Martina Shares Advice to the Next Generation of FMCG Leaders
"Dare to challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone." Martina Flemström, Managing Director, Sweden & Finland.
Please tell us about your career journey at MDLZ
My journey at MDLZ started in August 2020, when I joined as the Managing Director for Sweden & Finland, after a few years as General Manager in Unilever and Upfield. I joined during Covid, while everyone was still working from home - it was quite strange to get to get to know our colleagues virtually, and I was longing to meet everybody in person!
Finally, after more than a year, we reopened the office. At this time I was probably spending too much time by the coffee machine trying to catch everyone for a chat!
Since then, MDLZ in Sweden has been on a growth journey; our brands are growing nicely; we have initiated a program together with the Swedish football association to educate 96 female coaches on UEFA B level to encourage more female role models; we are stepping up the sustainability agenda by e.g. reducing the CO2 emissions in transportation with 88% due to having HVO diesel, and much more, while tackling unprecedented challenges in unprecedented times.
What do you like about working at MDLZ, and what do you think is special about us?
At MDLZ, we have so many passionate and proud colleagues! They focus every day on fulfilling the needs of our consumers and customers. It is amazing to be surrounded by people who truly love our products and brands.
The FMCG industry is a fast-paced industry that is easy to love. For example, you get rapid feedback from consumers on which products they love and which products they’re not satisfied with, that’s why we feel such a close connection to our consumers. Also, people can relate to your job since they know very well the products we and our peers sell.
What motivated you to become a leader?
I love winning as a team! It is so rewarding to see colleagues grow and accomplish things they thought were impossible. I see myself as a change catalyst, helping people to dare.
This International Women's Day, is there a piece of advice you would share with the next generation of aspiring women leaders within FMCG?
Start with yourself. I make sure I am equally supportive to all colleagues and stakeholders, and most people can go further than they think is possible. It’s so important to surround yourself with allies, at home and at work, not the least in your leadership team to ensure diversity and equality is cascaded throughout the company. My leadership team is equal from a gender perspective, and a mix of Swedish and non-Swedish citizens.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Be open to take sideways moves, even though it may add a couple of years to you reaching your goals. In the end you will be more likely to reach higher with cross functional experience.
What career advice would you give?
Be curious and focus on your own learning experience. Dare to challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone, try changing function, country, or industry.
What is your favorite MDLZ brand?
Marabou, Sweden’s favorite chocolate brand, loved by consumers for more than 100 years!