2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Robyn Ptak (Q&A)

Senior-Level Star
Shellee Fitzgerald
Editor-in-Chief
Shellee Fitzgerald
Robyn Ptak
Robyn Ptak

Robyn Ptak

VP, Sales
P&G Canada

How did you get your start in the grocery business?

I was studying business in university and was looking for summer work experience in sales and marketing. I first joined P&G as an intern in a sales market strategy role and I was hooked!  I accepted a full-time job and my first role with P&G was working on our Loblaws business across the Ontario banners. My portfolio included brands across multiple departments (foods, beverages, pet), which meant I had 16 customer partners across the banners—it was an intensive peek into the diverse world of grocery retail. Twenty-three years later, I am still at it.

What is the best part of your job?

Hands down the best part of my job is the work I do helping to build the P&G organization—helping others to achieve the career of their dreams. I have a competitive spirit and delivering business results is fulfilling and critically important; however, being able to leverage my experiences, perspective and approach to help the teams I work on and the broader organization grow is most meaningful to me.  In 2017 I was lucky enough to take over the role of Executive Sponsor of P&G Canada’s Women’s Network. I get to work with an incredibly passionate and talented Women’s Network lead team to celebrate, connect and support the women of P&G.

Biggest career highlight, so far?

I am the proud mom of three incredible girls—Abby, Hannah and Rachel. After my twins were born, I realized that while I wanted to learn, grow and continue to develop in my career, I also wanted more time to spend with my children as they grew up. As I liked to say, ‘I didn’t want much, I just wanted it all!’ I approached P&G for flexibility to work on reduced work week, which they very openly accommodated. Through the next seven years and three work assignments, I was fully supported to work reduced hours but in challenging and meaningful roles. It was a career highlight for me when I was promoted to VP without having to compromise on invaluable time with my growing family.

Best advice you've received in your career?

The best career advice I’ve received is to “be authentically you” every day at work. There have been times when I have seen how my predecessors, my managers or others I highly respect, might have tackled a challenge or issue and been tempted to replicate their approach as the standard. The reality is that we are often selected for a role specifically for our unique perspectives and approach, and we can add tremendous value in a way that is true to oneself. I see every day the power of bringing our authentic self to work—we build trust, we are more productive and, ultimately, are happier and more fulfilled. 

How would you describe your leadership style?

“We are all in this together.” Those who work with me know that they can count on me to set a high bar and vision but I hold myself accountable to set up my teams for success. As a leader that includes supporting a culture of teamwork and trust.   

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

Outside of work I have two lives—a winter and a summer life. In the winter you will find me shuttling my girls to hockey practices and games (I suppose ‘Hockey Mom’ is now an appropriate title) or off skiing with the family. In the warmer months it is all about the cottage—quality time with the phones away, joined by family and friends, on the dock enjoying being outside and untethered! 

What is a fun fact about you?

I absolutely love to travel—a favourite destination was safari at Little Makalolo Camp in Zimbabwe on my three-month honeymoon!

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

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