What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s OK to not have a clear plan for every phase of your life and career. Some of my best career moves have been unexpected—and those tend to be the most rewarding, personally and professionally. When you graduate college, you’re expected to know “what you want to be when you grow up” and land the perfect entry role at the perfect company, and know what your next step is. I never really followed that advice. Instead, I focused on figuring out what I needed personally. I thought about which skills I wanted to develop, which roles could provide me with new challenges to conquer, which teams I wanted to be part of and where I could make meaningful contributions to the business.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Some could say the biggest career risk I’ve taken has been staying at Kellogg for 21 years. I started as an intern and was offered a full-time role after graduation. It might seem like a safe and comfortable choice, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I’ve relocated eight times for my career and have worked across sales, marketing and now in general management. I have had more than 10 different roles, which has allowed me to work with so many amazing people—not only at Kellogg, but across the industry. As I’ve moved into new functions, geographies and teams, I have had to continually evolve, learn new things, adapt quickly and prove myself.
If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing and why?
I absolutely love music. I am not gifted in any aspect of music, but I am always listening to music in the car, while working, before bed, while doing chores—and post-pandemic, I am so glad to be able to enjoy live music again. If I wasn’t in my current role, I would be desperately trying to make a name for myself in the music industry … but it might be for the best if I continue progressing at Kellogg.
What should the industry do to encourage more women and people of color into its ranks?
Breaking the cycle is essential to see more women and racially underrepresented talent in the workplace. According to the Women in the Workplace 2022 report by McKinsey & Company, for every 33% of white men who enter the workforce, only 19% of women of color have the same opportunity. And as we look to higher levels of leadership, the numbers are even more alarming, with only 5% of women of color making it to the C-suite compared to 61% of white men.
To address this, we need to focus on increasing the number of women entering the workforce and cultivating an environment in which they are valued and treated equitably in order to retain these individuals. Women and racially underrepresented talent need a seat at the table where their voice is represented and valued. Over time, this will improve the cycle to recruit and retain women and racially underrepresented talent from entry-level to mid-management through executive rankings, but it starts with representation at the highest levels.
How do you expect emerging tech like Web3 and AI to impact your job in the future?
The excitement of new technologies for me is how it can unlock creativity—in thinking and in execution. Take generative image-based AI. Everyone has capacity for creativity, but many people, including myself, don’t have the capability to express it. The technology gives people a chance to experience it without being bound by their executional skills.
So, how will that impact our jobs in the future? Not exactly sure, but I’m excited by the new, seemingly limitless creativity that it will include and how our incredibly talented teams will continue to lead the way.