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2024 Star Women in Convenience winner: Simone La Ronde

Simone Laronde SWIC2024

Shopper marketing manager     

PepsiCo Beverages Canada



How did you get into this business?

I've always had a strong connection to the industry, starting with a part-time job in high school and continuing this journey in grocery retail while I was working my way through university. This experience ignited my curiosity about consumer behavior and the factors influencing purchase decisions. I learned firsthand the pivotal role of brand value, quality, and innovation in driving consumer choices. Currently, I'm fortunate to be part of a team focused on launching new beverage innovation and programs. It feels like a full circle moment for me—transitioning from observing consumer trends in retail to actively shaping and driving brand strategies in-store.

What do you like most about your job?

The incredible opportunity to work with some of the most iconic brands in the industry, particularly those cherished by Canadians. Over my 21 years with PepsiCo, I've been fortunate to contribute to the growth and innovation of these beloved brands, fostering strong relationships with customers and cross-functional teams along the way. The ability to see these brands evolve and thrive in the market while engaging with passionate colleagues and customers is truly rewarding.

What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of during the last 12-18 months?

One standout accomplishment from my portfolio is the Better Together Program which received the prestigious PepsiCo Global DXcellence award in March 2024. These initiatives effectively integrate the strengths of two iconic brands Pepsi and Lay’s, along with the sport properties we have access to, tapping into the shared passion for sports among consumers. The program’s success was truly highlighted when a consumer, deeply moved by our campaign, expressed heartfelt gratitude upon winning a unique experience, illustrating how our collaborative efforts brought genuine joy to shoppers. I'm incredibly proud to have been part of initiatives that not only drive business growth but also forge lasting connections with our consumers.

What was the biggest challenge of your career?

The biggest challenge of my career undoubtedly came when I decided to transition from a decade-long finance career, following in the footsteps of my father, to embracing the world of marketing and innovation at PepsiCo. This transition required me to pivot from number crunching to product development and innovation—a significant departure from my comfort zone. Since then, I have never looked back! This experience not only broadened my skill set but also reaffirmed my belief in the power of embracing change and pushing oneself beyond established boundaries. It was a transformative period that shaped my career trajectory and instilled in me the courage to embrace challenges head-on.

What's the best advice you ever received?

The best advice I ever received was from my mom, who always told me, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’ This advice has been instrumental during moments when I found myself as the only Black woman in the room. In such situations, it's easy to feel isolated or doubt whether you belong. However, remembering my mom's words gave me the confidence to assert myself, speak up, and contribute my unique perspective. It reminded me that my voice and ideas are valuable, regardless of the setting or who else is in the room. This simple yet powerful mantra has fuelled my competitive spirit and helped me navigate through numerous challenges in my career. 

What's your career highlight/biggest achievement?

My career highlight and biggest achievement at PepsiCo has been spearheading initiatives that have made a tangible impact both within the organization and in the broader community. As co-chair of the MOSAIC Employees Resource Group (ERG), I had the privilege of contributing to the development of a framework aimed at promoting equality and equity for black employees, not only within our workplace but also in the communities where we operate. In 2020, our team collaborated to provide crucial recommendations to Senior Leadership, which were subsequently integrated into PepsiCo's Racial Equality Journey. This commitment translated into impactful actions, including scholarships, workshops, and summer camps for black organizations and charities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This experience exemplifies my dedication to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, making it a defining achievement in my career at PepsiCo.

How do you define yourself as a leader?

I define myself as a leader who excels in collaboration, problem-solving, and thrives in the fast-paced world of CPG, particularly within the convenience channel. My ultimate goal is to drive tangible results that create mutually beneficial outcomes for PepsiCo, our valued customers and the communities in which we work.


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Click here for a full list of the 2024 Star Women in Convenience winners

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