Heather Thompson Paquette

This entry is part 40 of 54 in the series

paquette_heatherHeather Thompson Paquette

Hannaford Supermarkets, Delhaize America
Vice President, Retail Operations, Eastern Division

Years with company:  12 years



Education degree and professional/volunteer organizations:

  • University of Southern Maine, B.S. in Business Finance
  • Board of Directors, March of Dimes
  • Board of Directors, Boys and Girls Club

Mentors and how they’ve assisted you in your career:
First advice from my first boss was to learn something from everyone, CEO to bottle clerk. A wise trick of the trade I regularly use to stay connected to our business.  Second, fight the fight for what you believe is right. This from a terrific leader, and although we don’t work closely together anymore, I continue to be influenced by her. Third, having great people support you all through your career matters. I expect my teams and I to be that support for others, and have enjoyed that support from my current boss for several years.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?  Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
Up to my ears in planning for my upcoming wedding a few months away, I was approached for a promotion and relocation to a remote market away from family, friends, and my favorite coffee shop. Some thought I was crazy, others cheered me on.  My then fiancée’ and I took the risk, made the move, got married, and moved again the following year and again the year after that. Crazy? Maybe. The best moves I ever made? Certainly.  Having a voice at the table that understands multiple markets and impact to the business has been a pillar of my success. Once it worked a few times, I was first surprised and then proud that my experience was making a real difference for our business.

Most challenging part of your job:
Retail is the heart of our organization, and I believe I should spend the bulk of my time in the stores.  My territory covers 58 stores throughout Maine.  Making connections with retail leaders at these locations is vital.  However, I’m also the representative for these stores with our corporate business partners, which requires my presence at many meetings.  It can be challenging to balance the multiple priorities, and for lack of a better phrase, be in two places at once.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
Find a job you can get excited about. No amount of intelligence, drive or charisma will compete with true passion for what you are doing.  Also, a great pair of shoes can make you feel like a million bucks.

I have a three-year old guitarist and a one-year old drummer. My husband and I have yet to miss a basement jam session and have no plans to.