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2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Marie-Pier Davis (Q&A)

Rising Star
Marie-Pier Davis
Marie-Pier Davis

Marie-Pier Davis

Operations Manager, Canada Operations
McCormick Canada

How did you end up in the business with a STEM focus?

I was fascinated with how things were made and I enjoyed solving problems, which led me to an undergrad in engineering. The University of Waterloo has a fantastic co-op program that allowed me to try various industries, from automotive to mining, and it was a work term with P&G that introduced me to manufacturing. I loved learning about the different equipment used to create consumer goods, and I really enjoyed the team-based factory environment. As I was nearing graduation, PepsiCo’s operations designate program caught my interest as a great way to kickstart a career in leadership. This is where my passion for food manufacturing started.

What is your biggest achievement?

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a whole new set of concerns and considerations, and although these were challenging times, I believe I emerged a stronger leader. The pandemic can be likened to a high-intensity interval-training workout in principle-based decision-making, and I am a more empathetic leader now as a result. 

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?  

I am the proud mom of two amazing girls, Chloe and Olivia. They are now 11 and 12, but in the early years, it was challenging to find the right work-life balance. I remember prying their little fingers from my jacket at daycare drop-off and feeling guilty about leaving them for the entire day. I am so appreciative that I had support systems and flexibility while working at PepsiCo and later McCormick to help make it all work. And I am grateful that I pushed through the difficult times and hope to be a role model for my daughters as a working mom in a male-dominated field. 

What qualities do you look for in talent?

McCormick’s shared values, which include teamwork, concern for one another and high performance, act as a guide for hiring managers when recruiting externally. Technical ability is important as well but, in my experience, a misalignment with shared values is more challenging to correct.

How can barriers be broken for women in STEM?

Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to coding until my first year of university, but my daughters started learning basic coding principles in elementary school. Providing opportunities for girls to get involved in STEM at an early age can create a spark of interest that can grow into a passion and later a career. I also strongly believe in mentorship. I have had the privilege of having fantastic women mentor me and, as a woman in a senior role, I want to share my experiences and help coach the next generation. 

What’s a fun fact about you?

I was born in Gagnon, Que., shortly before it became a ghost town. Gagnon was a mining town in north-eastern Quebec, and once the mine closed the town was returned to its natural state. I have driven through the site a few times and it is quite strange to think that a whole town existed there, several decades later nature has taken over.   

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

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