This month’s Member Spotlight

Caroline Basyn

November 2017

Senior Vice President, Mondelēz Business Services,
Shared Services & Chair of the LEAD Switzerland Chapter

Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?
Throughout my career I have built extensive experience in global business services and IT, working over 20 years at Procter & Gamble (P&G) and 3 years at Bacardi International serving as the Chief Information Officer and Diversity Leader. In October 2014, I joined Mondelēz International (“MDLZ”) as Senior Vice President, Mondelēz International Business Services (“MBS”). Since then, I’ve built the foundation of a new global business service organization from scratch—core to the company’s transformational journey. Throughout my career I have championed several IT and women’s leadership forums, including developing an IT Executive Development Program and participating in dozens of Women in Leadership programs in and outside of the companies I have worked in.

Why are you passionate about the mission of the LEAD Network?
When I began my career in 1997, I realized there was a glass ceiling in terms of progression for women. I thought I needed to do something to unblock these barriers and to help women achieve what they wanted to achieve. I have two daughters and a lot of friends with daughters, and one of my missions is to help younger women progress in their careers. The LEAD program – their focus on recruitment, development and retention of woman in CPGs – it is a perfect organization to help further my mission of helping women leaders, especially grow within the CPG industry I grew up in.

What would you say is one of the most adventurous or riskiest moves you’ve made professionally?
Two experiences stand out. My husband received an incredible job opportunity in another country when my career was progressing and we decided as a family to move. I took a position with a decrease in responsibilities. The second experience was leaving P&G after 26 years to join Bacardi. Both situations placed me out of my comfort zone. However, both opportunities were assignments that required me to start-up business units from scratch and as a result, have been extremely beneficial learning experiences that I later applied to larger and more senior roles.

What have you triumphed over?
I have worked for international companies my entire career and I have had to learn how to adapt my style. I have also been attracted to jobs that required starting from scratch – new strategy, new environment, new organization, and new people – and strategically challenge the status quo. I love to get into jobs that look like extremely difficult to-do or to achieve, this gives me an extra level of energy, drive and motivation. Those make me learn at the speed of light, build the very best and most diverse teams around me, which have led to success.

Is there one person you could attribute a big piece of your success to?
My husband. He was in sales and grew very fast in his career, where as I took more baby steps. But as my career grew and the jobs became bigger, he remained supportive and pushed me. His love for me and our family never wavered. In fact, he has pushed me to take the most difficult decisions in my career (relocating my family to Cincinnati, leaving P&G to go to Bacardi, Bacardi to MDLZ, etc.). In fact, for my most important career decisions, my husband has taken the decision. He is an incredibly loving husband, father and is devoted to his family and his jobs, just like I am.

What would you say would be one of your biggest professional failures?
I get this question a lot. My communication style has gotten in the way of progression in my career from time to time. Also my leadership style has extremes, like tough but fair, play hard work hard, high demand high reward and not everyone can adapt to this style. So for me, it’s been a journey to learn how to adapt my style.

If you could back in time, and give your 20-year old self a piece of advice, what would that be?
Life has gone too fast, however my husband and I both agree, we would do exactly the same thing we have done. I would tell my 20-year old self to enjoy the journey, as much as I did. I love my life and would not trade it for anything in the world, and I have a strong balance between my private and business life.