Geraldine O’Grady heads up Coffee Made Happy at Mondelez. The ‘dream’ is an amazing vision that commits her and her team to encouraging farmers to be successful entrepreneurs and attracting new generations to small-scale farming. The ‘reality’ is getting it done. All over the world. All by 2020.

We’ve been helping Geraldine, so Laurie asked her about working with Within.

L: What does success look like for Coffee Made Happy this year?

G: Well it feels like we’re into phase two. Phase one was getting going, learning fast and identifying ways to tell meaningful stories to consumers who love our coffee brands. Phase two is about really focusing that learning, scaling up the things that work, and building a team to deliver.

I’ll be happy if we keep the momentum up, continue to build some great collaborations with our partners, and get our team really performing.

L: Hows Within helping you get there?

G: Jeff’s been working with me on two important aspects of the strategy: facilitating our steering team of external advisors and experts and helping me organize the Coffee Made Happy team for success.

This is a massive learning curve for all of us, and Jeff’s helping make sure we’re setting ourselves up right in terms of accountability and responsibility to be able to deliver this program effectively.

L: How would you sum up Withins contribution in a word?

G: Clarity.

L: Ok, now use some more words..

G: Well mostly it’s about focus and articulation. The breakthrough for us as Mondelez in Coffee Made Happy was finding the most meaningful thing we could focus on as a coffee business that wanted to really have an impact on coffee sustainability. And then we created a powerful story around that.

So we’re clear on the overall purpose. But like all great plans, things change when you put them into action. And when your plan is about supporting smallholder farmers in in Honduras, Indonesia, Vietnam, it can get complicated quickly.

Jeff’s helped us keep that focus as we hit the inevitable bumps in the road, or when we’re tempted to try to solve every problem out there. He’s helping us make sure we keep focusing on the key elements and helping me articulate the plan clearly so I can lead the team forward.

L: How would you describe the working relationship?

G: Jeff’s become like an extension to the Coffee Made Happy team, but with a useful external perspective.

He’s not wrapped up in it like we are, and he doesn’t bring his own agenda to the table. He coaches the team and asks the probing questions we need to help us focus. When you leave the meeting, or put down the phone, you’ve always had discussions that drive you forward. I wanted to work with you guys because I knew you’d be able to help.

L: Youre now leading Coffee Made Happy (congratulations!). What has this journey meant for you personally?

This feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead this kind of transformative sustainability program for a big Global organization like ours. You don’t get this kind of experience often in your career. I’m learning every day. To be honest, it’s often felt a bit like a building site, but it’s getting better. The windows and the doors are in!

I think Coffee Made Happy is a total game changer, which makes it a constant challenge. But I’m excited to be growing with it.

Written by Within People on Apr 28, 2014