Vice President and GM
NEW board member Michelle Gloeckler is Vice President, The Hershey Experience, for The Hershey Company. She is responsible for areas of The Hershey Company that connect directly with consumers, including Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey’s Times Square and Hershey’s Chicago retail attractions. She is also responsible for Hershey’s Licensed Merchandise and Hersheygifts.com, a consumer-direct web and catalog personalized gifts business.
Prior to her current position, Gloeckler was Vice President, Global Value Customers, at The Hershey Company, responsible for Global Costco, the Global Dollar Channel and Hershey’s internal Global Sales Council. She also spent three years as Hershey's Vice President, Customer Marketing, responsible for in-store merchandising, retail channel marketing and category development, as well as vend, fundraising, concession, trade promotions and sales communication. Gloeckler began her career with Hershey in 1988 as a sales representative in the Detroit area and has held positions in sales management, sales training and category management throughout the country.
Gloeckler is an advocate for management diversity and is the executive sponsor of The Hershey Company Women’s Council. She is a member of the United Way Capital Region Board of Directors. She attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a B.A. in Communications and Psychology, and resides in the Hershey area with her husband, Scott, and their two sons.
Q. Tell us about the Women Leading Women event October 6 in Hershey. What are the attendees going to be discussing?
A. Women Leading Women 2006 is the first-ever collaborative effort between four leading Hershey-area organizations: The Hershey Company, The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, The Milton Hershey School, and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. Women Leading Women is a one-day conference featuring industry-leading speakers from the business, education and media communities addressing a variety of powerful topics, including: Success Strategies: Advancement, Leadership and Navigating Work-Life; Branding: Powerful Personal Positioning; Skill Building for Cross-Cultural Communication; Leadership Edge for Women; and Balancing Act: Work, Family and You.
In addition, the 425 attendees will have the opportunity to network with leaders in other companies and hear from a diverse panel of women executives, including Carol Evans, CEO of Working Mother Media; Harriet Edelman, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Avon Products, Inc.; and Pat Harris, Chief Diversity Officer of McDonald's Corporation. Many area partners will be onsite for a vendor exhibition to share valuable information on health, management, life balance and other important issues.
Q. You're executive sponsor of The Hershey Company's Women's Council. How does the Council work -- and what has sponsoring the group been like?
A. Hershey’s Women’s Council is an inclusive organization dedicated to promoting opportunities for women in the workplace, in areas such as education, work-life flexibility, mentoring and career advancement. Participation by both women and men fosters an open forum to share different viewpoints on these issues. All employees are encouraged to join the Council. The Women’s Council mission is to promote and facilitate positive change around women’s issues through enhanced networking and development opportunities, work-life integration programs and education for all employees. The Women’s Council will celebrate its first anniversary this December. I am incredibly proud of what this group has accomplished. It is inspiring to watch the group set goals and work as a team to make things happen.
Q. What are some of the accomplishments of the Council?
A. The Hershey Women’s Council has been very active and engaged since its inception. The Council has launched a robust internal website, which is home to an events calendar and other educational information such as Work-Life Integration, Networking and Mentoring resources. The Council also presents regular informational seminars for employees on a wide range of topics, many of which feature company leaders sharing their career experiences. In addition, the Women’s Council has established Mother’s Lounges in our Hershey facilities, initiated an online mentoring program, developed the Women Leading Women conference, established an informal book discussion and exchange, and hosted a series of events with inspirational speakers and networking opportunities.
Q. What recommendations to you have for other companies that want to establish or energize women's councils?
A. I think the most important factor is to prioritize what you want to accomplish. Since the Women’s Council is a work-related and employee-member organization, it is important that the objectives advance the organization, build and improve culture, and support doing business in a dynamic marketplace. Managers and company leaders should encourage employee involvement, provided they are advancing the business by performing effectively. At Hershey, we conducted focus groups with women across the company to determine what Hershey was doing to support women and identify areas of opportunity for improvement. The feedback from the participants was grouped into three major categories: Family-Friendly Work Environment, Work-Life Integration, and Development and Networking. So when we launched the Women’s Council, we formed these core sub-teams to allow employees the opportunity to participate in subgroups tailored to their personal interests. These core sub-teams now work to identify and advance how employees and the company can work together to influence action in these areas.
Q. Congratulations on being elected to the board of directors of the Network of Executive Women. What are your priorities as part of the Network's new leadership team?
A. Thank you. I am so pleased to serve on the board of NEW. I will serve on the sponsor development and activation committee and will work to help companies better understand and utilize the benefits and resources that are offered by NEW. I will also work to achieve the key objectives of NEW -- to help attract, retain and develop women in the retail and consumer packaged goods industries. NEW is a wonderful resource for women to connect, advance their skills, network, share business challenges and successes and benefit from the experiences of other women. One of my priorities is to help NEW in its goal to be a resource for women to deal with the challenges they face every day in the workplace.
Q. Does gender diversity in management enable a company to sell better to women? What are some examples of that process at work?
A. One of the key objectives of Hershey’s Women’s Council is to provide a forum for women to access company networks and mentoring programs that will support their development. I believe that this is a critical step in improving gender diversity in management. The Hershey Company values diversity in management and recognizes that it brings more robust thinking and bigger ideas. Additionally, understanding consumer behavior and trends is critical to any marketing and sales effort. Gender diversity in management can certainly offer perspective, but major initiatives with large investments require structured research. During 2007, The Hershey Company Women’s Council will be involved in preliminary levels of consumer research, as will our other affinity groups.
Q. As Vice President of The Hershey Experience, you have a diverse portfolio of consumer outreach programs -- direct sales, retail experiences and licensing. What have you learned working so closely with consumers? What do they want?
A. The Hershey Experience is all about fun, entertainment and connecting with people. I am fortunate enough to be responsible for areas of The Hershey Company that directly touch consumers, such as the Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey’s Times Square and Hershey’s Chicago retail attractions, as well as the Hershey Internet and catalog business. Hershey’s Chocolate World hosts three million visitors annually. My role allows me the opportunity every day to personally see and interact with families enjoying Hershey and our products. Our brands at Hershey are synonymous with happiness, quality and fun, and it’s so exciting to see people gravitate toward those ideals. At Chocolate World, fun and sweetness meet adventure and excitement with a totally interactive chocolate experience for everyone. Visitors can learn about the chocolate-making process on the Great American Chocolate Tour and see the Hershey’s characters come to life on the big screen in our Really Big 3D Show. Visitors can even help operate a Hershey’s Kisses packaging line at our Hershey’s Factory Works Experience. Our visitors have very high expectations. They want family fun, chocolate education, chocolate tasting, and with a town named Hershey, they expect to see and smell chocolate! We also offer consumers a variety of marketplace shops and restaurants at Chocolate World -- a shopper’s paradise for anything and everything Hershey. At our catalog business, Hershey’s Gifts, consumers can obtain exclusive unique and personalized gifts for any occasion.
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