Women Changemakers in Food and Beverage

IWD-2020-blog hero

The innovative women of Kerry are helping nourish and delight consumers around the world

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020, we’d like to acknowledge 12 women making waves and delivering results at Kerry. With functions ranging from finance and science to human relations, business development and plant management, these colleagues help us bring taste and nutrition to consumers around the world, thanks to their commitment to innovation, research and leadership.


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Anna Mao

Anna Mao

Research, Development and Applications Senior Scientist for Asia Pacific

Salty sauce is my area of speciality, so I spend a lot of time working with some of our biggest customers. Because these companies are at the forefront of the food industry, I’m regularly challenged to create on-trend concepts based on current information and new technologies. I get to push beyond traditional expectations in order to deliver novel products, which keeps my work interesting. I have a young child, and spending time with him can inspire the ideas that eventually make their way onto shelves. My department is over 60% female, which isn’t what I thought I would experience when entering the world of science. In my four years with Kerry, I’ve been given opportunities to see our work at various manufacturing plants and last year I changed my focus from one key customer to another, which provided me the chance to experience a whole new way of working. It’s been really good to grow my horizons.


Ayca Yumlu

Ayca Yumlu

Senior Account Manager for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT)

I handle some of our global accounts across the MENAT region. My role is a mix of research and relationships—I must know what new technologies we’re creating at Kerry and keep my customers informed about new insights and innovations that might help them meet their business goals. I’ve spent 15 years in the food industry, the last eight of them with Kerry. Although I began my role as a local sales lead living in Turkey, Kerry has supported my career development by giving me the chance to relocate to Dubai, where I have a larger, more regional responsibility. Food and beverage is one industry that creates opportunities for women, and I believe Kerry is an organization that pays attention to diversity. I see many women colleagues having opportunities in different departments, roles and regions in each and every level in the organization. In one recent project, 90% of stakeholders—from sales to RD&A, quality and supply chain—were women.


Irina Anaya

Irina Anaya

General Manager for Mexico, CaCar and Andean

I oversee three subregions for our business, working to ensure we continue our growth and hold onto or attain a leadership position in specific markets. The projects are always changing, but one recent one involved the integration of a new acquisition to our Mexico business. Such a task poses many opportunities, including understanding new businesses and customers, optimising new manufacturing sites and welcoming new collaborators to Kerry. It was really rewarding to see the team effort and dedication placed on each integration. This sort of work requires creativity and problem solving, which I find interesting and engaging. Kerry has been my home for 25 of my 36 years in the food industry. During that time, Kerry has supported my career with continuous education opportunities, mentoring from our executives and inviting me to take part in strategy meetings for different parts of the broad Kerry world. This has all contributed to my development and progression and led me to where I am today—helping to lead our business.


Jane Rundle

Jane Rundle

Vice President of Human Resources for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA)

I joined Kerry in Australia in July 2017, bringing with me 20 years of experience in the global food industry and an expertise in building people and leader capability. I’ve since moved to Singapore, where I lead the HR function for Kerry APMEA. Central to our people agenda in Kerry is enablement. To enable the delivery of a sustainable and profitable business, both now and for the future, we must fully leverage our diverse and extraordinary talent. I am very proud of the many female stars we have working in APMEA, across all functions and levels in the organisation. My ongoing commitment is to ensure we nurture our leaders to forge inclusive, supportive work environments for our talented women to thrive. We must continue to listen, embrace and welcome difference in perspective, style and contribution. I am energized by the gains we are making and the embracing of this year’s IWD theme #EachforEqual.


Julie Gattaz

Julie Gattaz

Strategic Marketing Director, Beverage, for Latin America

At Kerry, my work involves anticipating consumer needs and making sure we have the best solutions for our customers. For example, I map emerging consumer trends in beverages at global, regional and local levels; identify the ones that are the most relevant and show potential growth and review our product portfolio for related solutions. I’ll let our technology team know if there are any gaps, and then help find solutions within Kerry or outside the organization. I also support key account planning and marketing to help get the right content to the correct customer segments. It’s a lot of connecting the dots and looking at the big picture, which I like. Recently I’ve been focused on showing our customers they can reduce added sugar in soft drinks by using natural aromas that do not change the taste of the final product; several companies have reformulated their products with us, reducing their spend on sugar, consumption of water and carbon footprint while also producing tasty, healthier beverages. I’ve been with Kerry for five years and in that time I’ve changed roles four times. With the speed of growth here, there is plenty of room for great talent—be it for a new hire or a new challenge—regardless of gender.


Mageshni Reddy

Mageshni Reddy

Analytical Scientist, Flavours, for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

In my role I’m responsible for a number of technical functions, but one of my favorite roles is being a “Sherlock Holmes” of the food and beverage industry for Kerry’s EMEA region. I use scientific analysis to help solve the occasional mysteries that can occur during food production, such as off smells. I also contribute to the fast-growing mocktail category by working closely with the flavour department, analysing alcoholic beverage flavour profiles to create palatable non-alcoholic alternatives. In my eight years with Kerry I’ve migrated through five different roles, learning new skills with the support and encouragement of great mentors. I’ve travelled to a number of countries and was ultimately able to relocate to Europe, from South Africa, which was one of my biggest dreams. However, one of the most rewarding experiences was working on a “think team” to problem solve in collaboration with our customers at a co-manufacturing site. I got to work alongside a group of food industry veterans and, although I was the sole woman on the team, my opinions were equally valued.


Mallory Poggensee

Mallory Poggensee

Finance Director, Food End Use Market, for North America

Currently, I lead the finance function for the food end use market in North America. I ensure the business is meeting both short- and long-term growth objectives. In the seven years I’ve been with Kerry, I’ve had roles in a variety of finance and business development functions. In each, I’ve felt supported and respected for my work ethic and passion for the business. I think that’s part of what sets Kerry apart: hard work is rewarded with opportunity, regardless of your gender. I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities for growth that I believe are unrivaled in most workplaces. These have included leading projects, relocating, training and promotions, to name a few. I’m also fortunate to have both male and female mentors that are dedicated to my success and the success of the wider Kerry organization.


Mariana Cruz

Mariana Cruz

Human Resources Director for CaCar and Andean

In my 15 years with Kerry, I have seen women fill roles in all functions and levels of the business, a trend that can now be seen in the broader food and beverage industry. At Kerry, we know best results can only be delivered when we perform at our best and invest in talent development based on competencies, potential and aspiration, regardless of gender. Kerry’s support and flexibility as an employer has been key for my professional development and achieving my personal goals. Today, my work focuses on creating organizational efficiencies for growth, partnering on new acquisitions and leading change management in transformational projects to make it easier and more valuable for our customers and our people to do business with us. Although I started working with Kerry in Mexico, my family and I now live in Costa Rica, where we are learning about another country and I am partnering with subregions of our business and working multiculturally.


Marisol Jimenez

Marisol Jimenez

Pachuca Plant and Distribution Centre Manager

I’m accountable for our Pachuca, Mexico, manufacturing site and its distribution centre, ensuring our operation provides the best customer experience. This includes managing distribution for our foodservice business; developing annual operating profit and loss plans; building and executing the budget; establishing and monitoring the overall plant performance and providing direction, development and leadership to my team. I´m constantly seeking to improve line efficiencies, sustainability, cost, process, safety and quality. I’m proud to say that in 2019, for the second consecutive year, the Pachuca plant was one of Kerry’s top three performing plants in Latin America. The confidence that the company has placed in me motivates me to seek ways to improve our operations and myself. When I see women in key positions in Kerry Latin America, it's clear that each individual within the organization is evaluated on their ability and skills.


Michelle Wetzel

Michelle Wetzel

Senior Director of Research, Development and Applications, Meat, for North America

My days at Kerry are spent developing innovative coatings and seasonings for the meat, plant protein and appetizer industry. For example, my team developed 12 new “trend blend” seasonings which pair mainstream tastes with emerging flavors from the 2020 Kerry Taste Charts. (Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ is my new go-to!) I’ve been in product development for 25 years, the last 21 at Kerry. I have had amazing mentors and am now happy to pay it forward by mentoring and coaching some of our young professionals—taking time to help others allows me to reset and reprioritize. I’ve also gotten to focus on my leadership skills by joining cross-functional teams assigned to problem solve for key issues facing Kerry. At the end of the project, we have the opportunity to present and discuss our ideas with the Executive Leadership Team. The teamwork and collaboration across functions creates a close network of cohorts that lasts well beyond the program.


Sheelagh Pentony

Sheelagh Pentony

Senior Strategic Marketing Manager for Global

Since joining Kerry in 2013, I’ve worked in various regional and global roles, from project managing the creation of the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute to leading a consumer research project on digestive and immune health that spanned 14 countries and had a sample size of 11,000. I’ve been able to build my skills and develop my talents, including getting a QQI certificate in nutrition, presenting at Probiota Global 2020 and, also this year, managing the Applied Health and Nutrition marketing team when my manager went on maternity leave. Before she left, my manager set me up for success by helping me to identify new mentors and arranging the support of a development coach. Throughout my career, I have worked for many impressive female managers and leaders who have mentored, empowered and advocated for me. Following their lead, I also aspire to mentor and sponsor other women to follow their ambition and lean into their careers.


Tayton Huisheere

Tayton Huisheere

Sales Planning Manager for National Accounts in North America

I support our sales team with reporting, project management and customer engagement, from hosting culinary ideation sessions to the rollout of new items in stores. I’ve been with Kerry for eight years, and I am continuously challenged to grow and to be better. I have had many opportunities to travel, learn and engage with other leaders across the business and, thanks to Kerry’s support, am back to school for my MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. At our Beloit office I help deliver on our “People” and “Culture” business priorities by assisting with various employee engagement initiates including product showcases and Bring Your Child to Work Day. This year, I also became a Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Ambassador for Kerry, representing our almost 6,000 female foodservice employees across North America, and was recently named Kerry’s WFF Changemaker. I’m excited to continue to grow as much as I can in my time here at Kerry. 

To learn more about joining our growing team, visit Kerry Careers.


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