Friday, September 27, 2019

Schwan's Women Leading Forward

“Schwan’s Women Leading Forward” is a mini series of stories about some of the leaders who help make Schwan's Company and its subsidiaries a great place to work. 

Kwiat shares insights on how authentic leadership has helped her develop professionally 

Sept. 26, 2019 — To make a difference each day, Schwan's Vice President of Business Integration Chris Kwiat says she always strives to be an authentic leader at work.

“I have learned so much personally and professionally these six years. Personally, I have learned that leading as my authentic self is much more efficient and therefore much more impactful,” Chris said. “I have also learned how to not take feedback personally, which has allowed me to become a confident, straight-forward and courageous leader.”

Chris joined Schwan’s Company in 2013 as a leader on product development. She has served in her current role as vice president of business integration since 2017. In her current role, Chris and her team lead the corporate idea-to-commercialization process and project portfolio management process.

In a recent interview, Chris shared what she likes most about Schwan’s and what she is passionate about.

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: I am passionate about providing our leaders with information that enables fact-based decision making. I am passionate about removing barriers to helping the company reach its objectives. And, I have always been passionate about learning!

Q: What is a typical day like in your role?

A: Prior to heading into the office, a typical day for me starts with reading either industry news or content about my professional interests. Once I arrive to the office, I typically head straight to business or functional meetings and strive to input at least one meaningful point of view or decision to each meeting I attend. The back half of the day is typically when I do the bulk of my work unless I have meetings. In the afternoon, I usually check in on my staff and others. My day ends when my work is complete. I don’t like to take work home, so I will stay until I complete what I wanted for that day.

Q: What career advice would you give to your younger self?

A: Don’t worry about the next promotion but on being great in the job you are in. When you are no longer learning new things, start looking for a new career opportunity that will stretch you. Trust yourself, don’t take things personally and strive to be the best version of you.

Q: What do our company vision and values mean to you? How do you demonstrate them in your day-to-day work?

A: Our company vision and values for me really boil down to engaging in and leading others in meaningful work using a leadership style that is authentically me. I try to create and engage in meaningful work as much as I can. I try to be my authentic self and encourage others around me to do so as well. This means trying to appreciate people for who they are and what they bring to the table. When I get it wrong, I admit it and try again.

Q: What does working as “one Schwan’s team” mean to you?

A: Working to the best solutions on behalf of the company and putting your personal needs and desires aside to meet the goals of the company. Sometimes you are not the best person to bring an idea or project to life. Being a steward of the company’s time, money and people is critical to “one” team.

Q: How would you describe the culture at Schwan’s?

A: Transparent, honest and a mindset that we are all owners.

Q: What do you like best about the culture?

A: I love that our culture encourages you to bring the best version of yourself to work — in whatever that means for you. Our culture celebrates inclusion of many different work styles and leadership approaches.

Q: What is something about you that mot people at Schwan’s do not know?

A: I love theater, music and the arts and have attended more than 30 theater productions.

Q: What is your favorite food product from Schwan’s Company?

A: Edwards® Hershey’s® Chocolate Crème Pie.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in our company’s future?

A: I am most looking forward to getting to work with and learn from our CJ CheilJedang colleagues and see what we can create together to make our company great.

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