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2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Susan Folk (Q&A)

Rising Star
susan folk
Susan Folk

Susan Folk

Corporate Director, Category Sales Planning
Kruger Products

How have you approached your career path?

Early on, I had an amazing mentor who showed me that career progression is like going to university where a strong foundation of learning and collaboration is enriched by a variety of experiences and a sense of belonging. Also, my family is deeply rooted in sports, which taught me early on the importance of team, winning together and valuing the greatness that can be achieved through diverse talent and perspectives. 

What has been your biggest career highlight?

When reflecting on my journey, what immediately stood out was how grateful I was for being able to contribute during an extraordinary and very volatile time. In 2020, our lives changed when COVID-19 emerged as a global health emergency, and I was asked to be one of the project leaders and facilitators of the Kruger Products Strategic Covid Recovery Plan. We came together to develop cross-functional strategic scenarios supporting our customer partners, our valued consumers and our Kruger Products team. 

What keeps you motivated in your work? 

Having the opportunity to work across multiple teams is so energizing. I am constantly learning in my role as I lead my amazing team to deliver data-driven insights. With all the enhancements in AI, it’s an exciting time in the grocery industry. I’m energized to help innovate in an ever-evolving business landscape.

What has been the biggest challenge? 

Always the optimist, I’ve taken a learning view of challenges by seeing them as stepping-stones towards growth and strategic innovation. Having experienced a major restructuring of an organization, I found myself outside of my comfort zone as I witnessed changes that were not aligned with my values. I had to make a hard decision to leave a situation, which meant losing many work friends so that I could find a company whose culture put their people first.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with family and friends, travelling and going on hikes with our puppy. I’m so grateful for my husband of 27 years (a terrific dad, an elementary school teacher and a professional athlete!), and my amazing kids Nathan and Julia. My family and I are passionate about paying it forward and giving back to the community via volunteering and by supporting local causes. I’m so proud of my family in everything they have accomplished and for the wonderful people they are.  

Anything else you’d like to share?

The advice I offer to those early in their career, as well as those in leadership positions, is to seek out mentorship opportunities and coaches, nurture your network and be open to feedback. It’s so rewarding to share with and learn from each other and to witness the growth and development of our colleagues as industry leaders. 

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

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