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Jason, Channel Manager, Nestlé UK

I joined Nestlé in July 1997 as a Territory Manager after leaving University, having completed an Honours Degree in Business Studies with French language. My decision to work for Nestlé was driven by the market-leading brands, the global scale of the business and the extensive career development opportunities it offered.

My first role as Territory Manager was a great induction into the world of FMCG and provided a very solid foundation in merchandising, selling and effectively managing customer relationships.

After a successful year in Field Sales, as part of my Personal Development Plan I was given the opportunity to relocate to Head Office in York for a new role as Customer Category Manager. My field experience proved to be invaluable in this role and allowed me to really make a difference to the business by providing recommendations and practical solutions to issues regularly faced by our customers.

This role also allowed me to develop my presentation and influencing skills as I was involved in delivering a number of strategic presentations to both internal colleagues and external customers, which allowed me to gain very diverse customer-facing experience early in my career.

My career plan then identified an opportunity to gain National Account exposure, and I moved into an Account Executive role where I gained valuable experience and strong grounding in managing National Accounts. Building on this experience, I then moved rapidly through a number of successive roles across a diverse customer base in the Wholesale, Convenience and Multiple Retail Channels, dealing with retailers such as Tesco and Asda.

The diversity of these accounts gave me a very broad perspective on the Nestlé business and the challenges faced in different trade channels, as well as a fantastic level of experience in Customer Management. In addition, these National Account roles helped me to develop my leadership and coaching skills by providing valuable line management experience of a National Account team early in my career.

As a result of regular one-to-one personal development reviews with my mentor, line managers and Human Resource partners, I have now had the opportunity to move into a more senior leadership role, running a team of twelve people operating across a range of Nestlé product categories including Confectionery, Coffee, Food & Catering - a role which will ensure I continue to broaden my experience and remain on a continual learning and development curve.

At a total business level, the Global nature of the Nestlé business presents unparalleled development opportunities for Nestlé people. In my career to date, I have had the opportunity to attend two International Training Seminars at Nestlé Headquarters in Switzerland where I was able to work with some of my 280,000 Nestlé colleagues from across the world to gain an insight into the real diversity of our brands, markets and people.

Since beginning my career with Nestlé I have been able to build extensive experience of our products, customers and consumers whilst benefiting from extensive training in all elements of Commercial Management, including Selling and Negotiation, Category Management, Finance, Supply Chain and Leadership Coaching and Development.

When I first left university and joined Nestlé I could never have imagined having responsibility for a turnover of over £100m less than ten years later, and I am proud to work for a company which has provided such a focus on personal development. I am also confident that anyone joining Nestlé today will have even greater opportunities to be extremely satisfied and successful in their career.

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