FIRST THOUGHT: Hershey Kisses
Did you know Marie Antoinette had her own chocolate maker and used it for, ahem, medicinal purposes? Chocolate with orchid for strength, chocolate with orange blossom to calm her nerves and chocolate with almond milk for digestion. Next time you’re hiding Hershey’s kisses in your coffee mug so your littles don’t see, just remember they’re optimal for health!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 91 Percent
So, what’s the deal with chocolate? Why does it seem like women like the stuff more than men? Apparently, the numbers back up the theory: Ninety-one percent of women love chocolate, but it’s a close race, with 87 percent of men loving the stuff. My theory is that men are just pretending to not be into the sweet stuff. (Every time I order a piece of chocolate cake after dinner, the guy at the table can’t resist a few man-sized bites.)
WOMAN TO WATCH: Michele Buck, President and CEO of Hershey
Though women are chocolate devotees, it took one very famous chocolate company 123 years to be led by a woman CEO. Yep, you guessed: That woman is today’s Woman to Watch, Michele Buck, who made headlines as Hershey’s first female CEO, and let’s just say it’s a big deal. After all, Michele joins a small group of only 32 CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. There’s no time for indulging in two or 12 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups when you’re in charge of a big dynasty.
Michele’s no stranger to the food industry, particularly the sector of packaged products. She spent nearly two decades at Kraft Foods before spending more than a decade at Hershey. Now, from leading acquisitions to marketing to cultural transformation, Michele’s to-do list is like one of those paper scrolls that unrolls and keeps going and going and going.
This sweet trailblazer admits she’s an optimist, and an “unabashed” one at that. This year, she’ll do what she does at the beginning of every year: Begin with gratitude, set clear goals for the following year and then conclude the year with boundless positivity. Her outlook has no doubt affected the men and women who work for her. Zeal tends to rub off on others, you know?
One of the qualities Michele possesses that isn’t noticed often enough is her willingness to relocate. We’re often set on a particular city, state or country, but sometimes opportunities present themselves in a different zip code. Michele started her career in Texas before hopping over to Philly, then New York, followed by New Jersey and now Hershey, Pennsylvania. That kind of flexibility is often instrumental in climbing the corporate ladder, because it means you’re able to go with the flow a bit more.
The town of Hershey has a mere 14,000 citizens, and switching gears from big-city to small-town living could be difficult for some, but not Michele. It might be because of how she was raised—by a humble family who had little money. Her father was the first in their family to even graduate high school, so Michele learned you can’t expect life to hand you anything. You’ve got to work for it. It doesn’t hurt if you have something chocolatey during the pilgrimage.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Michele Buck said:
"Make an impact in every single assignment that you are given. Look at it as how can I take this to the next level. And be confident in yourself."