Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Corporate Powerhouse - Dianne Thompson

Published:Sunday | July 16, 2017 | 7:00 AMKimberley Goodall
Diane Thompson
Dianne Thompson is all smiles next to one of Nestlés power brand.
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Life has a way of showing you who's boss, and Dianne Thompson surely got a reality check when she joined NestlÈ Jamaica with plans of spending about five years in the corporate world.

In Thompson's mind, she was not a corporate person, but felt the experience was necessary to build her overall development and make for a rounded professional. Having worked in education, a regulatory organisation and a consulting company, Thompson was ready to roll with the suit and ties. Well, that was 20 years ago.

 

PURPOSE IN UNEXPECTED PLACES

 

Being a creative and artsy person at heart, Thompson never saw herself staying in the corporate community, but to her surprise, Nestle became a great experience that fuelled challenges and constant change - something Thompson found very rewarding. It was the perfect fit for the humorous, young woman from Mandeville, Manchester.

Starting her journey as the consumer services manager, Thompson had the good fortune to help build her department from the ground up. She was a science geek who held a bachelor's degree in natural science, which made her readily able to understand and communicate the science behind the products they offered.

Happily embracing the world of food, Thompson began to learn about Nestle's consumers and delved deeply into nutrition and how it affected their quality of life. In her mission to become an even greater asset, Thompson pursued a masters in communication for social and behaviour change, that seemed to be tailor-made for her life at Nestle.

In 2005, Thompson took on another interesting journey as she moved to the nutrition business unit, where she focused more on activities with health-care professionals rather than the end users of their products

By 2010, Thompson was a force to be reckoned with. She became the area manager of nutrition, which gave her responsibility for the Cuba and Haiti operations.

"I truly enjoyed the travel that came along with my different roles. Cuba and Haiti were two very different markets, and nothing like I had imagined them to be. Nevertheless, the people in both islands were very warm and I learnt a lot from them and the experience," Thompson told Outlook.

In 2013, when she assumed her current role as business manager for infant nutrition with responsibility for the English Caribbean, Thompson had to now manage a team with persons based in different markets. This brought several challenges, but Thompson admits that she enjoys the thrill of the chase and the adrenaline rush that comes from the many issues that she needs to solve on a daily basis.

NestlÈ has been more than work for Thompson, as it has embraced the things she loves the most. It has created an environment of opportunities, changes, exposure to different people, culture and food.

 

FINDING BALANCE

 

One of the hardest things about being in charge of a region with so much responsibility, is finding the balance between work, family and play. Though this has been a challenge for the powerhouse that is Thompson, she shares that she makes an extra effort to satisfy everyone in her life while still taking on her busy work schedule.

Outside of work, Thompson enjoys treasured moments with her family as well as taking road trips, watching plays, decorating, gardening, reading and a little writing. She is also very involved in her church, as her faith keeps her grounded.

Thompson advises young professionals to apply themselves and be willing and open to learning. "Sometimes we make constraints for ourselves, we put boundaries that aren't necessarily there. Work with your strengths and take advantages of opportunities. You've got to be flexible, open to criticism, and learn to work with a variety of personalities," she said.

Thompson continues to keep her feet on the ground, working with what she has been given, making the best of it and remaining humble. She strives to be the best of herself.

kimberley.goodall@gleanerjm.com