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From Category Planning to Sales Operations, Pushing Past Comfort Zones

"Remember, your career growth and development are important, and sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to great things."

Yelena Kizilova, Route to Market Manager, Eurasia

Monday, June 10, 2024

Your professional journey and accomplishments have always been impressive, and we believe there's so much we can learn from your experiences. Can you walk us through your professional background?

Twelve years ago, I embarked on a journey with MDLZ that marked the beginning of my career in Sales. Throughout the past decade, I've adeptly navigated through various roles within the Perfect Store function, gaining invaluable experience across different sales channels, geographies, and market segments. My unwavering dedication and passion for sales have enabled me to acquire diverse skills that have proven to be an asset in my professional journey.

Can you share an experience where you stepped out of your comfort zone? How did you handle it, and what did you learn?

Moving to a new role can be daunting, even within the same function and organization. When I transitioned from Category Planning & Activation to Sales Operations & Development, I realized how much there was still to learn. The challenges with the shift were exciting and showed me the vast opportunities within the sales landscape that I had yet to explore. This experience reinforced my belief in continuous learning and adaptability in the ever-changing business environment.

What are the most critical skills needed to thrive in a fast-paced and ever-changing work environment?

There are three crucial behavior principles that I would like to highlight, which are very much present at MDLZ - Empower, Focus, and Connect. These principles are integral in removing complexity, delivering growth, and leading through changes. I firmly believe that we can achieve success effortlessly by embracing these principles. As a leader, I take every opportunity to empower my team and encourage them to take ownership and responsibility for their work. Empowerment leads to enhanced motivation, engagement, and efficient decision-making. We all know that our agenda is becoming more complicated every day, and it's essential to identify our goals and focus on the right priorities. Therefore, staying focused is the key to success. In today's complex and digitally enabled world, the right collaboration and connection are critical to getting work done.

What’s your advice in driving one’s personal growth?

Based on my personal experience, I would like to encourage you to be proactive, ambitious, and open to new learning opportunities. Remember, your career growth and development are important, and sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to great things. If you're feeling unsure, you might want to try the "Career Lifeline Exercise" to gain valuable career insights and reflect on your next steps. Just know that you're not alone and taking that first step can be the start of an exciting journey.


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