Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next awards debuted in 2011 to honour the grocery industry’s rising stars (under age 40). We recently caught up with a few past winners (check out our August issue for more!) to find out how their careers have been shaping up—including Teresa Blakney, who won the award in 2018. Here’s what she had to say:
Job then: Brand manager, brand development at Conagra Brands
Job now: Director of marketing, snacks & sweet treats, Conagra Brands
What do you like best about your current role?
Everything! If I have to pick just one, I’d say the ability to impact consumer behaviour and their food journey. My role enables me to set the strategic vision to grow the business and, at the same time, do the right thing for consumers.
Can you share a tough career lesson you’ve learned?
Learning how and when to say no. I’m a people pleaser but over the years, as I’ve gained more experience and [have been] surrounded by strong women mentors, I’ve learned how to evaluate those decisions. Gone are the days when I had to deprioritize my other projects and put in a lot of extra hours just to please others. I’ve learned that saying no, especially to more senior co-workers, doesn’t make you weak. In fact, you earn their respect. ‘No’ doesn’t mean never, it’s just not now.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Stay authentic, and it’s okay to be vulnerable. Everyone is unique and has something to bring to the table. Even though I’m not in a global market role, do not underestimate my past work experiences in Malaysia and China because it leads to different perspectives. And that’s what I like about the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that are gaining more awareness and traction nowadays.
Do you know a rising star in the grocery industry? Nominate them now for this year’s Generation Next Awards. It’s quick and easy, but don’t delay! The deadline to enter/nominate is September 16.