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What I have learned though, is that no two careers are the same, and that there are many ways to acquire the skills needed for advancement.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

What is your current role and what makes it exciting?

I have been a project manager within our Customer Service & Logistics Center of Excellence (CS&L COE) for the last 13 months. In this role I manage project lifecycles from scoping through completion, to ensure stakeholder expectations are met by delivering on critical milestones and having strong communication. This role has given me the opportunity to learn more about the strategic planning process for key business initiatives, by working closely with project leads across multiple functions. The most exciting part for me, is being able to work on different types of projects from analytical to operational, so that I am constantly learning and working with new and different stakeholders. Being newer to CS&L, this has been a great way for me to get a holistic view of the entire function and understand what areas leaders are focusing on.

What personal qualities or skills do you need to be successful in your position?

Time management, communication, building relationships, and organizational skills are pivotal in being a strong project manager, but there is more to the role than juggling many priorities and keeping initiatives on track. To be successful it's important to understand how the requests relate back to the business, be able to identify critical information, and be able to ask probing questions. This will help to ensure that projects deliver on the overall strategic agenda and minimize duplicate work between teams and functions.

How has your career developed at MDLZ?

I have been with the organization for just over seven years and started in retail sales. During my senior year at the University of South Florida, as part of a Professional Development course within the business school, I participated in "mock interviews". My interviewer referred me to Mondelēz, and I signed with the company that February. My first week coincided with my final exams, so it was a very busy time! I started on the Tampa South team as a Senior Sales Rep, which quickly led to a Sales Rep position managing the Lakeland/Bartow/Mulberry territory. After a reorganization, I was responsible for the St Pete territory. From there, I was promoted to the West Palm Beach team for the Retail Merchandising Supervisor role. In 2018, I relocated back to my home state of New Jersey for a promotion to the Shelf Management Specialist role in support of the Wakefern/NYC CBT. Last year, I made the leap to the CS&L team for my current role.

What kind of project, assignments have you done outside of the traditional career moves that helped you grow ever day?

There have been many instances where I felt there was a natural career trajectory depending on the role that I was in, and the path I saw others follow. What I have learned though, is that no two careers are the same, and that there are many ways to acquire the skills needed for advancement. I have always been focused on taking new roles to push me past my comfort zone, and to enhance the skills required to become a successful leader in this organization. I also assure the career move would be best for me both professionally and personally. I hadn't planned or anticipated to transition from Sales to CS&L. Although I was nervous to enter a new function, it has been an incredibly rewarding experience because I am continuously learning, growing my network, and supporting new initiatives. Outside of my role, I have gotten involved in other ways to continue my professional and personal growth at Mondelēz, usually in the form of ERGs. I recently completed the Mondelēz Multi-Gen Alliance (M2A) Sales Apprenticeship Program where I partnered with SnackFutures and the CaPao team. In this 4 month program, I got hands on experience working with a team and brand I normally wouldn't of had exposure to. My advice would be to: stay curious, don't be afraid to ask questions, set up time with someone in a role you're interested in, reach out to get involved in an ERG/program, and set up time with your leaders to discuss your development plan!

Eli playing golf

How do you describe the culture at MDLZ?

Mondelēz is a people focused organization that prioritizes growing every day. I have always felt genuinely cared about by people I work with and have seen the company grow and adapt to make it a great place to work for all. Despite always being either a field or remote employee, I have been able to develop great working relationships with colleagues and supervisors, as well as meaningful friendships and mentorships that have spanned many years. I think Mondelēz offers many ways to stay connected that I have leveraged over my tenure. I mentioned ERG involvement earlier but think they're a great avenue to network with colleagues regardless of location and function. It also gives a creative outlet to lead initiatives you are passionate about or create something new to fill a need! I recently started a podcast series for the M2A Sales ERG called A Seat at the Table to provide a platform for employees to get to know their leaders in a personal and conversational way, that doesn't require fitting a meeting into their schedule. Employees can submit questions ahead of time for the featured guest, giving them a chance to have their voices heard and concerns addressed. Since pitching the idea in August, to launching the first episode in March, I have felt an overwhelming amount of support from the M2A team, senior leadership, and colleagues across the network. This is just one example of how Mondelēz cultivates a growth and collaborative community amongst its people.

Please describe how ERG's are helping MDLZ do a better job on diversity?

It's no secret the last few years have been an extremely challenging time. I have always applauded the organization for taking a stance on societal issues, because as an industry leader we must not be silent. Over the last two years, the emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion has really given a spotlight to the work the ERGs have been doing for years. Given the additional focus, resources, and funding surrounding the DEI pillars, Mondelēz is making substantial progress in a short amount of time. Currently Mondelēz has nine ERGs that employees can join, participate in events, and be allies of. Each ERG has their own unique mission and programming, so that all employee can find something that resonates with them. I sit on the leadership team for both the M2A Sales and Supply Chain Women (SCW) ERGs and can personally attest to the passion that these groups have to cultivate an inclusive culture for their members and across the Mondelēz network. They also are a great educational tool to learn more about different cultures, life experiences, and how we can better support our colleagues both inside and outside of work.

And finally, what is your favorite MDLZ brand? What kind of (childhood) memories are attached to it?

This one is hard to say, but if I had choose a brand overall it would have to be Oreo. I grew up next to the Fairlawn Bakery and we always knew it was going to rain when we could smell cookies in the air! In many ways, I really did grow up with this company, and their iconic brands have always been near and dear to my heart. I'm a big fan of the Mint Oreo, hello fudge covered, and loved when the Oreo Thins line launched, so I could enjoy that extra crunch, and feel less guilty if I ate more than the recommend serving. One of my favorite parts of working for Mondelēz is when I meet someone new and I tell them who I work for. Their face lights up usually followed by them asking "the company that makes Oreos?!". People have such a positive association with the brand, and so many of their own joyous memories, that I always feel proud to be part of something that makes people smile!