The Different Skills Leaders Need at Different Ages
Senior women at Campbell detail the varying challenges they must overcome
- Four women leaders at Campbell’s Soup recently detailed to Forbes the different skills each needed and uses at her current stage at the food company, giving a multigenerational view of the challenges women at the top face.
Denise Morrison, 55
- Morrison is senior vice president and president, North America, Soup, Sauces & Beverages. Beyond her direct oversight responsibilities, she must articulate a vision for her company’s growth.
- In her role, she must say, “This is where we’re going” — and then she must “empower people under me to take charge and not micromanage.”
- She is also a director at Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which she says broadens her perspective.
- “Women often are so focused on getting their jobs done well that they forget that building relationships is a key part of being a leader — and increasingly so, the higher you go.”
Chang Britt, 45
- As president of Campbell’s North American food service business, Britt is working on expanding her leadership abilities.
- Britt is working to be a catalyst for change by taking on the risky assignment of both expanding and transforming the company’s traditional food service business.
- Offsites every two months let Britt lead her team in brainstorming.
- She also pushes herself: “I believe luck happens when preparation meets opportunity, so the harder we work, the luckier we get.”
Lisa Walker, 38
- Like so many 30-something managers, Walker, Campbell’s vice president for innovation, focuses on operations targets and execution of top executives’ strategy.
- Also like so many managers of her age, she has to balance her work demands with her family — a young daughter, in Walker’s case.
- Walker hit the ground running after her maternity leave, implementing a new line of low-sodium soups in 4 months, as little as a quarter of the usual lead time for such a release.
- That tight deadline led her to focus on new approaches, specifically simultaneous product development rather than the step-by-step formula usually used at Campbell’s.
- Walker combines this style with mentorships for younger women at Campbell’s, trying to emulate the approach her mother took in becoming one of Merrill Lynch’s first female managing partners, according to Forbes.
Ashley Bruce, 25
- Bruce, a senior customer business manager for Campbell’s Team Safeway, concentrates her efforts on pure work — defining he career path and then pushing herself to execute and learn as much as she can to succeed.
- She monitors Campbell’s position and status in the marketplace (Safeway food stores), trying to fix problems, even anticipate them.
- She turns that same drive to building connections and contacts in the hopes they will play a role in the next stage of her career.
- “Being a leader at my age, when I don’t have that much experience, means being willing to work hard, to be inquisitive and to listen and learn.”
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