During my 20 years at Kraft Foods KRFT 0.95% , I’ve learned the importance of continuously seeking new experiences. This perspective has allowed me to regularly reinvent myself professionally throughout my career and take on numerous roles within the company. From moving across the pond to run Kraft’s coffee business, to overseeing the North American beverages business, and now as Chief Marketing Officer, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way:
Keep an open mind. It’s essential to be open to new opportunities when they come your way. Nearly two years ago, I was managing the P&L for our company’s beverages business, when our CEO offered me the role as Kraft’s first CMO since becoming an independent company. At first, I thought he was crazy. And at the time, I was reluctant to make the switch from managing a business to overseeing a centralized function. But it was what the company wanted and needed of me, and I accepted. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this once-in-a-lifetime chance to change how a company with an enviable portfolio of food and beverages approaches marketing.
Seek opportunities for reinvention. My advice to anyone working to achieve long-term success, especially in the same business, is to regularly step back, assess your progress and consider new experiences that can help you grow professionally. I look at it as a process of continuous reinvention. So think about where your greatest professional development opportunities lie, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t actively addressing them. I’ve found that many new opportunities exist beneath the surface – all you have to do is raise your hand and ask.
Step outside of your comfort zone. While the idea of reinvention may sound daunting, this can mean anything from taking on a new project, joining a new team or accepting a “stretch” assignment. Every change you make, big or small, can help drive your advancement, and keep that professional spark well lit. And don’t wait. The pace of change is rapid, and you can’t sit on the sidelines.
Experience the payoff. Wearing different hats or changing your position can keep you invigorated about your job and better positioned to accept challenges or opportunities to come. In my experience, this can open new doors that will greatly benefit you as your career progresses. As CMO, I have relied on my experiences and knowledge gained during my many roles within Kraft to help guide the company during this exciting transformation.
Because my career at Kraft has had me moving all over the world and changing hats regularly to work with different types of products, programs, and people, it has always remained fresh. It’s these experiences that have helped me immensely as Kraft’s CMO, and that have kept me excited for everything yet to come.