Women to Watch

Women to Watch: Jennifer Podhajsky, Hershey

VP-General Manager, U.S. Chocolate

By Published on .

A 10-year veteran at Hershey, Jennifer Podhajsky was promoted to her current position some 16 months ago, overseeing the candy giant's chocolate portfolio, including Hershey's, Reese's, Kisses, Kit Kat and York. 

Jennifer Podhajsky
Jennifer Podhajsky

Hershey about three years ago began boosting ad spending to battle Mars for U.S. chocolate dominance. Each controls a little more than 33% of the market, per Euromonitor. The marketing boost was meant to "reengage consumers with these powerful equities, and it's been working," said Ms. Podhajsky, who leads a team of 30 marketers.

This year, Ms. Podhajsky is overseeing the important launch of "Hershey's Simple Pleasures," cream-filled chocolates that the marketer says have 30% less fat than other milk chocolates. The launch will be supported with an ad campaign to attract "people who just aren't engaged in the category," she said.

While she executes aggressive strategies on big-spending brands, Ms. Podhajsky's favorite treat is one of the company's smaller brands -- Skor toffee bars.

What career advice would you have given yourself when starting out?

It is extremely hard to be a working mom. Some make it look easy, but it's not. It's OK to ask for help and seek advice.

What's something most people don't know about you?

I spent a season cooking on a schooner along the coast of Maine -- 28 passengers, six crew, wood-burning stove.

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