This month’s Member Spotlight
Marie Dousova, Z EMENA Sales & Customer Manager, Nestlé
I’ve been working in business for nearly 25 years after a brief career in Science. As I was very good in math, I studied mathematics and physics, graduated from Charles University in Prague and started my career in Science, enjoying PhD studies in Biotechnology. As I was always a leader as a child and during my teenage years, I missed a bit the people side of my job in science. After short start-up experience, I decided to jump into business. Graduating with an MBA brought my career path to Nestle and I’ve been happily working for this great company in different marketing, commercial and general management functions within a few markets in Europe over the last 25 years. It has been 25 years of demanding work, but also 25 years of enjoyment working with great people. At this moment, I’m working in Switzerland as Head of Sales and Customer Management and I’m in charge of the commercial strategy for Zone EMENA.
Why are you passionate about the mission of the LEAD Network?
While working for our company, I‘ve been privileged to lead very diverse teams, made up of different nationalities, different ages, different genders, different ways of performing and I’ve witnessed how diversity can enhance results, creativity and overall business performance. Diversity and gender balance are very high on our company agenda and I’m very happy if I can share my personal and professional experiences with the others, and also be inspired by the others, based on our common objectives. Gender balance is for me an ethical issue and also business issue; more diverse companies are able to attract top talent, improve consumer and customer orientation, and improve consumer and customer satisfaction! And I’m happy to be a part of this journey with my colleagues from LEAD!
What would you say is one of the most adventurous or riskiest moves you’ve made professionally?
As I mentioned, I started my career in science and I do enjoy the conceptual, intellectual part of the job. But I missed people leadership, and also the execution of my ideas and concepts. So being a fresh PhD graduate and young mother, I decided to quit Academics and move to business. As I always loved Nestle chocolate, I went to the Nestle office one day, rang without invitation from Nestle at the door of marketing department and asked to be hired in marketing, which I considered strategic and as well executional and definitely my destiny. And what a surprise. I was invited on the spot to participate in a marketing meeting with the agency on the 8th floor and lead the meeting. I was shocked by this opportunity, but even more when I was offered the job after the meeting.
Today it looks to me very unusual and risky move, but I have learned that life is always full of opportunities if we believe in them!
What have you triumphed over?
During the last 25 business years, I’ve reached a lot successes and also some failures. I’m proud of a few business turnarounds in 1996, 2004, 2013. I enjoyed the journey of consolidation of a few acquisitions, developing national confectionary brands, and being rewarded as the Brand of the Year in Russia at the end of 90’s.
And overall I consider the best achievements the 3 consecutive years of Award of Excellence given to the country I led, for the best market performance. It was a combination of very good execution of good strategy by a highly engaged and motivated team, and with great purpose! People are always the key part of any success, each and everybody is building together the success of the team, success of the company, using his or her unique talent!