Customer VP, Sobeys
Kraft Heinz Canada
How did you get into the CPG business?
I started my career working at a local independent grocery store as a cashier in high school. I believe a solid understanding of store-level operations is key to working in the CPG business; it gave me a solid foundation in building my career. From there, I was recruited to be a sales representative, for (at the time) Kraft Foods, covering a large rural territory in Western Manitoba.
What are some of your career highlights?
Since starting in CPG 20 years ago, I have had 17 different career experiences, from sales rep and account management all the way up to VP of sales and country lead. You name the role, I have done it! But to choose a recent highlight, in my current role, I partner with shopper marketing and retail teams to develop integrated programs that deliver win-win results. Our Olympics Partners Program is a key example of this collaboration and one that led to great results for both Kraft Heinz Canada and Sobeys.
What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
Being in a situation where I did not feel valued. I think it is safe to say we have all been there at some point in our lives either personally or professionally. It can be incredibly hard to stand up for yourself when you are in that situation, but it can also be the most rewarding thing you will ever do for yourself… Trust me you are worth it! If you are not happy, only you can fix it.
What is your leadership style?
As a leader, I used to spend a lot of my time micromanaging. As I moved on to more senior roles, I have learned to step back—not only because I simply could not be everywhere at once but because I was also crushing my team. Empowering colleagues to run their business and allowing them to make mistakes while also having their backs is one of the most important things a leader can do to develop their people.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I have two small children who keep me very busy. We have a family cottage on the south shore of Nova Scotia, which is where you will find us in the summer entertaining family and friends.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I’ll share some advice as I am quite often asked about work-life balance. Committing to being present in the moment and creating space for both work and personal has never been more important than it is now. You need to be honest with yourself and communicate your boundaries. The boundary I set for myself is being present for my young family between 5 and 7pm, only taking meetings when critical during that time. Make sure you let your manager and your colleagues know what your boundaries are, otherwise, you will constantly be trying to juggle priorities.
Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.