Michele Buck: She's Running the Sweetest Biz

February 27 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: It All Started With a Kiss

If you’ve been an On The Dot follower for some time, you know I’m all about chocolate, y’all. It all started when I was a girl and my family took me to Hershey, Pennsylvania, aka The Sweetest Place on Earth. We explored the fascinating process of making the good stuff, met lots of super sweet Hershey’s folks and truly experienced the feeling of pure happiness, all of which culminated with a perfect sample bite of the company’s namesake chocolate. It was heaven!

With that sugary, most pleasant of memories in mind, I’m urging you today to take some time to plan (or at least daydream about) your next great foraging adventure. Whether it’s an escapade to a chocolate wonderland or an excursion to a nearby vineyard, devise a special edible outing with your friends or family. After all, sharing a culinary adventure with the ones you love is the best way to have your cake and eat it too!

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 900

Whether your next vacay involves a chocolate fountain or a visit to a spa for some “me time,” chances are you’ll have some sort of encounter with shea butter. Now, what the heck is that? Put simply, shea butter is a fat derived from the nut of the African shea tree. Offering healthy skin-care benefits, it’s commonly found in moisturizers and lotions, and it’s actually edible. But that doesn’t mean you should munch on your hand cream.

Sometimes, folks in the chocolate biz use shea butter in place of cocoa butter. But in 2015, The Hershey Company, along with a global shea-butter supplier, took a big step toward improving the lives of female shea farmers in West Africa. Through the partnership, the companies funded the construction of three warehouses in Northern Ghana that enable a cooperative of 900 women shea farmers to store their shea nuts throughout the season, a move that is helping improve these women’s livelihood and increase their profits.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Michele Buck, President and CEO of The Hershey Company

There’s a reason we’re talking about Hershey so much today, and no, it isn’t because I’m obsessed with chocolate. (Well, not entirely, anyway.) Recently, Hershey announced that today’s Woman to Watch, Michele Buck, will lead the company as CEO starting this March. Michele is no stranger to Hershey, having served in some pretty senior roles with the company for more than a decade.

Before we delve into Michele’s background, let me tell you the big wow fact about this leading lady. Her CEO appointment makes her one of only 28 women to run a Fortune 500 company. And though Hershey considered a variety of candidates, Michele received a unanimous vote by Hershey’s board to assume the role of top chocolate exec. That deserves a rousing “You go, girl!”

Michele’s long career in brand management spans many well-loved consumer food companies, like Frito-Lay, Kraft Foods and Nabisco. With that kind of big-time experience, combined with her whip-smart strategic mindset, it’s no surprise Michele was tapped to lead Hershey. During her time with Hershey, she was the architect of the company’s strategy to expand into broader snacking categories, spearheaded the acquisitions of Krave Jerky and barkThins, and led operations in North America.

Michele’s new appointment demonstrates progress. This amazing woman is taking the helm of a company that was started in 1894, at a time when educated women might only hope to become nurses, secretaries or teachers. Certainly, no one back then could have foreseen that, more than a century later, a woman would, in fact, lead Hershey. How sweet is that?

QUITE THE QUOTE

We have no doubt Michele Buck will work diligently in her new role and inspire generations of women after her to never stop believing in their goals. It’s like what Abigail Johnson, president and CEO of Fidelity Investments, said:

“No matter how senior you get in an organization, no matter how well you’re perceived to be doing, your job is never done.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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