This month’s Member Spotlight

Val Quinn

June 2017

Global customer director, The Coca-Cola Company

LEAD member Ms. Val Quinn, Global customer director, The Coca-Cola Company offers her tips for career success.

Val Quinn joined Coca-Cola Ireland in 2004 and continues to work there during which time she has held various roles. Since Oct 2014, Quinn has partnered with Shell International to drive the Non- alcoholic beverages category as well as work together on a broad range of holistic initiatives such as Hydration, Digital campaigns as well as helping to shape the Lifestyle choices global strategy with Shell. Given the strong partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and Shell, Shell awarded Coca-Cola with the Global Category Captain Award for Lifestyle Choices.

Why are you passionate about the LEAD mission?

I believe that we each have a personal responsibility to help develop and unlock the full potential of ALL of our associates. Diversity is essential to drive innovative thinking and innovation and thus long term, sustainable growth and performance. Numerous studies have concluded that when a company employs women in leadership positions it can expect an increase in profitability, as well as an improvement in the corporation’s social performance and social responsibility. I am passionate about LEAD’s mission as it truly focuses on attracting, retaining and advancing women through education, leadership and business development, and I would like to contribute with my experience to the achievement of their goal.

What has been your biggest lesson in business?

Lots of communication … treat people with respect and enjoy what you do …

If you could go back in time, and give your 20-year old self a piece of advice, what would that be?

I would give myself 13 tips for career success:How important is diversity within your organization?

  1. Work Hard; there’s no replacement to hard work but take breaks …work life balance is essential to stay fresh
  2. Always say thank you … manners go a very long way … compliment and acknowledge a job well done
  3. Network… but be genuine in your interactions on-going and treat people with respect
  4. Have integrity and be honest – learn from your mistakes and take responsibility for them but then move on … don’t dwell on them
  5. Be Interested; Ask lots of questions – seek advice from those more experienced than you – be humble … every day is a “school day” – there is always something to be learned
  6. Communicate on a regular basis, no matter your level in the organization
  7. Take responsibility and have ownership for certain projects – this allows you to put your stamp on projects and shows true ownership – becomes like your own personal legacy
  8. Have a good mentor/mentors; may be more than one person
    – formally agree what shape you would like that mentor relationship to take and agree expectations on both sides which you can review as required.
    – Your mentors may change throughout your career and your life depending on your needs.
    – The trusting relationship that you have with your mentor means that they can be a great soundboard and offer you honest, impartial advice as well as possible suggestions and ideas that you may not have thought of
    – usually it is a 2 way relationship i.e. they may also look to you for support and advice
  9. Always support your boss and make he or she look good – no surprises – be a safe pair of hands i.e. be reliable
  10. Stay healthy – try to get sufficient sleep, do some exercise, eat a balanced diet, etc.
  11. Every year set both business and personal goals … make sure to write them down (these can be 5 year and one year) … break down each goal into tasks and set timings around each for each to be completed – review these often at least once per quarter … at the end of the year you will be happy with what you have achieved and can make your list for the following year
  12. Create a “Personal Legacy” – this becomes ever more important the older we get – it will link with what is really important to you, your personal values and how you truly want to leave a mark in the world and make a difference. It also helps when faced with challenging choices to be able to refer back to your legacy statement to help you decide which choice to make.
  13. Have fun on the journey