Tonie Michel Williams
The J.M. Smucker Co.
Vice President of Marketing – Smucker’s and Hungry Jack
Years with company: Ten years
Education degree and professional/volunteer affiliates:
- BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania
- MBA from the University of Michigan
- Board of Trustee for the Rainbow and Babies Children’s Hospital Foundation
Mentors and how they assisted you in your career:
Several years ago at a Network of Executive Women’s conference, I was introduced to the concept of having a Board of Directors of Mentors. My “Advisory Board” is a diverse group and includes family members (husband, sister, mother, and even sometimes my children), a previous male boss, and a colleague from graduate school. Some of my mentors provide brutally honest and critical feedback while others offer spiritual support. My son and daughter on the other hand remind me to laugh often and have fun.
I also mentor younger people within my organization as a way to impart knowledge about our culture. Being a mentor helps me maintain a pulse on the organization. It helps me stay connected to changing organizational dynamics and reminds me to stay flexible in order to continue to grow.
What are you most proud of in your career achievements or a defining moment in your career today?
I am most proud of being part of the team that helped with the integration of the Jif ® brand into our company. This acquisition was the springboard to tremendous momentum and growth for our company. It was an exciting time to be part of the team.
Most challenging part of my job:
The most challenging part of my job is continuing to find growth for our brands in light of the economic situation. On a personal level, it is often challenging maintaining family/work/volunteer balance.
Thoughts or advice for upcoming younger executives:
As I prepare to give advice to upcoming younger executives within our company, I often refer to a letter that Paul Smucker (the grandson of the company’s founder and the former chairman of the executive committee) wrote entitled “Our Commitment to Each Other.” His letter outlines the following four basic values and guiding principles:
- Always say thank you for a job well done,
- Listen with your full attention,
- Look for the good in others, and
- Have a sense of humor, not at the expense of others but as a brief relief from difficult tasks.
These four tenets have become the core of my management philosophy.
Traveling, biking, and painting on ceramics.