from intern to director: reflecting on a 14+ year career path at pep
When I think back on my career at pep, I feel a sense of pride reflecting on how much of pep’s growth and transformation I’ve been fortunate to be a part of and a sense of joy in the relationships I’ve built over the course of time. I think the most transformative moment in my career at pep was when I had the opportunity to be part of a small team starting up operations with a new client. This was a turning point for me both personally and professionally. I was living in Cincinnati and working at pep HQ on the P&G business but I’d fortunately built strong, transparent relationships with my leaders and was open about my desire to move to the Chicago area to be in the same city as my now husband. Less than a year into my career, pep secured a new client in the Chicago area and I was afforded the opportunity to be considered for a role on the team. My supervisor, at the time, and myself were charged with building processes, RACIs, etc. from the ground up and establishing relationships with this new client. As a small team of only the two of us, I had to assume a lot of responsibilities early in my career. It required long hours and was very intellectually, relationally and professionally challenging but so rewarding. This experience kickstarted rapid professional development and set me up for other growth opportunities as my career continued at pep. The experience equipped me to be part of a large new client start up when Kraft came onboard as a client. And later to manage the Kraft Heinz account as I was promoted into a Client Manager role. From there, I was able to apply my account management skills to oversee additional client teams. Now being singularly focused again as a Director overseeing our Unilever account I’ve used all of my past experiences to quadruple our Unilever business since I began working on it 3 years ago.
Among the many things I admire about pep executive leadership is that there is a keen forward-thinking vision and direction. This has played out to have a big impact on me personally in my career at pep. When I am recruiting potential new pep employees, one of the most common questions I’m asked by candidates is, “What has kept you at pep for so long?” Besides the amazing people, for me, it is that we’re constantly evolving as a company and with that there are always new opportunities to learn and grow. I’ve had the fortune to work alongside so many reputable companies like P&G, Sara Lee, Kraft Heinz, General Mills and Unilever. I’ve had a front row seat and partnered with these clients to provide solutions as their organizations have experienced drastic change. At pep, I have never felt stagnant. I truly learn something new everyday and continue to feel challenged and invigorated and am excited for the opportunities in my future here.
We sat down with Chelsea to ask her about her journey at pep:
If you have one piece of advice to give someone looking to evolve with pep, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to take a risk and be open to opportunities (special projects, roles) outside of your comfort zone. Some of my most rewarding experiences (most challenging but also proudest and when I learned and grew most) were when I took a challenge, such as helping start up a new client.
What stands out to you the most about pep and it’s values during your tenure?
Pep truly values it’s employees as people, not just workers. From the top down, I have always felt that I am genuinely valued and cared for.
What is the most significant change you have seen at pep during your tenure?
The tremendous amount of growth we’ve had as a company over my 13 year tenure. Though we never stray too far from our core competencies (consumer promotions & project management), our credibility and success has allowed us to continuously evolve into new capabilities and stay ahead of industry trends providing growth and stability to our employees. A couple big capability growth areas to note are: sourcing, end to end display/POP and consumer promotion strategy and analytics
Is there a project or assignment that greatly impacted your development at pep?
Early in my career at pep, I had the opportunity to be part of two different new client startups (Sara Lee & Kraft). These experiences were very challenging but impacted my growth significantly that I was able to get more comfortable with lack of process, ambiguity and white space and learned to be able to create/develop from scratch and problem solve.
What do you do to make sure you remain relevant in your role?
I subscribe to many industry resources, join relevant webinars and stay connected with colleagues that I no longer work with on a daily basis.