2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Dominique Mathieu (Q&A)

Rising Star
Dominique Mathieu
Dominique Mathieu

Dominique Mathieu

Plant Manager
The J.M. Smucker Co. Canada

How did you get your start in the CPG business?

I completed my studies in nutrition in 1999. At the beginning of my career, I inspected restaurants to ensure they respected hygiene and food safety regulations. I then worked in quality control in meat processing plants and food packaging plants where I was often tasked with implementing food standards, obtaining certifications, and managing audit processes. 

I was hired by Smucker in 2010 as a supervisor in the process and quality control departments, a position I held for two years. I was then offered a role as manager of the quality department where my main responsibility was to obtain SQF Level 3 accreditation for the plant. In 2014, I became the plant manager of the dairy processing factory in Sherbrooke, Que., a position I’ve now held for nine years, in addition to sitting as a director on the executive committee of the Conseil des Industriels Laitiers du Québec (Quebec Dairy Council).

I am very grateful to have been able to grow and become an accomplished leader at Smucker and for the confidence that they have given me to manage the factory over the years. I am proud to work for a company where people are at the heart of its core values. Every employee does make a difference!

What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?

My answer is not very original, but it was the challenges associated with supply chain breakdowns during the pandemic. It was reflected in all aspects of my work in a production environment... exploding prices, difficulty in obtaining materials, raw materials out of stock, delays in receiving parts and equipment for preventive maintenance or repairs, labour shortages due to confinement, etc. Every day brought a new challenge and we had to reinvent ourselves and remain flexible and creative to adapt our operations while staying on course.

What is your best quality?

Creativity... thinking out of the box! I believe there’s always a better way of developing—a new way of doing things. The status quo is not an option. If you do the same thing day after day in the hope that things will get better, you quickly get overtaken and regress.

What keeps you motivated at work? 

Working on a team towards a common goal and obtaining the desired results is a great source of motivation for me! I also love getting involved in continued improvement projects and in the development of new products. In addition, serving as an administrator of the Conseil des Industriels Laitiers du Québec allows me to better understand the issues and challenges of other members and to take part in decisions related to the dairy industry in the best interest of all.

What's the best advice you've received? 

I’ve been told that you won’t show off your skills at work when everything is going well and you’re surfing on a wave. Rather, our strengths and skills are recognized when we face adversity, when we’re going through a crisis and must turn the ship around or take action to solve a problem... This advice has helped me see challenges as opportunities to put my skills, learnings, and leadership to good use.

What do you like most about your job? 

Unpredictability. Every day is different and since I am not a person who appreciates routine work, I’m well served in my current role. Working in operations requires lots of flexibility, quick decision-making and the need to embrace change and adapt.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

My three children and husband are everything to me! They teach me to be a better version of myself day after day. My best moments outside of work is being with my family in our waterfront cottage. I also really like to follow and encourage my children in their sports and other projects. In the last few years, I’ve developed a passion for real estate. I like learning about the market and having renovation-transformation projects, rental properties, etc. My husband shares this passion and we’re planning a full array of projects during our senior years!


Click here for the full list of 2023 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds