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Authenticity in Action

Image: The goody bag at this event was more than a ‘Quick Bite!’

Quick Bite at Mondelez – Authenticity in Action

By Louise Weine

Mondelez QuickBite 2 I came across my notes from this event that I was lucky enough to attend recently at Mondelez in Ringwood and thought I would share my learnings from the presentation by Julie Reddoch – Plant Manager – Ringwood.

Julie shared her career story with us, and I think is summed up best in Julie’s own words “My journey has not been a perfect journey, but I am in an awesome role now. It has been hard work but very rewarding.”

At the end of 2015, Julie was offered the position of Ringwood Site Manager. It was her 18 year old daughter who encouraged her to give it a go and it has been the steepest learning curve of Julie’s career – but she loves it!

Julie grew up in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, a catholic girl from a family where both parents worked, Julie explained that she perhaps peaked a little early in her studies and did not perfom as well as she would have liked in her year 12. As a result of the encouragement of her eccentric and well travelled next door neighbour (whom she greatly respected) she decided to take up her 8th preference and attend RMIT to study Food Science/Technology. This lead her into a 15 year career in R&D for Kraft.

It was at work that she met her husband and they chose to prioritise his career when they moved to the Phillipines with their two young children post 9/11 with Kraft. Julie continued in R&D in part time roles but was very focussed on looking after her son’s health (he is 15 now and doing well!) When they returned to Melbourne Julie took on a procurement role with Kraft and did this after taking advice from a key mentor who told her “ As you go through your career, take on a role that no-one else really wants, back yourself.”

It was at about this time that Julie faced another personal challenge, the breakdown of her marriage, and a major restructure also occurred at Kraft when they purchased Cadbury. Julie had to reapply for her position and had to compete against a colleague whom she greatly respected and admired for the role. At the last minute she decided to pull out to ensure he got the role.

Thinking she would then be out of a job completely, Julie was surprised to find herself in the CEO’s office being offered the role managing the “enforceable undertaking”, and so for the next two years she successfully helped integrate the two businesses, their supply chain, capability and culture and their systems and processes to ensure ongoing compliance.

When the Ringwood Site Manager role came up she thought she would throw her hat in the ring and here she is.

Julie’s 10 takeaways:

  1. Back yourself 100% – put your hand up for lateral moves
  2. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who will be honest with you.
  3. Have a strong network outside work
  4. Prioritise your family
  5. Respect your parents – “remember whose daughter you are”
  6. Be your own style – be you (Julie plays 80’s music at the start of every ops meeting!)
  7. Actively seek out mentors
  8. Seek out where you can improve – focus not on what went wrong but on what caused it to go wrong.
  9. Be respectful – look people in the eye when you speak with them and make sure they feel important in that moment.
  10. Focus on Safety as a core value

Rachel Wolfe, Associate Director C&B, ANZ & Japan, Mondelez Australia, and member of NAWO’s Victorian State Committee, shared the following key learning from Sue Anderson’s presentation:

“Sue talked about Paul O’Neill, CEO of Alcoa from 1987–2000, who had a single-minded focus on safety, based on the belief that every life has value.  Paul’s safety focus had broad business benefits including greater recognition and respect between staff (irrespective of organisational hierarchy), increased contribution from employees as to how to increase productivity and efficiency and overall better business results – Alcoa doubled their profits in 2 years!”

Those of you who regularly attend our Quick Bite events and hear the wonderful stories from operations women will surely agree that there are common messages that thread through all these stories.

Thanks for sharing your story and insights, Julie and Sue! I have not managed to capture the entertaining manner in which you shared your thoughts with us (and that’s why everyone needs to come to QB events to hear these stories in person!), but I hope everyone benefits from reading the key learnings here.IMG_2119

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