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Meet Sylvia, Director of Finance for Oreo, committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

"While I own my own career, Mondelēz has supported me along my journey by allowing me to participate in various training and leadership development programs..."

Sylvia Conner, Director of Finance, Oreo

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Sylvia Conner, the Director of Finance for the OREO brand at Mondelēz International, brings forth a distinguished career marked by pivotal moments, dedication, and an unyielding pursuit of excellence within the company. As a Black woman navigating a space where representation is limited, Sylvia's journey exemplifies resilience, determination, and an unwavering commitment to paving the way for greater diversity and inclusion in the finance sector.

Could you share some key milestones or pivotal moments that have shaped your career progression, particularly within Mondelēz International?

I just celebrated my 10-year anniversary with Mondelēz, and I can recall three key pivotal moments that help shaped my career:

1. Turning down a promotion (which would have been outside of the HQ location) for a lateral move (relocation to NJ from Chicago) to allow myself time to gain breadth of experience & build new relationships within the NA HQ Offices.

2. Taking the role as FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis) Manager, as the role was outside of my comfort zone which at the time challenged me to think holistically & strategically as well as provide direct exposure to NA Leadership.

3. Starting a new role as Midwest Cluster Senior Finance Manager during the height of a global pandemic and then subsequently working through a labor work stoppage the following year. These situations required flexibility, the ability to prioritize, and having an agile mindset.

What actions did you take to advance to your current role as the Director of Finance for OREO?

My Mondelēz career spans 10 years and 6 different roles and during each role it was important for me not just to learn the role but identify ways to improve the role which directly impacted business performance, whether it was learning a new skill or sharpening my interpersonal skills, my goal was to directly influence the decisions of my business partners. These steps prepared me to become the Finance Lead for U.S. Oreo.

As a black female leader in finance, what unique challenges have you faced throughout your career journey?

As I have progressed throughout my corporate finance career, often times I find myself being the only one in the room that looks like me and because of that, early on in my career I experienced imposter syndrome.

How have you navigated these challenges and what advice would you offer to other black females aspiring to advance in the finance industry?

To overcome imposter syndrome, I had to remind myself that I am qualified and capable and redirect my negative energy to focus on things that provide positivity and peace.

Why have you decided to become so active in the Early Careers space?

I can recall my time first couple of years post graduate in the corporate space and it was challenging to navigate. I know that providing the right resources and establishing key relationships upfront are instrumental in a successful transition into the corporate space which is the main reason why I have decided to become so active in Early Careers.

What difference are you hoping to make by leading the Finance Early Careers Program?

The main difference I hope to make is that we continue to bring diversity into finance and ensuring we have more black women represented in corporate finance. I am also excited knowing that I am able to help develop and shape the next generation of finance leaders which is a rewarding experience.

How has Mondelēz International supported your professional growth and development? Could you discuss any programs, initiatives, or support systems within the company that have facilitated your advancement?

While I own my own career, Mondelēz has supported me along my journey by allowing me to participate in various training and leadership development programs such The LAB, LEAD, ELEVATE, etc.

In what ways does Mondelēz International foster an inclusive environment for diverse talent, particularly concerning the advancement and representation of women and people of color in leadership roles?

Our ERGs play an important role in providing an inclusive environment at Mondelēz. In addition to that, the partnerships/relationships with various organizations such as NBMBA, Prospanica, MLT, etc. ensures we are connecting with diverse talent. Most importantly, having KPIs with focus on women and POC in leadership roles (particularly black management representation) shows the priority of ensuring our leaders are truly diverse and represent our consumer base.


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