Diane Lawless

This entry is part 36 of 77 in the series

Diane LawlessDiane Lawless

Coca-Cola Refreshments
Key Account Executive 

Years with company: 19 years

 Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations: B.S Salve Regina University; Coca-Cola Women’s LINC; Volunteer Projects through Coca-Cola’s ‘’Live Positively” Initiative

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career: During my career at Coca-Cola, I have worked with a number of outstanding professionals who have guided me though critical transitions and provided good counsel when faced with both opportunities and challenges. My most influential mentor is Bill Derbyshire, whose unwavering support, extensive industry knowledge, and willingness to provide direct constructive feedback help me to continue to grow as a professional.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?  While I have been fortunate to receive recognition for my performance throughout my career, interestingly it is perhaps the success in my first role at the Company that provides me with the greatest sense of achievement. I joined Coca-Cola 19 years ago as the first female account manager in my sales center.   Not an easy job or environment to succeed in as the mother of a young family.  The work was demanding but provided me with many opportunities to prove myself as a valuable member of the larger team. There were long hours and times that I struggled to balance competing demands of work and home but I made it work and learned a lot about integrity and resilience in the process.   My success today as a Key Account Executive is rooted in the critical personal and professional lessons learned during these early days of my career and the unique perspective provided during 19 years of experiences across the organization.

Most challenging part of your job: We work in a fast-paced industry with ever changing circumstances, resources and demands.  Managing Key Accounts in this environment requires a strong understanding of how to deliver on customer needs and expectations while meeting company objectives.  At times, balancing these priorities can be the biggest challenge but it can also be the most rewarding.

Advice for upcoming younger executives: As I reflect on what has helped me to advance in my career, the following advice comes to mind:

Be steadfast  – Don’t give up, be creative in your approach and provide solutions not problems

Be approachable – In this business you need a thick-skin, a strong moral compass, sense of humor, and to always remember that relationships are built on trust not power

Be prepared– Know your business, be direct and contribute to the conversation.

Hobbies:  Spending time with my husband and 3 children, supporting the many activities in which they are involved, relaxing at the beach and traveling.