KAITLIN STAZ MOYNIHAN
Time at the company:
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
Key Account Manager and self-made entrepreneur.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
At Unilever I manage a portfolio of Personal Care products selling to a premium Canadian grocer. I develop and execute shipments against annual forecasts, analyse consumer and customer data to drive sales, and maintain a solid working relationship with my customer category managers/buyers on Unilever’s behalf. With my time outside of work, I have created a brand that I launched last year called The Grounded Route. I create handmade jewellery and sew robes and kimonos for direct sale to consumers. My passion is The Grounded Route; my avenue to get there is Unilever.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD?
Be a teacher. It runs in my family and I looked up to my uncles, aunts and cousins that were shaping children’s lives. I soon realised that I had very little patience and started dreaming big of how I could work for myself. By 16, I knew in my heart that I was going to be an entrepreneur.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have two college diplomas in Sporting Goods Business and Business Administration in addition to an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Trent University.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Your thoughts determine your attitude; your attitude determines your energy; your energy determines your behaviour and your behaviour determines your outcome. Start with positive thoughts, show up, and be confident the right action will take place.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
My late cousin Meredith. She was determined, strong, ambitious and achieved balance to pursue her passion in life, around my current age. She passed too young and so I plan to live her legacy as best I can. She helped me understand what “blinders” are and how self-awareness can lead to greatness. I’ve grown significantly, both personally and professionally, since her passing and I feel it’s in large part due to the inspiration she instilled in me.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
I have the approval to work from home more often than not. This allows me the space and timelines that work for me; I can plan my day around my deliverables. Assuming my job is done, and done well, I have the flexibility to meet my professional as well as personal needs on a day to day basis. This in itself has helped me to achieve balance.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
Reactivity. It’s the nature of the consumer goods beast. We constantly react to customer’s needs which doesn’t allow us to be the absolute best we can. It may look like that when our programs are executed in store, but it’s taken an army and a few late nights to pull everything together reactively.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
Living the entrepreneurial dream. In five years’ time, I’ve sold my personal line of products to retailers and have a thriving e-commerce business. I get to customise and develop my business based on customer needs and my own sense of fiery ambition. I’ve been building my toolkit with Unilever and intend to keep doing so until I hit my tipping point in my small business. Lots of work but worth every second.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Not always. I find that working for a global conglomerate takes away from my ability to make my own decisions around what’s right for my customer and consumers at the end of the day. I get to come home and customise, dictate and execute against my own free will. I have been known to overexert myself at work, to drive productivity, but it does lead to stress and anxiety pending which targets I need to hit. Coming home allows me to work at my own pace and drive organic growth for my own passion. By day, I’m organised, efficient and effectively leading my role for my broader business. By night, I’m a dreamer, doer and achiever. I am building something from nothing and loving every single second of it.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
Unilever does many things well, and gender balance is certainly one of them. The company is huge; one woman I worked with when I first started is now working as the Global Vice President for Personal Care and could one day soon be our CEO. She is down to earth and oh so inspiring. I also get direct access to female directors that make up half of our senior leadership team in Customer Development; in addition to female team leads that are next in line. The women I get to work with blow my mind every day and push me to do the same for the ambitious women that follow me.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
Absolutely. We cannot achieve true growth in the market place without a diverse set of minds, different types of thinkers and doers and multiple sources of experience. We needs to strategise with colleagues of diverse cultural backgrounds to meet the needs of the melting pot of consumers shopping with our customers day in and day out. Without diversity there is no accurate perspective on consumer behaviour.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
Getting there. It’s been a rough road coupled with fierce competition, and I learned the hard way that a shift in attitude can create an effective balance in your life. Adding my small business to the mix, seems crazy when it comes to finding balance, but this truly is my balance. Learning and growing and feeling my brain hurt from breaking down barriers during the day, gives me the drive to achieve greatness via my passion at night. It’s a fulfilling way to live and I find balancing both has and will continue to make me a stronger individual.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
A consumer mind-set and a strong bias for action; the ability to think analytically to drive decision making; a strong focus on execution, and the patience and discipline to effectively react to customer needs within the dynamic marketplace we work in.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS?
I believe that you cannot be a successful entrepreneur without some solid work experience to build your foundation for success. I continue to put my time in at Unilever although I am building my own brand. I know that the training, experience, access to strong, inspirational leaders and the ability to remove barriers to success are my golden tickets. I’m responsible for millions of dollars in shipments and that pressure has caused me to think and react in a way I didn’t know I was capable of until I started doing it. Unilever has driven growth for me personally and professionally and I do not take this opportunity for granted. Pay your dues, challenge yourself, find a mentor and fiercely engage to learn from those that have seen and done it all before you.