I have over 10 years of experience in the beverage industry and have spent the past five years with Heineken.
As vice president of innovation and activation, I manage a team of nine that owns all launches outside of our core beer portfolio — products we’ve launched include AriZona SunRise Hard Seltzer, Canijilla, and Merchant’s Hard Tea and Lemonade.
I also lead our marketing activation team, which includes managing our merchandising team and program-management office.
Before this, I worked at PepsiCo, where I held a variety of marketing roles across the Quaker and beverage business units in the European and North American markets.
Here’s a look at my daily routine.
7 to 9 a.m.: My husband and I get our kids ready for the day
With two kids under the age of three, my mornings can feel like a madhouse. My husband now goes into the office a few days a week, so those days are the craziest, but we still try to have family breakfast as much as we can.
My mornings typically start with getting my one-year-old son and three-year-old daughter dressed and ready for daycare and making sure they’re dropped off with everything they need so I can be back at the "office," a.k.a., my home desk, by 9.
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.: After sifting through email, I dive into virtual meetings
Strategy meetings with my three innovation team leads are crucial to ensure we’re sticking to our timeline for 2022. We discuss our beverage pipeline and key in on regional focus areas.
At 10:30, I hop on another virtual meeting with Arjun Dhingra, head of strategic partnerships at AriZona Beverage Company, to discuss our recent influencer campaign — #ForTheReal, which features collaborations with seven influencers.
11:30 a.m.: I take a walk outside around my neighborhood
I recently came back from maternity leave, where I was constantly walking outside, so I try to get out for a walk whenever I can. I was on maternity leave for 16 weeks from mid-October through mid-February.
For inspiration, I also sometimes browse the grocery store for new trends and launches from other brands beyond beer. For example, I look at everything from beverages with multiserve aluminum packaging to products that have begun to use medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.
12 p.m.: I commute to the office and have lunch with my boss
Sometimes in the afternoons I travel to our headquarters in White Plains, New York.
I meet Chief Marketing Officer Jonnie Cahill for lunch to discuss a new marketing training I’m leading. We talk about the trainings we’re proposing for the rest of the year, including an exciting one coming from our global office in the Netherlands about unlocking creativity.
2 to 5 p.m.: I attend a team work session on potential beverage launches for next year
Abiding by COVID-19 protocols and regulations, a small group from different business units — including those from the innovation team, supply chain, legal, and consumer insights — gather in person to discuss the exciting new categories slated for next year.
Our management team has already agreed with our recommendation for five new brands that we’re looking to develop, so this meeting was all about turning those ideas into "briefs" for the operations team to develop into real products.
Meetings like this are important to have in person and cross-functionally to ensure the richness of the discussion and sample what’s currently out there (always responsibly, of course).
Wearing masks and social distancing isn’t how I imagined I’d see my coworkers, but it’s great to collaborate in the same room again. I particularly can’t wait for the days where I can grab one of our beverages with my colleagues at the bar in our office.
5:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Family time and unwinding begins again
I’m lucky that I have a short 15- to 20-minute commute to the office, so it’s easy to pick up my kids from daycare, and the madness starts again!
These hours are all about getting dinner ready, baths for my kids, bottles for my son, and story time. I typically make dinner with my husband after the kids are asleep since we both find cooking as a way to unwind.
We also like to sample some competitive products with dinner that I didn’t get to try during the day.
One of the perks that I have working at Heineken is a monthly "beer allowance" that allows me to share our products with others to enjoy. So, some evenings, I drop off new beverage innovations for my neighbors to try because the team is always looking for feedback.
On most nights, though, my husband and I watch some TV. Luckily, my kids sleep through the night, but I’m not taking any chances just in case, so we typically head to bed early.
Robin Madell August 10, 2021 at 09:30PM