The two-week skills exchange program was designed to build a cultural bridge to the country, and it focused on “business immersion, leadership development and volunteerism,” said the company.
The team, including a chocolate senior manager from Brazil and a biscuits marketing manager from Italy, learned about the cocoa harvesting process, picked ripe pods, removed the beans and prepared them for fermentation and drying in three farming communities – all of which are part of Mondelēz’s Cocoa Life program.
This year’s ambassadors to Ghana
- Elisabeth Altenkamp, Information Systems Manager — Germany
- Jana Majdan Barankova, Manufacturing Section Manager — Austria
- Ophira Bhatia, Corporate & Government Affairs Director, India & South East Asia - India
- Jacopo Dellacasa, Biscuits Marketing Manager — Italy
- Brian Dewerff, Customer Development Director — USA
- Suzana Drzanic, Human Resources Director — Croatia
- Kane Jacker, Packaging Senior Manager — Australia
- Gavin Kaplan, Category Relationship Manager — Australia
- Michele Lassman, Global Chocolate Strategy Senior Manager — USA
- Adriane Lima, Chocolate Innovation Section Manager — Brazil
- Monica Paulsen Ygre, Freia Brand Manager — Norway
- Marcelo Russo, Chocolate Senior Manager— Brazil
- Tatiana Situkha, Mondelez Business Services Cluster Manager — Russia
- Paul Williams, Operations Director— USA
While there, the program’s ambassadors also hosted community workshops to help build capacity and collaboration among local farmers and stakeholders, added Mondelēz. The topics included networking and alliance building, budgeting, planning and organization, and coaching and mentoring.
“As part of my job implementing Cocoa Life at Freia, our regional chocolate brand in Norway, I’ve given many presentations on the program and its efforts… but there’s nothing like experiencing it firsthand,” said Monica Paulsen Ygre, brand manager at Freia Tablet.
“My experience as a joy ambassador was transformative, both personally and professionally,” she said.
Mondelēz said it has operated the program for four years through its partnership with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), an international charity organization that provides overseas volunteer opportunities. Participants are nominated by the company’s senior management.