By Courtney Wirths
“It’s not about being a woman,” the president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company told business students at a webinar on Thursday, Oct. 11. “It’s about being passionate, hardworking and delivering results.”
Denise Morrison, the first female president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company since its start 140 years ago, has been speaking around the country since Fortune Magazine named her the 21st most powerful woman in business, explained Patty Karlowitsch the operations manager for the College’s business department.
St. John’s University’s Academy of Food Marketing in Philadelphia hosted the seminar along with Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honors society. The College was able to listen to the presentation because of the school’s active role in the organization, Karlowitsch said.
“It is a unique opportunity to hear from someone so influential,” said Mark Wohlgemuth, junior accounting major. “She is breaking boundaries — becoming the first woman CEO of Campbell’s.”
The president and CEO spoke about the changes in the food market, and how to reach out to new trends in rising generations.
“We tore the company apart and emerged with a strategic plan,” Morrison said. Her first goal coming into Campbell’s was to have “meaningful and disruptive innovation.”
The innovation would come from listening and dreaming with the consumer, the CEO explained.
“We work for the consumer,” she said. “We need to wow them, involve them and nourish them.”
One of the largest parts of Campbell’s new plan is health and wellness. There is a rising demand for fresh food, Morrison explained. She called this trend a fresh revolution.
In addition to health foods, the most valuable market for Campbell’s Soup Company is the energy management trend, Morrison said. Campbell’s recently created V8 energy shots.
“I like how the new products they design relate to changes in society,” said Troy Skibitsky, freshman finance major.
“We just don’t want to miss the shift,” the CEO stressed, referring to the importance of adaptation and evolution in business. Food shopping is going digital now, Morrison explained.
“This will have earth-shattering effects on food,” she said. “It’s a tidal wave we have to prepare for.”
Campbell’s wants to make changes that will appeal to a younger generation. She called this group “the millennials.”
“We are a great company today and we want to be a great company tomorrow,” Morrison said.
Campbell’s sent groups out across the country to live and be with this younger generation to find out what they are looking for when buying food products. It’s from this study, said Morrison, that Campbell’s developed products such as Go-Soup that you can cook in a pouch or Skillet Sauces.
“They are easy to prepare and easy to clean up. They even make me seem like a great cook,” Morrison joked.
Morrison gave advice to the students listening and looking to enter the business world one day.
The CEO said that it was her parents that prepared her most for her future.
Morrison shared a quote her father told her as a child, saying, “The world is going to be wide open to women and I want you to be prepared for it.”
A person has to want to lead, have the highest integrity, a passion for winning and making a difference, she said. At Campbell’s, it’s OK for employees to make mistakes as long as they learn from it.
“She is really informative, has a lot of knowledge not only in the food industry but with connecting with consumers,” said Ingrid Nunn, freshman economics major.
Even though we are a global company, the entrepreneurial spirit works here, the president and CEO explained.
“You are going to be working in a world where boundaries are going away,” Morrison said. “You need innovation and passion.”