Read these stories from some of the women in key management roles across the organisation.
With a career spanning more than 20 years, Céline now manages a global project that involves reviewing the R&D network so that it can deliver innovations to a level the business expects – thereby ensuring long-term growth.
This is an important project for Céline. R&D is a main contributor to Nestlé’s success in the long term, and there’s a huge network to leverage from. She finds it fascinating to watch the organisation become leaner on a global scale.
Céline also finds the people at Nestlé fascinating. They’re from many different backgrounds and cultures, and when the melting pot comes together and works towards success, it can be challenging, fun and very rewarding.
As a leader, she believes that being able to leverage opportunities and people’s strengths is important. It’s a question of engaging, enabling and empowering people for success. Some of the most important qualities of a leader are patience, learning and being able to project a compelling vision. The Nestlé world is broad with many opportunities, so focusing on the current position is key, as is learning as much as you can and enjoying the experience. That positive attitude gets people behind you during a time of change and closer to the vision.
Céline cites David Bowie as a leader who inspires her, because while he wasn’t a leader in the traditional sense, his work changed music, fashion and even values. Bowie was always ahead of his time, continuing to reinvent his work and styles. He surprised – even shocked – the world, but gained long-term success over generations.
While Céline doesn’t believe her own impact is anything like Bowie’s, she believes that taking part in redefining the R&D organisation for the future means working differently, applying leaner principles and having many global success stories to tell.
Sonia is German, Algerian and Swiss. She has spent 14 years in HR with Nestlé, in businesses as varied as Nestlé Purina Petcare and Nestlé Nespresso in Switzerland and the UK. Today she is Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Nestlé Headquarters.
Sonia believes that the impact she makes in her role is about demonstrating the importance of diverse thinking. Indeed, her favourite project is an ongoing one – increasing gender diversity across the organisation.
She identifies strongly with Nestlé’s culture and values, and enjoys not only the people she works alongside but also the ambition Nestlé has as a company. As for leadership ambitions, Sonia’s advice is to know yourself very well and believe in what you’re doing. Equally important are a strong sense of purpose in everything you do, listening skills and an entrepreneurial mind-set.
Kathryn admits that she came into HR leadership somewhat unconventionally. She’d worked outside Nestlé for the first decade of her career before taking on leadership roles in Communications and Corporate Affairs. When asked to choose an interesting project she’d worked on, the answer was also unconventional: a factory closure in her home market of Canada. It stands out because it was done with dignity and respect, helping to re-train the workforce and enabling employees to start new lives either inside or outside the company.
Now Vice President – HR, Americas, Kathryn’s preferred aspects of the company are less surprising. She loves the people for their intelligence, their values and their desire to contribute on so many levels. She also appreciates the sheer number of careers you can have at Nestlé without leaving the company, because there are so many opportunities to learn and grow, just as she has.
Her ideas about leadership are both refreshing and proven. She believes that first and foremost you need to perform, and be great at what you do. The next piece of advice is to be clear at articulating your vision and goals, and then just do it. People need to be open to all kinds of possibilities to grow as professionals, and unafraid to get outside their comfort zones on a daily basis. Great listening and great coaching also make her list – as does practising all these skills even with people who are more senior than you.
Right after university, Amaya joined Operational Audit at Head Office. While she was there she worked on and then led projects in over 20 countries, in different Nestlé and joint venture companies, and across business functions ranging from Marketing to Manufacturing, from Finance to HR. From here, she moved into Sales in our Water business in the US, to Germany as Marketing Director Infant Nutrition, to Zone Europe as Strategic Planning Manager, and then to the Food Business Unit, first as Europe Cluster Manager and then as Transformation Manager.
She currently works on the future of the food business, anticipating and addressing market needs in a fast changing business environment, as well as adapting the way of working towards it.
It’s an eventful CV by any standards, and Amaya has embraced the growth opportunities offered by each new role, business and country. She particularly enjoyed the Strategic Planning work because of its broad scope, the intense competitive environment, Nestlé’s inspiring ambition, and a level of leadership and teamwork which she describes as outstanding.
Amaya’s idea of leadership includes clear and inspiring vision, ability to put and mobilise the right team behind it, and discipline in execution. Amaya believes that getting a leadership position is a matter of willingness and preparation, creating the opportunity, and going for it. At the same time, a focus on results, a pragmatic and respectful attitude, always looking some steps ahead, are essential qualities.
When Valérie chose to take on the newly-created role of EMEA RA Regional Director, it was for the challenge and novelty. The role wouldn’t disappoint. She needed to create and define the full scope of the job, and build part of the team, team spirit, processes and systems from scratch, which involved a re-thinking of the functioning.
She believes that leadership is not just about leading, but about identifying potential in an individual, group or company and helping them to unlock it. To inspire others, leaders need to know themselves and their limits, persevere with confidence and adapt quickly to change.
One of Valérie’s strengths was bringing a different vision and culture to the company. She started to initiate contact and cooperation between markets so that people would feel they are part of a wider team. She also encouraged innovation such as speeding up the time to market or sharing best practice with other countries to make the best use of scarce resources.
In terms of leadership traits, Valérie puts professional integrity and trust in the team high on the list. She believes in spreading credit for success widely, and in elevating every member of the team. The ability to listen to new ideas, even when they’re not in line with your own, is key. A sense of humour works too.
Valérie looks to Marie Curie as a leadership role model. Not only did Curie’s work help overturn established ideas in physics and have a profound effect on society, she overcame barriers that were in her way because she was a woman. This didn’t stop her inspiring others, as she taught over 100 Red Cross nurses how to use X-ray machines during WW1.
Marie-Claire is Group Project Manager at the Nestlé Research Centre at Vers-chez-le-Blanc. She’s in this role because she managed the development of a group project with Nestlé Research and a number of businesses dealing with Nutrition and Health. Now she’s implementing it.
A Doctor in Nutrition by background, she completed her education with an executive MBA. It was the ideal combination for Marie-Claire, as she has always worked at the interface between R&D and businesses. Previous roles as Head of Innovation Alliances at Nestlé Research and Head of R&D in a joint venture with L’Oréal demonstrate her passion for innovation.
Marie-Claire loves interacting with the diverse functions, businesses, cultures and personalities at Nestlé. She believes that if you have a really good idea, and you’re persistent and persuasive, you can make it happen – she and her team pioneered a few years ago a radically new technology that’s resulted in products which are close to launch. In terms of leadership, it’s less about traits and more about will and skill. Marie-Claire’s advice is to stay authentic, walk the talk, remain open-minded, keep learning and always look to add value. And remember that little actions can make a big impact.
As Scientific Advisor, Petra works on strategic projects driving Nestlé’s Nutrition, Health and Wellness agenda, such as setting the benchmark for our micronutrient fortification.
With a PhD in nutrition, Petra started her career as nutritionist in the Nestlé Research Center in different positions and moved to Nestlé Nutrition working in various nutrition and medical marketing functions. After working at Nestlé Nutrition in medical marketing and as a Medical and Scientific Affairs Manager, she joined the corporate Nutrition, Health and Wellness team.
As part of her current role, she has helped create the scientific backbone and substantiation for United For Healthier Kids – a pioneering programme that aims to help parents to establish healthier eating and lifestyle habits in children. Petra contributes to the continuous improvement of our offer as a company by helping to set the strategic business direction. She finds highly rewarding to see the application of scientific results in our products and services.
One of the things that she likes the most about working at Nestlé is the variety of professional experiences that you can have as an employee, such as moving from research to marketing. Furthermore, she enjoys the multinational environment that allows her to interact globally with colleagues from multiple different cultures and contexts.
Petra believes that to get into leadership positions it is important to do what you are good at and to do it well; engage and empower your team and colleagues in the spirit of ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’; have a clear goal and inspire people to target and deliver against the ambition.
According to Béatrice, life is a constant eternal learning journey, full of surprises but also offering plenty of challenges. When she was living in her home country, France, she did what people expected of her. At 28, however, she decided to travel to Brazil and write a new professional and personal story, with no idea of what her new life would be like. To some family and friends this wasn’t a logical step, but others believed it was a brave move to try something completely new.
In Brazil, Béatrice discovered a new homeland, met best friends, managed her own business, married and started a family, so that courage was well rewarded. Later, as a single parent, she joined Nestlé and worked hard to carve out her own space, proving her competence and gaining credibility in a department dominated by men. She also realised how difficult it is to try to do everything right: be a competent manager, a good leader and the perfect mother.
Her solution was to be herself and connect with the people around her, both inside and outside Nestlé. Today she has built a new family, her daughter has graduated and Béatrice loves her role as Business Executive Officer Waters Brazil. She has learned how crucial it is to find balance in life, and also to accept that she can’t control everything or be superwoman all the time.
As a senior leader in the company, she enjoys sharing her experience with other women. She hopes to inspire them to find their own paths, be courageous and speak up. Béatrice believes the most important thing to remember is to be yourself, get experience and live your personal and professional life with passion.
In just four years at Nestlé, Emma has become part of the 11-strong Dalston team that manages the Nescafe Café Menu business. Her current role is Manufacturing Excellence Manger which includes overseeing Total Performance Management (TPM). She’s also proud of becoming the first female Black Belt in Nestlé UK and now supports the pipeline of future belts.
After a degree in Food Science & Technology, Emma thought she would continue to specialise in that field. But meeting someone who inspired her to see the bigger picture meant that she became aware of far more possibilities. Today, Emma enjoys helping others see that they can do anything they set their mind to, and is convinced people are only limited by the constraints they put on themselves.
Emma’s background in both the fresh produce and the meat industries gave her an insight into FMCG in a very male-dominated environment. When she moved to Nestlé she quickly saw that we value people empowerment and diversity – and view it as a rewarding experience for everyone. As a leader, she’s now responsible for unlocking people’s potential and helping individuals further themselves. In fact, Emma considers this by far the most rewarding part of her role.
She wants to actively encourage further diversity within Nestlé because she has seen how our differences can make us more effective in raising our collective potential. She states that while many businesses have the same technology as Nestlé, the single biggest thing that sets us apart from other companies is our people.
Emma believes that we have all experienced different events. Harnessing this uniqueness helps us ensure every angle is covered, which in turn makes sure the business wins. She is proud that Nestlé is a very inclusive business, growing talent on the merit of what you do and how you do it. After all, it doesn’t matter what you are, it matters who you are.
Ingrid’s 20-year career saw her take on roles in Marketing and Finance before relocating to Buenos Aires to become CBM of the Infant Nutrition Business. Here, she learned to operate in a very complex environment, and was promoted to her current role in Colombia, (Country Business Manager Nestlé Infant Nutrition, Colombia) where she has met some extraordinary people and colleagues.
Ingrid has based her career on her experience in different disciplines and areas, team work and a combination of collaboration, resilience and respect for others. She believes those values facilitate relationships and the execution of strategies in all circumstances.
She’s worked with male managers who valued diversity in their teams and different ways of leadership, and they have all contributed to her professional development – which Ingrid doesn’t find surprising, as it’s part of the Nestlé culture. She has also met brilliant women who have taught her how to maintain a balance between work and family life, which is one of her priorities.
Ingrid appreciates that Nestlé understands the valuable contribution that women can make. She has been able to keep that vital balance thanks to a supportive family that accompanies her on every new adventure with Nestlé.
Marjana has demonstrated her passion and involvement at Nestlé for the past nine years. She joined the CCSD team in Nestlé Adriatic in 2007, where she contributed both her expertise and personality, delivered great results and developed her functional and leadership skills.
Four years ago she became Commercial Manager for Serbia. This gave her overall responsibility for the country and for more than 140 people – the Field Sales Force, Key Account and CCSD teams. Marjana believes that her focus on results, business sense, determination and sharing energy with others contributes a great deal to the business and the team.
Whether leading business, developing and motivating people, or managing complexity in a sustainable way, Marjana aims to act as a role model for her team and organisation on a daily basis. For her, focusing on people is crucial for success. Indeed, her results prove that establishing trusting relationships and empowering team members leads to a capable, happy and motivated high-performing team.
Viviane is Head of Finance and Control within the Business Excellence team. She oversees finance in the department, making sure that it is running as efficiently and cost-effectively as it can, and driving optimisation of Finance processes. It’s a broad and fast-paced role and, though Viviane has been at Nestlé just over a year, she’s already been exposed to many parts of our business.
Viviane appreciates the culture at Nestlé. Her team goes above and beyond, with a high motivation to reach ambitious goals for the benefit of the company. Her faith in her team has always paid off and she pushes talent wherever she sees their potential. Whether it’s giving her people opportunities or developing their focus, she always tries to find the right place for the right people.
Viviane believes that these same values have enabled her own career successes. Her advice is to have confidence in your ability, embrace change and engage the people around you. She also encourages her people to gain visibility, challenge decisions and show their difference. Having always worked in Finance functions, which are still today predominantly masculine, she’s especially interested to see the ‘female’ ways of working and managing risk.
Anne is Vice President of Nutrition, Health & Wellness and Sustainability and works at the Nestlé Research Center. She looks at some of the world’s biggest problems, and how the intersection of nutrition and sustainability can solve them: like how to help to feed 9.6 billion people by 2050 in the context of climate change, urbanisation and globalisation. These challenges have become her life's work.
Anne’s current projects see her working on an international scale. After 13 years at the company, she now oversees Nestlé’s global sustainable nutrition programme within R&D. That means working to provide tasty and healthy products to meet people’s dietary needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet these needs. Or, in short, offering satisfying, nutritious foods whilst reducing the environmental impact. To do it, Anne interacts with all kinds of international organisations – from NGOs and universities to governments and private companies. So she is working to make a real difference to people’s lives, now and in the future.
For Anne, Nestlé has provided an ideal environment to grow her career. She’s been able to work with a wide range of different people and build an international network. Nestlé’s scope means that there are people on the ground in practically every country and frequently, in a meeting, every person is of a different nationality. This provides many new perspectives and fosters a dynamic, collaborative spirit. For Anne, that means when there’s a new idea or approach, it can be implemented to make a global difference.
Chavanne is Assistant Vice President and Head of Nutrition, Health & Wellness for Global Public Affairs. She’s been with Nestlé over nine years. In this role, Chavanne shares our accomplishments and global mission with stakeholders, the public and public health leaders like the World Health Organisation. As commitments to health and wellness are established or new science is published, Chavanne is there to showcase this work. It could be how scientific research is contributing to the evolution of Nestlé’s food and beverage portfolio or how our policies are in place to establish a positive and health promoting work environment. Whatever it is, Chavanne and her team work to showcase our meaningful contributions toward positive public health.
Chavanne’s favourite projects have involved working closely with brands and consumers. Learning how to blend the science of nutrition with marketing can favourably enhance the lives of consumers. Understanding what makes consumers tick is critical to ensuring that the goodness we are putting into our foods and beverages actually benefits the consumer. At the heart of this work is effective communication. Complex, ground-breaking science needs to be communicated to consumers and the general public in the clearest and most transparent way possible. This is one of the main opportunities in her current role.
To be effective, Chavanne has developed all kinds of skills through building her experience on a whole range of brands and businesses. She’s learned how to be a strong leader, effective communicator and active listener. Plus, numerous mentors nurtured her interests and abilities along the way. The one piece of advice she would give to budding leaders is to make the most of your team: they are your greatest asset. At every level, Chavanne has had deep respect for each individual, including her managers, peers and everyone around that helps her – and Nestlé – to achieve their influential work.