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Meet Sumita: End-to-End Planning Lead for US Oreo
"10 years in the ERG to retain, develop and inspire women in Mondelēz Supply Chain"
Wednesday, January 04, 2023
You have been in Supply Chain for over 20 years. Can you tell us about your career journey?
I started with Kraft Canada in Calgary, Alberta as a Customer Service Rep after I graduated from the University of Calgary. At the time, I was a contractor and luckily was converted full-time 6 months later. I remember feeling so proud to work at a large CPG company and being able to work with directly with customers & Sales Reps. I did a few roles in Calgary and then got an offer to transition to a managerial position in Toronto.
The decision was hard as I would be leaving my family and closest friends, but I felt if I didn’t make the move, I’d never discover what I was capable of outside my comfort zone. I moved to Toronto and after working through various CS&L roles, I got the opportunity to work on implementing SAP. This was one of the best growth experiences I have had and I stayed on to integrate Cadbury.
Kraft split into two different companies, and I went with the Mondelēz Canada. This was an exciting journey as it was a new organization and I moved into an area of supply chain I did not have experience in, Supply Planning. I learned a lot in this position but not just in Planning, but also in Manufacturing and Marketing. In 2016 an opportunity came up in New Jersey in Business Development. Although my husband had to quit his career to make the move, we looked at it as an adventure to try something new. I have now lived in the US for over 7 years, have done several roles in Business Development & Commercialization and now am the End-to-End Planning Lead for US Oreo.
For others looking to move, what advice would you give them?
When I moved, I was pregnant, in a new job and new country. Don’t do that! I would highly recommend doing 1-2 out of the 3 life changing events to help make the transition smoother. My other piece of advice is that if you are moving with a partner &/or children, make sure where you choose to live, will make them happy. The transition is tougher for them as if you are moving with your company, your change is not as significant as you are still in a familiar work environment.
Any advice on how to network in a new environment?
I would strongly recommend getting involved in an Employee Resource Group or some type of club. I have been involved Mondelēz’s Supply Chain Women (SCW) Employee Resource Group for over 10 years. I strongly believe in the mission, “To retain, develop and inspire women in Mondelēz Supply Chain” and elevating women in the workplace. Being part of this ERG, has not just expanded my network, but has allowed me to create a circle of trust with the core team members. It has also developed me personally in being an authentic leader and helping build up others around me.
I understand that you will be stepping down as the Co-Lead the US Supply Chain Women Team this year? Why now?
Between the US and Canada, I have been in a leadership role on the SCW team for almost 8 of the 10 years that I have been involved. I don’t see it as stepping down, I see it as an opportunity for new, fresh ideas and a chance for others to learn & develop as I have. I was very fortunate to have been in my position for so long and now I get to share these experiences with the new leads. Sandra MacQuillan, our Mondelēz International Chief Supply Chain Officer, spoke in a SCW event on “leaving the ladder down and door open” and I feel this way about this change. For the record, however, I am not leaving the team! Never. I will stay on as an “advisor” and will work on a few specific focus areas that I am looking forward spending time on.