Caroline Cater

European Director of Portfolio & Innovation, Coca-Cola European Partners

Caroline joined Coca-Cola European partners (the Bottler side of the Coca-Cola system) in 2010 as a Regional Director in Sales and moved to head up Operational Marketing in GB in 2013. In January 2017 she moved into the European function and heads up Portfolio & Innovation. She started her career at Cadbury Trebor Bassett where she worked across all of the Commercial areas in Sales and Marketing. She then moved to Britvic soft drinks where she covered Sales and Marketing functions as well as delivering change leadership projects. She has over 30 years of FMCG experience across three respected companies and she has learnt a
lot about resilience, leading and responding to change and how to build collaborative partnerships and high performing teams.

As well as her Marketing role, in 2013 Caroline launched the GB Women’s network and she is passionate about enabling women to achieve their full potential. From the inception, the Women’s network at Coca-Cola European Partners GB has gone from strength to strength.
The organisation is passionate about developing careers for all, and part of this is driving towards an ambition of 40% of leadership roles to be filled by women by 2025, and by doing this in an inclusive way where the environment is right for women to thrive and therefore the results become inevitable.
At the start of the network, Caroline and her small group of fellow pioneers for change, identified a mission and three key guiding principles for their network events. Overall the mission is to help women to develop their careers to the highest level possible, (aligned to the corporate goal), these events have been open to women and men at all levels, although the content is targeted at middle managers aspiring to achieve senior management in the future.

This enables the pipeline of talent to build through the business and helps to create a more engaged workforce.

The three guiding principles for the events are:
– To have a dynamic agenda driven by the women in the business based on their needs
– To create a two way opportunity for dialogue between the individuals and the organisation
– To provide a practical developmental experience at each event
Across the four years since the network began the results have been outstanding.

Over 12 internal events have been provided on inspiring and engaging topics, with success measures averaging 97% across the events with a 100% recommendation for others to attend (from men and women). Over 400 different women in the organisation have attended an event and almost all apply for future places as a result.
The first external Network event “Making Choices” was run at the Royal Institute of Architects in May 2016 with over 230 attends from across the industry to hear the guest speaker, Jo Malone and to hear the progress and learnings from CCEP.

In 2016 a revolutionary piece of research was conducted across the female leadership at CCEP which is a key building block in the work on culture which is currently being developed. The GB Women’s network and the practical way it has been developed and driven from within the existing leadership team is a testament to the small group of pioneers led by Caroline who had the vision of what they wanted to see change within the organisation. It is a great example of strategy into action.

 

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