5 Questions with Amy Hahn
Friday, July 6, 2012
General Manager, The Global Hershey Experience and Licensing
The Hershey Company
"Be willing to put yourself out there and take a risk.”
As vice president and general manager of the global Hershey experience and licensing for The Hershey Company, Amy Hahn is responsible for leading and growing the retail and licensing businesses. She serves as general manager of Hershey’s interactive retail attractions in five countries, including Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa., and sites in Times Square, Chicago, Shanghai and Singapore. She also is responsible for multiple e-commerce stores and licensing of Hershey’s iconic brands around the globe. While at Hershey, Hahn has held a wide range of leadership positions across the business, including brand marketing, where she built the company’s iconic brands, such as Hershey's, Almond Joy and York Peppermint Patties.
How does supporting the career goals of women and other underrepresented groups most benefit a company?
It’s simply good business. We’ve all heard the adage "If you don’t take care of your customer, someone else will.” The same can be applied to talent. In today’s fast-paced, changing world, the only real competitive advantage many companies have is their people. Supporting career goals of employees, including women, leads to a diverse and more sustainable talent base and a stronger business model. A diverse team, in gender and work and life experience, can deliver higher performance by, for example, finding solutions to opportunities that a less diverse competitor would never be able to craft. A diverse organization challenges every one of us to step outside our comfort zone and consider different ways of viewing the world, naturally forming a community that learns and grows together. This built-in capability is priceless in a world that is continually reinventing itself. The best talent, that is the women and men you really need to advance and evolve your business, will appreciate this and want to be a part of it. And if they aren’t an employee, chances are they’re a customer or investor!
What are some of the opportunities Hershey provides women to further their careers?
Hershey has many resources and programs to develop women leaders. We have invested in a General Manager Excellence program designed to provide greater awareness and development for leadership at Hershey. We are continuing to build our internal networking, mentoring and education via the Women’s Business Resource Group. We are building relationships within our industry -- cpg and retail -- and are better leveraging business networking, leadership development, regional support and education via the platinum sponsorship of Network of Executive Women.
How is the company leveraging the NEW Leadership Academy webinars to develop leaders?
We have moved beyond only NEW members having access, to allowing virtually anyone in the organization to learn from the webinars. Employees can watch at their desktop via the magic of technology or they can join in one of nearly a dozen group viewing sessions in conference rooms across our locations. Both men and women attend. The group events also created a regular internal networking experience, as well as a leadership opportunity for those who coordinate the sessions. This could not have been done without the drive of Hershey’s very engaged Women’s Business Resource Group, our IS team and many women passionate about their own development.
What about the Network do you find valuable?
While NEW is an organization with women in its title and a mission to attract, retain and advance women, it highlights that gender diversity is not a women’s issue, but a business opportunity for the industry. NEW brings together business leaders -- men and women -- to create meaningful dialogue for understanding and change. Both men and women carry the responsibility to identify the barriers to change in their organization and to take steps to make change happen under a shared umbrella of business success.
What advice do you have for women just entering the industry who are looking to build their careers?
Be willing to put yourself out there and take a risk; be willing to take on diverse assignments and even "risky” moves. I have developed leadership skills and a deeper knowledge of nearly every corner of Hershey’s business model. My work experiences cross several functions and leadership of projects in many business areas, all of which have prepared me for a current role with global span of control, managing several business models and a diverse talent force.