view it that way. I find it fascinating to navigate the ongoing twists and turns across the value chain, especially over the last few years. What do I love the most is the “team sport” element—internally and externally. I learn from incredibly talented colleagues, industry partners and peers every day.

What is your leadership style?

I strive to be inclusive, accessible and engaging. I value diversity in thought, experiences and approach. Authenticity and transparency are very important to me. I try to give people freedom with accountability—giving them room to lead—and then I step back and watch magic happen. Nothing makes me prouder than watching individuals or teams develop and perform well. I revel in people’s growth and successes. Lastly, I believe I bring laughter to my interactions and leadership—otherwise I wouldn’t authentically be me. Life is too short to not bring a sense of humour to the table.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

I have received so much great advice over the years. A few that have resonated a lot with me are: As a leader you don't need to have all the answers, but rather some really good questions. Be authentic, be you. Don’t be too focused on the illusive aspiration of “balance.” It is a dynamic thing. Just stay tuned in to yourself to know where you are on the scale versus where you feel you should be for the moment.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would encourage people to take chances professionally. Invest the time to listen, to better understand people and experience the joy of helping unlock capabilities of individuals and teams.

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

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