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2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Tracey Cooke (Q&A)

Senior-Level Star
Tracey Cooke
Tracey Cooke

Tracey Cooke

SVP, Chief Marketing Officer
Nestlé Canada

What are some of your career highlights? 

I have had an unconventional career trajectory and that has been quite a feat in and of itself, moving from science to the ad business to my own business, to marketing at a world-renowned CPG company. At Nestlé, my career highlights are developing and launching many firsts (across platforms, brands, teams and capabilities like e-commerce and consumer experience), while building what I believe to be the best Centre of Marketing Excellence in the Nestlé network. Our First Fridays for all of marketing is the meeting to attend, where we inspire our incredible marketers every month to be extraordinary. It’s unique in the industry and something our team works hard to continuously improve.

What are you most proud of?

I have so many personal and team achievements that fill me with pride. Being a bit of a trailblazer in advertising as a young female creative director (and mom) when they were scarce at best makes me stand tall. I’m so proud of my son who is in law school at Queen’s University after doing his Bachelor of Commerce at Dalhousie. He is a remarkable young man who reminds me every day about the importance of resiliency and belief in yourself. And I’m very proud to be an advocate for, and mentor of, emerging talent. It is such a privilege to see people grow, excel and own their superpowers. 

What advice would you give to emerging talent in this industry?

Be a perpetual learner. From technology to art to languages to whatever, be curious. In a fast-changing world this is so essential. Go to the edge of what you think you can do and just do it. Mining courage on the regular is key to growth. Remember to lean into your talents and strengths. We all have gifts, but harnessing those talents into strengths is where the real magic happens (versus working to “improve your weaknesses”). And lastly, move forward. We humans are built for the future. Never let what is behind you hold you back. And never wait. Balance getting it right with getting on with it. The future isn’t a far-off place. It arrives daily, so we each have an opportunity to own it.

How would you describe your leadership style? 

Vulnerable, inclusive, authentic, inspiring and empowering. It is critically important to me for people to feel safe and a sense of belonging, so they can bring their whole self to work. That’s truly when an individual can be their most powerful and push the boundaries of possibility. 

What is your best quality?  

Lots of people say my superpowers are empathy, compassion and inspiration. Known as the coach and couch of marketing (I take that very seriously!) and the oxygen (deep breath), I believe I help people see what’s possible and then find the courage to make it happen.

How do you spend your time outside of work?  

I love nature, travelling, art and design, technology, music, and vibrant spaces and neighbourhoods. We just got back from some amazing hiking on Vancouver Island as a family. And we have travel booked to undiscovered territories in France and Italy this summer. 

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

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