Posted in Operations on March 16, 2023
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we decided to interview the women of Mondelēz Foodservice to get their perspectives on the foodservice industry and their career advice for women who want to pursue a career in this field.
Representing the marketing and sales departments at Mondelēz Foodservice, these women have over 45 years in the industry combined. Their insights reveal that a lot of progress has been made regarding equality in the foodservice industry and that there is still a lot of opportunity for growth in the future.
In 2022, we featured our Mondelēz Foodservice culinary team, which is powered by two highly experienced female chefs. Be sure to check it out here.
Is there one piece of career advice you received that has stayed with you over the years?
Emanni Bates, Associate Category Manager, Ingredients: “Be your own advocate. While it’s nice to have your network serve as your professional support system, it’s important to remember that the main person who has the ability to make a difference in your career and future, is you.”
Mary Anderson, National Account Manager: “Always remember to mentor, encourage and lift up women in foodservice the same way others have done for you.”
Heather Johnson, Director of Sales - Foodservice/Away from Home: “I love the quote, ‘Be brave enough to suck at something new.’ My goal is not to know all of the answers, or perfection or fearlessness. It’s about pushing myself outside my comfort zone and gaining new experiences that will make me better and stronger than I was yesterday.”
Have you encountered any challenges in the industry because of your gender? If so, can you speak to some of those and how you addressed them?
Justine Chapin, Marketing Services Manager: “I think women in all industries face challenges; we have to try harder and speak louder to be seen. But, I’ve seen progress not only during my tenure here at Mondelēz Foodservice, but over the course of my professional career.”
Ashley Gilio, Senior Marketing Manager: “There have been instances in my career, where I have felt that I wasn’t promoted or was placed in a position due to my gender and being a mom. At those points in my career, I remember speaking up and found that no one was honest or gave me a direct response. With that, I found that the culture of the company didn’t meet my values and led me to move onto other companies and roles.”
Anderson: “Early in my career there was a disproportionate number of men to women, especially in leadership roles. As a result, the few women in foodservice did not have a seat at the table. I have seen that change over the years, although we still have plenty of room for improvement.”
What does being a woman in the foodservice industry mean to you?
Jodi Yemola, Business Development Manager, Non-Traditional Foodservice: “It’s great to know that I am a part of an amazing network of women, working to support and inspire one another. It means I am part of the movement toward gender equity in foodservice.”
Gilio: “I found that being a woman in this industry means a lot of opportunity and chance for growth and establishing yourself in your career. I have been able to do something I love and feel that the opportunities are endless.”
Tell us about how the women in senior positions at Mondelēz Foodservice are positively impacting the company’s vision and/or culture?
Bates: “Seeing women in senior positions at Mondelēz is the ultimate motivator. In the past, you would typically see predominantly males holding senior leadership positions. When I see women, especially women of color, at those higher levels it inspires me to continue working hard knowing one day I can get there as well.”
Yemola: “I think women bring critical skills to leadership roles that really serve our broader team well. We are natural born multitaskers, active listeners, nurturers and bring unique thought and perspective to the business.”
Gilio: “Women in senior positions help build a sense of diversity in the company and show a company that takes pride in this. It helps outreach to more of their employees and gives them a sense of representation and opportunity that this is achievable at Mondelēz.”
Do you have any advice for women who want to work in this industry?
Bates: “Be open-minded and have fun! We all know foodservice is usually portrayed as the land of the unknown, but what a lot of people don’t know is that there are endless learning opportunities and experiences that you won’t get anywhere else. Foodservice makes having fun the easy part. Being open-minded allows you to fully take in all that the channel has to offer.”
Yemola: “Seek out your strengths, hone your skills and then create your corporate ladder instead of climbing it.”
Chapin: “Leverage your network, keep your eyes open, and apply to everything and anything that sparks an interest. Especially in this market, there are so many job openings and career opportunities; don’t let your current or previous career path stop you from trying to create a new one.”
Anderson: “Find a strong mentor, be open to feedback and strive to continually learn.”
Miriam Tensuan, Trademark Licensing Manager: “I have many bits of advice, gleaned over 30 years, for any working woman, in any industry, at any stage of her career. A critical step in achieving work-life balance is to be your authentic self at work. Get to know your colleagues, and let others get to know you. Speak about your family and friends, your mundane weekend plans, your big vacation plans and whatever it is that brings you joy outside of the office. Celebrate your personal and professional milestones equally. Accept compliments with grace, and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every now and then. On the flip side, admit when you make a mistake or you’re having a bad day. Live a full and honest life, which will translate into a healthy appreciation for the inevitable challenges and successes of your work.”
Gilio: “If looking to do so, pursue it! Over the progression of my career, I have seen more women in leadership and overall within the companies I have worked for. Within this, you will find so many resources, advocates and support for women that it is a very welcoming space to be.”
Johnson: “Foodservice is an amazingly unique, and entrepreneurial, channel that offers opportunities for professional growth you won’t find anywhere else. My advice is to be brave, make the leap, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable … it’ll be worth it!”
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Mondelēz International
Mondelēz International has an active and purposeful DE&I Community, with a core focus on Women in Leadership.
Closing our senior level gap is critical to driving diversity, inclusion and ultimately, high performance,” according to the strategic goals laid out on our website.
In April 2013, the organization signed the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles, which aim to advance equality between men and women with the following goals:
- Bring the broadest pool of talent to our endeavors.
- Further our companies' competitiveness.
- Meet our corporate responsibility and sustainability commitments.
- Model behavior within our companies that reflects the society we would like for our employees, fellow citizens and families.
- Encourage economic and social conditions that provide opportunities for women and men, girls and boys.
- Foster more sustainable development.
This program is just one of many initiatives that demonstrate Mondelēz International’s commitment to an inclusive, bias-free workplace.
Learn more about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Mondelēz International here.