2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Muriel Raguenaud (Q&A)

Rising Star
Muriel Raguenaud
Muriel Raguenaud

Muriel Raguenaud

Marketing Director, Innovation (Yogourt & Cultured Division)
Lactalis Canada

How did you get your start in the CPG business?

As I was about to graduate, I managed to get an internship in the Evian global marketing team at Danone. It confirmed CPG was my calling. I started my career at L’Oréal in France, working on hairstyling products. One of the first products I launched was a Studio Line styling product called ‘Out of Bed.’

What is your best quality?

I am a ‘big picture’ person: I can tackle problems from various angles, and I bring together ideas to create opportunities. As a food science engineer turned marketer, I fully appreciate what each function is bringing to the table; I love working with R&D and operations. I have learned from all the categories I was lucky to work on—from cosmetics, to drinks, to fashion to yogourt. Combined with my natural curiosity, it helps me draw parallels and build bridges.  

What is the biggest career challenge you've faced?

When I became global marketing director for Loch Lomond Group in 2016, we had a major challenge: the company had recently been bought by a private equity fund and the plan was to transform it from a bulk whisky producer into an international branded business. We were starting from scratch and needed a fast turnaround as the goal of the fund was to resell the company quickly. It is amazing what you can achieve with a lean, experienced, driven team!

What are some of your career highlights?

It is difficult to choose highlights over 20-plus years. I am very proud to have shaped the strategy and execution for the global expansion of Grey Goose vodka post its acquisition by Bacardi. It included some ‘pinch me’ moments such as collaborating with chef Alain Ducasse and co-ordinating pre-Oscar parties in Hollywood. It was also exciting to work on reshaping the Lactalis Canada yogourt portfolio and its innovation pipeline after the Ultima Foods acquisition. iÖGO and Olympic are inspiring brands.

What do you like most about your job? 

I love the variety in the role of innovation marketing director. I am a sort of conductor trying to get all functions playing harmoniously. Due to the supply management system in the dairy industry, we have full control of the marketing mix with many Canadian brands. Promoting healthy and relatively unprocessed food is also very important to me. I am a keen member of our Nutrition & Ingredients Committee.

What is the best advice you've received?

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." Apparently, this quote is wrongly attributed to Oscar Wilde but that’s exactly what I took away from a leadership training [session] I attended where VPs/ CEOs from various businesses came to share their leadership journey. It was striking to see how different they were from each other and still all very successful. Build on your strengths rather than try to fix your weaknesses is the way forward. Find the business that aligns with your values and where you can be yourself.

What do you like to do when you're not working?

I like hiking and travelling to faraway countries, especially if they have beautiful scenery or wonderful fauna. I do a bit more than travel actually: I have worked in four countries so far—France, United Kingdom, Italy and Canada—and I hold three passports. I am a citizen of the world!

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

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