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Meet Krzysztof Podsiadly, Pilot Plant Chocolate Category Manager

"...it’s the opportunities. Every day I can learn something new, develop my skills and knowledge about food. There are so many changes and new tasks that I don’t think I will ever get bored."

Krzysztof Podsiadly, Pilot Plant Chocolate Category Manager

Thursday, January 11,2024

When and how did your journey at Mondelēz begin?

It was a very funny situation. In 2008 I was trying to find new job opportunities and my friend told me that a place called “kot bury” (Cadbury) was looking for Team Leaders for shift management. I said, “why not,” and spent about 15 minutes searching for the restaurant called “kot bury” in Wroclaw. I failed and then it turned out that it’s not a restaurant, but a chocolate factory in Bielany Wrocławskie - Cadbury. Cadbury! I didn’t know the chocolate factory employees used the name in Polish, which mimics the pronunciation of the company name Cadbury = kot bury (Polish for tabby cat). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in production, but it was the best option at the time, and I decided to apply. After a three-month recruitment process, three interviews and an assessment centre, I got the job and here I am.

What’s your current position and what makes it exciting?

Currently, I work as the Pilot Plant Chocolate Category Manager at the Wroclaw Technical Center. Each day is different, new challenges appear, as do new opportunities and new things to do. On top of that, I love working with the people and I have the pleasure of working with my great team to make things happen.

How did your career develop at Mondelēz before you became a Pilot Plant Manager?

It has been a long and wonderful journey! For the first three and half years I worked as Team Leader, and I had a chance to work on product launches. This helped me realise that I would like to work closely with these topics. Then I moved to the Process Engineer role, working with continuous improvement (CI) agenda. After that I got a position of CI Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Project Engineer responsible for productivity/cost saving/revenue & cash generating projects in the plant. Then I decided to apply for a R&D department role, and I managed to get the job. For the next seven years, I was responsible for a various project for the chocolate category across 22 plants in Europe. In the meantime, the Technical Center was built and I got involved in the commissioning of new equipment installed in the Pilot Plant area, developing procedures, ways of working and training people. I started supervising the work of Pilot Plant Technicians and, after a while, I got an offer to move from project management to pilot plant management. This is how I got to where I am today, 15 years later.

KP with his team members

What are other areas or initiatives that you’re involved in?

I am an extrovert and love a dynamic atmosphere where there's a lot going on and you can do many different things. That’s why I’m volunteering as an ambassador for MDLZ at various events, exhibitions, and trade fairs, as a part of our employer branding programme. Since I went back to university to finish my PhD, I started to coordinate cooperation between the MDLZ Wroclaw Technical Center and various universities. But the most important thing for me is my work in the Works Council. I’m very happy that people trusted me, and I had the privilege to become the Chairman of the local Works Council for a second term. This is a great honour for me. Part of the duties relate to cooperation between unions and work councils in all MDLZ facilities and entities in Poland. I was really surprised when two years ago I was elected as a deputy to the Mondelēz European Works Council in Zurich where I could represent all employees working in Poland for Mondelēz. I’m happy that I can work in the Select Committee to create a great place to work.

What helps you combine all these responsibilities?

To be honest, it was really challenging for me to find work-life balance. Over the years I’ve learnt how to keep the balance and I think that I am well on my way to achieving it. I couldn't do it without huge support from my family, friends, and the possibility to travel during holidays to recharge my batteries. Hiking in the mountains or visiting different countries in Europe makes me happy and gives me new energy. Additionally, my beagle doesn’t allow me to be bored or think about work in my free time.

What challenges do you face as a Polish Representative in the European Works Council?

The main challenge is related to finding a good balance between supporting the voice of employees, addressing these concerns to Senior Management, while understanding the employer needs and the background of the business situation.

What is the most important part of being a Mondelēz Ambassador to universities?

MDLZ offers the opportunities for personal growth and professional development. I have access to learning opportunities and resources to enhance my skills and share my knowledge. The working environment which encourages growth is crucial for me, so I am proud to continue my career journey at MDLZTwo things are fundamental for good cooperation with universities. First, the knowledge and understanding of the environment, roles, responsibilities, and regulations that exist in the association of Polish science and universities. The second is good knowledge of Mondelēz policies linked with intellectual property and confidentiality agreements. These two gave me a chance to prove to students that knowledge gained during lectures can be useful in the future. And, from the other side, to give professors an understanding of what current business needs are, and how a company works.

KP with his team members

You’re now celebrating 15 years in the Mondelēz family. What makes you stay motivated to continue your professional journey here?

First, I would say the people and the atmosphere at the Mondelēz Wroclaw Technical Centre. Diversity and an international working environment where you can express your opinions with the confidence that you will never be judged. Next is flexibility. The most important thing is how and what you deliver, not the number of hours you work. I don’t need to be in the office from 8 am to 4 pm every day. I can adjust working hours. Then it’s the opportunities. Every day I can learn something new, develop my skills and knowledge about food. There are so many changes and new tasks that I don’t think I will ever get bored. Finally, I can work with chocolate, create moments of joy for the consumer and see the results of my work on the market shelves thinking, "This is the caramel filling I developed eight years ago."


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