Diane Kennedy

This entry is part 32 of 54 in the series

Kennedy_DianeDiane Kennedy

Kraft Foods

Current position:  Currently I am a customer category manager of Kraft Beverage and Grocery.  My account is Bozzutos IGA.

Years with company:  32 years; 25 years with Nabisco, seven  years with Kraft Grocery

Professional/Volunteer organizations:
I was a member and past president of The Knights of the Grip of Western Mass. and Ct.  I am currently on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Food Association and was inducted into the CFA Hall of Fame in 2005.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
I have been extremely fortunate to have had several excellent mentors in my life.  My parents, my husband and my children have always been supportive of my career.  My first boss, Ed Hutchins, trained me and promoted me into management. My co-workers, Ed Lucente and Bob DiMantova, were always available to discuss business decisions with and to give advice. My administrative assistant, Sally Cavanna, always made me look good! Adam Bozzuto and Grace Nome were also instrumental in my success.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements?  Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I am extremely proud of the many sales recognition awards I have received from the company, especially the one I received in my first year in management, because it came with a trip to attend Super Bowl XXI in 1987 at the Rose Bowl. The defining moment of my career was in 2005, when I was inducted into the CFA Hall of Fame.  I was honored not only by my company, but the grocery industry as well.

Most challenging part of your job:
The most challenging part of the job is work-life balance. My husband, Jim Kennedy, owns Competitive Edge Ski and Bike Shops in Western Ma.  Between my career, his business, our two children (Lauren, 17 and James, 14) and two dogs, it is very challenging to keep everything running smoothly.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
My advice for upcoming younger executives is to work hard, play hard and enjoy life.  Find something you love to do and be passionate about it. Be enthusiastic and creative, and surround yourself with positive people who can mentor you and support you in your career.

I love to spend time with my family, ski, play golf, walk and read.