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The great women working in Diageo Europe

For IWD 2018, we wanted to bring this to life in a visual way by showcasing some of the great women working in Diageo Europe, at many levels.

Andrea Vicenzo

Andrea Vicenzo, Reserve Sales Manager
“When I was younger I wanted to be the best of all, now I want to reach the best version of myself”

Andrea says Diageo is a company that rewards everyone’s effective skills, that it searches for the most talented people, regardless of their gender. She says Diageo is not scared to employ a woman – once she’s talented - having a family or the prospect of one in the future is irrelevant.

She’s proud to work for a company that is interested in employee wellness, not only in the office but also in their private lives.

Andrea says she empowers other women by supporting them and showing them they have the capability to be everything they want to be.

Becoming a mother has changed her life deeply, especially at work. Andrea says she’s gained an attitude to listen to others needs and help them to grow – essential qualities for a line manager.

She has always had a keen interest in literature and singles out Virginia Woolf as an idol because she’s able to fight for women’s rights.

Outside of Diageo Andrea says she’s a wife, a mother, a friend – but also, a passionate chef.

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy, Brand Change Lead
“The more I can do, the more I want to do”

Caroline says in Diageo she is surrounded by inspirational women. She thinks women lead with their head and their heart and bring a real strength of character to the workplace.

Having had two daughters in the past five years Caroline points to Diageo’s Parental Coaching Programme which she says shows the value the company puts on a life-changing event such as
becoming a parent.

Caroline once thought about being a pilot, but her physics results weren’t up to scratch. At Diageo she was the lead on the Baileys redesign in 2012 which gave her such confidence in her own abilities.

Caroline’s idol is her grandmother, “an amazing woman”, who lived in an era where options for women were limited but she encouraged an ethos of working hard and making the most of the opportunities you have.

Her brother gave her the best piece of advice – that usually the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do, and she adopts an attitude with work to be brave and always believe you can do it. Outside of work, Caroline loves spending time with her husband and children, enjoys cooking and entertaining friends.

Carolyn Lemoine

Carolyn Lemoine, EPM CP&A, Beer BU, Customer Marketing
“Women bring an added element of empathy to the workplace, in addition to our skills and work ethic”

She is very proud of our brands, and being a part of bringing them to consumers around the world!

In the past few years, she has seen Diageo allowing for flexibility with schedules/work hours, which benefits many women she knows. Women can often be the primary caregivers at home, so this flexibility is vitally important in enabling them to “do it all.”

She believes that empowering other women comes through support… of their ideas, their projects, and their goals. This is something that we can all do for each other.

When she was young, her idol was Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Outside of work, she is a very adventurous person and her current adventures revolve around traveling to new places to continue her global learning.

Her greatest achievement to date has been the opportunity to move to the Europe Partner Markets team from her role in the U.S. It was something that she worked hard for, and she is proud to have accomplished.

Christine L. Eriksen

Christine L. Eriksen, Commercial Transformation Manager, Northern Europe
“I have become better at knowing what I can do, but even better at knowing what I cannot do"

Christine says she proudly says Diageo when asked where she works. She says while it’s a huge company with 36,000 employees, it feels like a small community where every individual matters.

She says it is a huge compliment that Diageo is at the top in terms of female representation, and shows a healthy work environment where women have been given an equal chance to grow and develop their careers.

Christine says it should be a given that women bring the same values as a man to the workplace, but she says women do bring a positive dynamic, a different view, and a more friendly and caring atmosphere. Balance she says is the key to any workplace with a mix of genders, nationalities, ages and experience.

Her idol is her grandmother, who has taught her about life during war, the great depression and in general about ‘the old days’.

Outside of Diageo, Christine is a wife, sister, daughter and friend. She says she’s usually a happy person that likes to joke around and keep the mood light. Travel and staying fit take up her spare time.

Conchi Allue

Conchi Allue, Field Sales Executive, On Trade
“I see my life as a mountain and I try to go further every day”

Conchi describes Diageo as a great company where she can learn something new every day, grow professionally and develop in a fun and changeable environment.

She is proud Diageo is top of the FTSE in terms of female representation, adding it shows the company looks for equality. Conchi says salaries are based on levels and not on other factors such as gender, and women have achieved positions of high responsibility.
She also believes the women of Diageo must be ambassadors for gender equality.

Her greatest achievement was to become the number one in sales, and she lives by the words of her father, who told her to do what she wants and never stop living as she is the one responsible for her own life. 

Conchi’s idol is Angelina Jolie for highlighting the unfair situations around the world and for fighting to make people’s lives better in many countries.

Outside of work, Conchi loves to travel as it gives her the opportunity to discover new places and meet new people. Spending time with family, friends and her beloved dog is also important.

Cristina Niola

Cristina Niola, Customer Activation Manager Off Trade Reserve
“I simply worked hard and strongly believed in what I did. You’re the architect of your destiny.”

Cristina is proud to work for Diageo because of the people, the strong vision and the constant pioneering spirit. She says the company being the top of FTSE for female representation shows they are one step ahead.

She feels women bring energy, power and passion to the workplace – and they never give up. Cristina says there is no difference between a hard-working woman and a hard-working man, but businesses need to invest in women, believe in them and they will see the added value.

At work Cristina says she’s passionate about the job but at the same time really realistic and concrete and she believes this is a winning mix to empower women.

Her idol is her mother, who worked hard but never forgot about her two daughters at home. She was always there and careful about their lives – an extraordinary example for Cristina.

Outside of Diageo Cristina says she’s exactly the same – of a sunny disposition, stubborn, passionate and ready to fight for what she believes in, for better or worse.

Dany Atallah

Dany Atallah, Customer Support Manager, MENA
“I arrive to work every day with a SMILE”

Dany is a positive person by nature and that translates into positive, pleasant behaviors and balanced actions in life.

Now and after going through big challenges and tough experiences during her journey with Diageo, this attitude became so essential to help her embrace a busy work schedule and balancing it with great moments of celebration.

The key behind her success is knowing how to charge her batteries on a daily basis.

Being proud of what she does and grateful for the things she has while always zooming out to see the bigger picture is a blessing.

Outside of work, her interests are to chill out with her friends, driving, swimming, taking care of her cats and listening to her favorite playlists.

‘Keep shining and Keep Walking’

Daria Bobrova

Daria Bobrova, Corporate Communications Manager, Russia
“Do whatever you want to do; don’t limit yourself with traditional life paradigms”

While at University, Daria did an exchange program to Norway. That immersion into another culture turned her world upside down and made her believe the sky was not the limit. Since then, she has been living her dream building a career in a global environment.

Diageo’s amazing Brands, History, Culture and People make her proud to work here. Daria is also proud of Diageo’s rise to the top of FTSE in terms of female representation. Seeing our female leaders make her believe in herself even more. She believes that women bring empathy to the workplace and urges businesses to help women achieve a work-life balance schedule.

Daria cites her beloved family, cool friends whom she can trust, great education and work experience as sources of joy. She cites her Grandma as her idol and praises her bestie for this nugget ‘try not to live out the troubles of all your friends, save your time for bigger things.’

Daria is a traveller and world explorer who believes there are no challenges, ‘we are there at the particular moment where we need to be’

Deborah Maher

Deborah Maher, Dublin City Sales Manager
“Don’t stop at ‘no’ – nothing is impossible and you can be whatever you want to be”

Deborah has worked for Diageo for 23 years and has grown up living the company’s values and making them fit with her own.

At Diageo in recent years she has seen what she describes as a clearer focus, there’s creativity through great innovation, and there’s great women leaders in the business.

Diageo, she says recognise people for their work ethic and capabilities and not their gender, so she’s not surprised it is top of the FTSE in terms of female representation. Her advice to other companies on how to make working work for women is to be objective, look at people’s situations and be fair.

Deborah says walking through the Guinness gates is wonderful, almost magical, especially with all the wonderful colleagues that value each other.

Among her idols is Audrey Hepburn and how she has empowered other women – nothing is impossible and as Audrey says it’s in the word – “I’m possible”.

Outside of Diageo Deborah says she’s a mother, a friend, a runner and a painter and is enjoying life.

Dionne Baker

Dionne Baker, Senior Manager Europe Customer Marketing
“When overwhelmed go back to the start and complete one task at a time”

Dionne is proud to work at Diageo because it allows a commitment to always do better and be better.

Among the positive improvements she has seen at the company in recent years is that it allows people to have a very clear ambition and to strive down the path to achieve it globally.

Dionne says women bring diversity, multi-dimensional interest, strong collaboration and passionate motivation to the workplace. If businesses are to make working work for women, she says they must start promoting and giving equal pay.

Her admiration is for many women in her family – her mother for her strength; four sisters for their individual love, and two nieces for being complete inspiration. Dionne is always striving to be better than she was the day before.

Dorien de Boer

Dorien de Boer, CP&A Manager
“Be yourself, you’re right the way you are”

Dorien highlights the growth of the number of women at the top and middle management in Diageo in recent years.

She says companies need to judge their workers on skills and capabilities and not on gender. The attributes that women bring to the workforce are a business sense, bridge-building and multiple perspectives.

Dorien is proud of the big responsibility agenda at Diageo – responsible drinking, community engagement and sustainability.

When she was nine she wanted to be a researcher on sharks. She has a passion for volunteering in other countries and charity work and joined Diageo to learn the trade in a professional business environment to ultimately takes those skills to help make a true impact in the charity world.

Dorien says she doesn’t really have idols but does admire Willemijn Verloop for founding the successful charity Warchild that supports children suffering from war traumas.

Outside of Diageo she volunteers on the board of a charity supporting children in need in Kenya.

Elena Fanelli

Elena Fanelli, Credit & Account Receivable Manager
“You can be the ultimate owner of your success by being proactive, curious, open minded and never afraid of change”

Elena says Diageo’s position at the top of FTSE in terms of female representation means she will never be refused a career opportunity just because she is not a man, and she will be judged only for her skills.

She believes women bring multi-tasking to the workplace, but they could be more self-demanding and competitive, while still being able to create the relationships, networks and alliances that are critical in a challenging work environment.

Elena’s proud to work for Diageo because it has the best responsible drinking agenda in Italy, it has a strong diversity mindset and amazing brands.

As a teenager of the 1980’s, Elena’s idol is Madonna. Her piece of advice to her younger self would be to refine her listening skills and capabilities.

Outside of Diageo she says she’s a proud and imperfect working mum of Chiara and Francesco. Elena likes painting, cooking and eating, the piano, music, hats and heels – if you ever see her running it means she’s in danger and so please come and rescue her!

Elisavet Baxevanidou

Elisavet Baxevanidou, Outlet Developer, On Trade
“Diageo promotes in every way gender equality at workplace and empowers women to reach their full potential by getting the opportunities they truly deserve”

She considers her recruitment in Diageo as one of her greatest achievements to date, since it was always her dream to work in the world’s leading, most respected and dynamic spirit company with such iconic brands and be part of its sales force.

Something that motivates her through her work day is her every day communication with her clients / outlets on a one-on-one basis as well as the positive results that she sees after every meeting with them.

A great motivator for her is learning new things that will help her do her job better and more efficiently.

The best piece of advice she has ever received was given by her parents who told her to always believe in herself and in her capabilities and have more confidence in everything she does.

Diageo takes gender equality and balance in the workplace very seriously and makes important efforts to empower women through their work and make them thrive. This personally as a woman makes her feel that her work and her talent will be acknowledged and taken into serious consideration when a senior position appears.

She believes that women can be great leaders since they have excellent management skills and are always able to inspire employees to give their best. They are also very patient and understanding to human mistakes, have a great sense of compassion and intuitiveness and handle crisis situations with equanimity and a smile on their face.

Elise Safi

Elise Safi, Brand Manager, MENA
“Balance, peace and joy are the fruit of a successful life”

Elise is an enthusiastic and positive person. She is very ambitious and always seeks to achieve the best on a personal and a professional level. She tends to surround herself with people who inspire her and push her to evolve.

Working at Diageo for more than 5 years has helped her on so many levels. She learned to trust herself as an individual, to demonstrate her opinion and to believe in her abilities and the abilities of others to achieve successful results. Diageo is a fantastic workplace that recognizes talent and develops them to achieve their goals professionally and personally.

“I believe that loving what you do drives you to become a better person in the society” - The best piece of advice she can give is to find your passion in life and dive into it. Elise discovered her passion for Yoga six years ago through her dancing classes. And now, thanks to Diageo’s value of work-life balance, Elise will have the chance to seize the opportunity that she has been waiting for for more than 3 years
now; she will be able to take some time off to deepen her knowledge and pursue a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training for in Bali. This training will enable her to teach YOGA and spread the knowledge of this beautiful practice amongst her community, and most importantly amongst the Diageo family.

Federica Clerico

Federica Clerico, Innovation & Commercialization Manager Med Cluster
“You don’t need to have all the answers to get something done”

Federica says she loves working at Diageo because gender is irrelevant. What makes the difference in Diageo is your capabilities and ability to cover a role irrespective of your gender or nationality.

She does believe that women bring things to a workplace – practical sense, sensitivity, aesthetics, flawless execution and attention to detail.

Federica says she likes to think she empowers women and men with her ‘can do’ attitude. She’s proud to work at Diageo because of the great products, the amazing people and the environment that gives people freedom to take initiatives and become stronger professionals.

She says a boss once gave her a great piece of advice – that to get something done you don’t need to have all the answers – you will find some on the journey and leverage them from others too.

Outside of Diageo Federica says she’s a positive and energetic woman that along with her husband takes care of two lovely but very demanding daughters. Along with checking homework, she likes to go out with friends, cycle and travel.

Georgie Smithwick

Georgie Smithwick, Senior Innovation Manager
“I put my heart and soul into things”

Georgie says at Diageo she has never felt that her career aspirations are limited because she is a woman. It never crossed her mind, not even for a second.

She’s proud that Diageo is a company that champions women, and notes in the four years she has been in Diageo there has always been transparency of equal pay between women and men.

Georgie is proud to see so many women on the Diageo board and executive, saying “it really helps to see it to know you can achieve it”.

Her idol is Dame Stephanie (also known as Steve) Shirley who was a technology pioneer in the 1960’s and had to call herself ‘Steve’ to be taken seriously. She wanted to create job opportunities for women and her first 300 hires were female programmers.

Outside Diageo, Georgie says she’s a terrible cook, yet a regular dinner party host! But she knows why – people keep coming back for the cocktails!

Hattie Radcliffe

Hattie Radcliffe, Head of Category Development Cash&Carry and Wholesale, Europe
“What do women bring to the workplace? The other half of the world”

Hattie is proud to work at Diageo because of their forward-thinking nature on women in the workplace. She says it’s not perfect and there is further to go but when she’s spoken to women in other industries, Diageo is miles ahead.

In the past few years she has seen an increasing number of women and men begin to work flexibly in Diageo, there is more inclusivity and women’s careers are not held back by maternity leave.

On empowering other women, Hattie says she would encourage others to believe in themselves, to get out of their comfort zone and offer support to take on a challenge. Hattie says that’s basically a lot of talking, and she loves to talk!

Hattie’s mother is her idol, mostly because she sacrificed career progression to be at home with Hattie and her brother.

Outside of work Hattie is now a mother, and she spends time working out how to do that and what it means. She’s also moved to a new house, so getting to know new people takes up some of her time. She hopes to take horse-riding back up soon.

Ivy Chen

Ivy Chen, Supply Chain Director, ISC & Europe
“Set your own definition of success, be bold, be brave and be yourself”

Ivy says Diageo’s leadership position in the FTSE 100 for the number of women in top positions shows the company is ‘walking the talk’. At Diageo she says she’s seen an increasing focus on diversity and inclusion in recent years.

Ivy feels that inclusion is critical to all businesses and that there are many layers of diversity – and gender is just one of them. She says a diverse and inclusive workplace brings more creativity and can bring out people’s full potential.

She says we are all unique in our own way, we should try to be a better self every day and eventually you are a happier person.

Ivy’s one piece of advice to a younger self would be not to beat herself up when she fails as what really matters is to learn from mistakes. She has learned to use failure to strengthen her resilience
and capabilities.

Outside of Diageo Ivy says she’s very playful and mad, she loves travelling, art, architecture, reading, jazz, classical music, wine, whiskey, fashion and food.

Jasmin Winterer

Jasmin Winterer, Innovation Project Brewer
“Keep Going! If you want to achieve something you have to fight for it”

Jasmin says in the three years she’s been at Diageo she never experienced differences between women and men. She says she feels really comfortable and confident as a woman in the company.

Diageo doesn’t make decisions based on gender, but promotes talent she says, adding that everyone is treated with respect and has the chance to grow and develop further.

Moving to Ireland and starting work for Diageo was a great achievement and a dream come true for Jasmin, the completion of her brewer apprenticeship allowed her to prove herself in what would have been a male based environment. Initially wanting to be a teacher, it was when covering yeast in biology and then biochemistry that made her want to become a brewer.

Jasmin’s idol is her mother, a strong woman who built up a successful career while bringing up her children.

Outside of work Jasmin is very active, running up to three times a week, alongside pilates and climbing. To relax she loves a good book, watching movies and she finds cooking really calming.

Jessica Labban

Jessica Labban, Service Delivery Lead GDBS, MENA
“I am where I choose and want to be”

Jessica was 4 years old when she first dreamt about being a computer programmer and she believes she is lucky to have pursued this dream and worked her whole life in this field! She always had the privilege of being the only woman in all her classes, SHE TOTALLY REPRESENTED and she still does.

Jessica is proud to be part of Diageo, not just because of its diversity, but also the opportunities it lands for all people based on their real potential.

Her idol in life is her aunt, the most determined and ambitious person she’s known. She was the reason she pushed herself to reach the highest points in life, which in her opinion, are not secured finances and a title, but inner peace, self-satisfaction, compassion and pride.

Jessica is where she chooses and wants to be. Her motto in life is haters will hate no matter what so just be yourself, aim higher and unleash this power within you to build your dreams.

"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." — Michelle Obama

Julika Krohn

Julika Krohn, HRBP Germany, Austria & Switzerland
“I am who I am today, with all the good and bad that happened in my life”

Julika says diversity is getting more important in Diageo every day. She’s pleased that initiatives like equal pay and flexible working models have been implemented.

She says the great products, great people and possibilities to develop yourself are what makes her proud to work at Diageo.

Julika says she’s a risk-taker and that helps build up success. Each day at work she challenges herself and breaks down borders.

The piece of advice she would give to her younger self is to be brave and stand up for who you are. And to take smart decisions and follow your own path.

Outside of work, Julika is an outgoing family driven person. She likes doing team sports and getting together with people. She also loves to travel and getting to know different people, cultures and ways of living.

Kouki Eleni

Kouki Eleni, Field Manager, Off Trade
“Diageo fully supports the diversified workplace and recognizes that women can drive renovation and great performance.”

She believes that women bring to the workplace new ideas, organization / structure, true relationships and great team working.

One piece of advice she would give to her younger self is to follow your dreams…work hard, be authentic and open to learn.

A great motivator for her is learning new things by talking and interacting with people (colleagues, store managers, shoppers, customers).

Success means to her waking up in the morning full of energy and happiness for another great and productive day at the work.
When she was young, her idol was her sister who is 15 years older than her.

Outside of work, she spends time with her family, her 2 kids and dances Latin.

Laura Scalambra

Laura Scalambra, Regional Manager On Trade
“For me success is all about setting clear goals and doing my best to get there”

Laura says Diageo is a leading company that is dynamic and challenging. It invests in the future through the resources of a young workforce and the skills of each individual.

She says the company reiterates and confirms its values by supporting women, avoiding discrimination and expanding this culture to the top of the company. A woman can see a career growth opportunity in Diageo. Her advice to businesses is to ensure salary treatment
is equal and fair and always reward real performances.

Laura says women bring reliability, practicality, engagement, high performance, creativity and multi-tasking to the workplace.

What gets her through the day is a realisation that she’s done it! Laura is ambitious, isn’t afraid of a challenge and enjoys dealing with different stakeholders who may have a different mindset.

Outside of Diageo she is a pretty busy mum and wife who tries to balance all those tasks and find time for herself every now and then to read a book and relax.

Le Thu von Schöning – ‘Mimi’

Le Thu von Schöning – ‘Mimi’, Commercial Transformation Manager
“Just be yourself and you will be fine”

Mimi, as everyone calls her, says she’s proud to work at Diageo because there is such a ‘cool crowd’ working there that is talented and super-engaged.

Diageo, she says takes gender equality quite seriously, as shown by the company being at the top of the FTSE in terms of female representation. Mimi is impressed by the increasing number of women returning to work in Diageo after maternity leave which she highlights as a real positive improvement.

If Mimi could advise her younger self now, it would be that what you assume to be your weaknesses you can use as your strengths and that once you are yourself, you’ll be fine. Learning to embrace continuous change is her biggest challenge, but Mimi says once you master that then all aspects of life can be handled more easily.

Mimi’s idol was the older sister of a friend who she says was a caring big sister and creative – anything she touched turned out beautifully.

Outside of work Mimi is a squash fanatic and loves cooking and baking.

Lea Khoury-Haddad

Lea Khoury-Haddad, Commercial Planner, MENA

Lea joined Diageo as a fresh graduate 5 years ago and had the opportunity to work across several departments. What inspires her most about Diageo is the people centricity. At Diageo, the management is not building a business but they are building PEOPLE, who can then build the business themselves.

In her opinion, a woman will always have a certain instinct and add an extra touch to any project, decision or job she participates in. She calls this the “sixth sense of women”.

Lea is a wanderlust at heart, same as at work, she gets so passionate in planning her trips to discover hidden gems, live adventures and come across cultural richness around the globe.

Outside of work her interests are cooking meals to her loved ones, exercising and watching movies.

She lives with the philosophy of treating people the way she wants to be treated.

Lydia Lehmann

Lydia Lehmann, National Key Account Manager
“I will sail around the world one day”

Lydia says becoming a mother to her six-year-old boy is the event in her life that changed her perspective. She loves to spend time with friends and family and loves spending every free minute sailing on a yacht.

Her motivation is seeing the results of her work and trying new things. Lydia loves having a good laugh with her colleagues and tries to continuously improve and optimise her working life.

Lydia doesn’t like typical gender clichés. For her, women are as diverse as men. She says regardless of gender each individual brings diverse assets to the workplace.

Her advice to other businesses on making working work for women is to offer flexibility that allows women and men balance work and family life.

Madeleine Bedford

Madeleine Bedford, National Account Manager
“You just have to take a deep breath and be brave”

Madeleine says the strength of the Diageo brands, coupled with the tireless work of talented and ambitious colleagues that shows why the company is the right one for her.

Seeing Diageo at the helm of female representation is very encouraging for Madeleine and all young ambitious women. She doesn’t want to be a box-ticking exercise and believes women must only be promoted on merit, and not because of gender.

Madeleine herself likes to empower other women through support, praise, coaching, and promoting their efforts and achievements. Amongst her greatest achievements to date was being a Diageo GB nominee for the Future Leaders Programme 2016.

A previous line manager told her she is unique and to embrace it and channel it into everything she does. Madeleine says you won’t go wrong if you are true to yourself. Among her idols are Reese Witherspoon and the late Princess Diana.

A manageable work life balance for Madeleine is success. Outside of Diageo she describes herself as a daughter, older sister, girlfriend and friend.

Manal Ibrahim

Manal Ibrahim, HR Offcer, MENA
“Great vision without great people is irrelevant”

Kicking off her career in customer service as a means to pay o her college tuition, Manal discovered her passion for helping others. With an ear always ready to listen and a hand always willing to help others, she decided to pave her path in HR.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

Manal is a firm believer that if you give the world the best you have, and you give with joy, the best will come back to you, and to give your best, you need to stretch beyond what is known and familiar; beyond your comfort zone.

With that in mind, and to help people give their best, Manal is committed and dedicated to deliver the best customer service experience to the MENA team.

She believes that there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, little things that you can do every day, everywhere.

This purpose is also conveyed in her personal life, with her friends and family.

Her advice to everyone is a saying that she lives by “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

Marine Kassab

Marine Kassab, PTP & OTC Analyst, MENA
“The best kind of woman is a busy, vibrant and goal oriented one”

Marine is a hard-working perfectionist who never settles, being second is not an option for her.

Working for Diageo for seven years now, she is very proud to be in a company that values diversity and has zero tolerance to discrimination.

Her idol is her mother, a stay-at-home mother of three. Marine is very grateful that God blessed her with an angel in disguise.

Outside of work, her hobbies are music and sports.

Marine strongly believes in Karma and says it is the basis of how she treats people.

Maya Abboud

Maya Abboud, Financial Controller, MENA

Maya is ambitious and eager to achieve success.

Having gone through a rough path, Maya is a tough woman as she still manages to have a bright smile and still looks forward to the beautiful things in life.

As a single mother of a five-year old boy, her challenge is ensuring work-life balance to enable her to focus on her career while taking care of her only child.

Two years ago, Maya decided to leave her comfort zone as an external auditor for seven years to pursue a dierent experience by joining Diageo as a Financial Controller.

For her, a working woman is independent, and this enables her to support her family financially and to have decision-making power. She believes that the value that women bring to the workforce is truly immeasurable given the skills and knowledge that they bring to the table.

Maya’s idol is her mother; she’s the strongest person in her life.

In addition to spending quality time with her son, Maya likes running, swimming and listening to music.

Michele Salwan

Michele Salwan, Senior Brand Manager, MENA

Michele was so enthusiastic to start her training program at Diageo fourteen years ago. At that time she had so many things going on… life itself was happening! University, dancing, friends and family. She was so hopeful and felt like a superwoman, capable of doing it all.

She wanted to be the woman who can achieve everything; her dreams, becoming a mother having a successful career! Today she dares to look back and say "I did it"! And through it all, Diageo has been her support system. Her commitment and dedication paved her way in Diageo. In fact Michele started as a trainee moving to PA, and her drive & motivation made her understand the business dynamics quickly, the thing that lead her to land the Trade Marketing Manager role moving to Commercial Manager, and today, handling Diageo’s Whisky portfolio as a Senior Brand Manager.

She fought hard to stay in this company, because she knew that Diageo holds the same vision she has in life.

A balance between her personal life and career was the empowering system that Diageo offered her throughout the years. And now, she has a family and a career that she keeps nourishing every day.

The self-confidence she has in herself and in her abilities made her the successful mother and woman she is today and it is a journey that keeps expanding every day with new opportunities and dreams coming true.

“I am proud to be at DIAGEO!”

Michele Khoueis

Michele Khoueis, Brand Manager, MENA
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will be just Leaders.”

Michelle joined Diageo four years ago as part of the Early Career Program. She has proven herself in different positions moving from Trade Marketing to Brand Management. She has been also assigned for a year as the J&B Brand Manager at Diageo France.

“As a first job, I couldn’t ask for a better working environment. In fact, Diageo allowed me to unleash my potential with no boundaries whatsoever.”

Michelle is proud to be a Diageo employee and embraces the Diageo culture and values in her day to day life.

A year ago, her Line Manager offered her a book entitled “Lean In” by Sheryl andberg. The book is about empowerment of women in the workplace. A quote from the book that was extremely marking for Michelle is one that she truly believes it is and will be the case at Diageo: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will be just Leaders”.

Michelle: “So let’s reconnect in few years and see this happen. Happy women’s day!”

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs, Customer Marketing Director Diageo GB
“Letting go of my fears and really learning to be open has transformed more than just my work life”

Natalie says when she went to a senior leadership event she saw up close and personal just how brilliant the women of Diageo are – rounded careers and family lives – up to that point she assumed a big career meant trading everything else.

Since becoming a mum less than a year ago her whole perspective has changed on what businesses can do to make working work for women. Having a boss who trusts you and cares for your holistic well-being is essential.

Natalie says the focus and openness around the inclusivity agenda is the main positive improvement at Diageo in recent years. She loves what she describes as the restlessness to improve – Diageo may be at the top of the FTSE for female representation, but the company won’t be satisfied until it is truly an equal employer.

Her idol was Anita Roddick of the Body Shop – she was passionate, outspoken, and a pioneering business woman – the result was a change in the expectations of a whole generation of consumers.

Outside of Diageo Natalie says she is ‘the same person’ and says the best days are all about people.

Natalie Wills

Natalie Wills, Global Brand Director – CIROC Vodka
“I empower women by being my own success story”

Natalie says she’s always blown away by the number of senior women leaders at Diageo. She says the company truly believes in gender equality and have shown by its actions that it does not discriminate at all. In the two years that she has been at Diageo, Natalie says she feels very motivated and empowered to be part of a company that places such value on women.

Natalie believes that women in the workforce are natural networkers and therefore the teams always feel inclusive and connected. She says all businesses need to show the flexibility to allow women deliver exceptional work and be great mothers.

Her Mom is her idol because she lived her life for her children and family and found the time to dedicate to them to find out what would make them happy and motivated. Natalie also admired the late Princess Diana for tearing down the boundaries for women in the 1980’s.

Outside of work Natalie says she can usually be found in the park with her partner and her dog. Animal welfare is important to her and she actively tries to support causes whenever she can. With family spread all over the world Natalie also spends a lot of time on ‘Facetime’ keeping in touch with them.

Nuria Garcia Fernandez

Nuria Garcia Fernandez, Key account Manager (Off Trade Iberia)
“Hard work and passion is what makes the difference to achieve success”

Nuria feels proud and lucky to be in one of the best companies to work for – and she says Diageo being at the top of the FTSE in terms of female representation will hopefully bring change to the professional reality in our society.

Three things are important to her in Diageo – the brands, the values, but most importantly the people. For Nuria she feels women bring a style of leadership that enriches the functioning of organisations. Women, she feels, have a global vision of things and at the same time do not let any details go by.

In work though Nuria says she does not differentiate between men and women doing a job. Instead she hopes she inspires all colleagues by giving them the best of herself.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta has always been her idol, because she could challenge the status quo, inspire others and free talent. Nuria has brought these values into her work.

Outside of Diageo, she is mother to 11-year-old Irene and 8-year-old Diego. She’s a social person and loves to enjoy life with people.

Oksana Peric

Oksana Peric, Storehouse Assistant
“Tomorrow motivates me along with friends, music, travelling and having a laugh”

Oksana says women are better at multi-tasking in the workplace, but are also more flexible with decisions. While men are mostly straight forward in their thinking, a woman’s mind can manoeuvre and easily agree a compromise.

She believes it’s always good to have a healthy balance of genders in a workplace and all businesses should see that. Oksana says companies do need to provide more leadership courses for women to encourage them for promotion.

Oksana says the people she works with are amazing – they treat each other well and handle difficult situations together as a team – and that helps her to get through the day.

Her idol is Angela Davis – she was fascinated when she first saw her on a video talking to a crowd in New York – she admires that she had no fear and was talking from the heart.

Outside of Diageo she likes to travel and is fascinated about Asia at the moment. When not working she cycles everywhere, enjoys her sewing machine, and has become more into beers and even wants to try and brew one herself.

Paola G. Jimenez

Paola G. Jimenez, Category Development Executive
“Good things take time and good ideas come from trying several times”

For Paola, Diageo is a great place to work because of the equality and diversity that the company has at the heart of its values. She is proud to work for a company that allows her to grow as a professional woman.

She feels that in Diageo she has been allowed express ideas at work, and develop them in a safe environment.

Paola says women bring diversity, good ideas and a lot of hard work to the workplace. She’s a believer of equality regardless of gender and hopes she empowers other women by inspiring them with her actions and thoughts.

Her mother is one of her idols, because she thought her to be strong, to believe in herself and to keep focussed on adding value to her life and standing up for the right thing.

Outside of Diageo Paola says she’s ‘a simple girl’, who likes to talk and hang out with friends and family. She’s really curious and loves learning new things and sharing them with those closest to her.

Pascale Feghali

Pascale Feghali, Office Manager & PA, MENA
“Start your day with a smile on your face and you will find that all you get are smiles in return”

As a working mother, Pascale drops off her only daughter at school and heads to the offce early in the morning to open the doors of Diageo for the MENA team.

She welcomes everyone with the friendliest smile and warmest wishes for a great day.

Working for Diageo for the past six years as an Office Manager with a passion for helping others, Pascale has become a mother to the whole MENA team, as they are always seeking her assistance and advice.

Patoucha Marilena

Patoucha Marilena, Regional Sales Executive, Off Trade
“More than 10 years now, Diageo gives me confidence that I can achieve beyond my limits.”

She believes that women bring to the workplace “Victories in Battle”.

The best piece of advice she has ever received was given by her dad - “Invest in yourself and be proud of yourself”.

The past few years she has seen in Diageo improvements in work-life balance, more women in senior positions and a lot of investment into employee leadership and development.

A great motivator for her is the voice in her head that says you can do it and keep walking!

When she is not working she loves family, friends, sea, sun, good food and the smell of coffee in the morning! Looking to meet people, people who care & share, do new things, explore other countries and make experiences.

Patricia Schnitger

Patricia Schnitger, Channel Manager NL Retail
“Follow your dreams, have a positive mind-set and a winner’s mentality”

Patricia says Diageo has an outstanding diversity agenda, and the recruitment team ambition to the number of women they would like to hire on each team is positive. The equal treatment of women and men and the diversity and inclusion agenda is clearly shown with Diageo being top of the FTSE in terms of female representation, she says.

She feels that in Diageo women have a true voice and that she can be herself and she hopes she empowers other women by giving them a chance in a team to be able to share their voices.

Patricia says women try to bring harmony, are humble and usually look for common ground or mutual interest in a team environment.

Her idol is Oprah Winfrey. Patricia’s greatest achievement has been getting her Master’s degree while working a full-time job at Coca-Cola.

Outside of Diageo she says she’s the same person and loves to spend time with family and friends, being outdoors, listening to music and cooking.

Paula Diana Turturea

Paula Diana Turturea, Learning for Life Participant
“Between a thousand bad days there is a good one to look at with optimism”

For Paula, women are living, they give life, they are warriors, and so you should value your life and the world knows the treasure you are.

She says it’s important that businesses treat men and women equally, and people should be in roles because they are more suited to the position and can do the job, rather than it be based on their gender.

Paula says a job well done is that, whether it is done by a man or a woman. Success for her is to be happy and satisfied with yourself, without harming others to achieve it. She feels happy to have a good job like the one she has, thanks to the course she took with Learning for Life Diageo.

Her idol has always been her mother who she says is the best person in the world and has always motivated her to do better.

When she’s not working Paula says she’s a normal 23-year-old girl who likes to be with the people she loves, visiting new places, walking, reading and studying – she likes to keep herself learning.

Rhona Ferrans

Rhona Ferrans, Brand Value Creation Manager
“After all, Women hold up half the sky”

Rhona is proud that Diageo recognises and values the role that women can play, that everyone can play in the workforce.

She’s definitely seen more women take-up positions in what would have been male-dominated areas – like science and technology, engineering, production and senior management. Rhona is particularly pleased to see the number of female whiskey specialists following pioneering master blenders Maureen Robinson and Caroline Martin.

Rhona believes she empowers the women and the men in her team equally, based on need and opportunity. Both have benefitted from opportunities to develop and demonstrate their potential.

Rhona was truly humbled to be International Supply Centre leader of the year last year, the first woman to achieve this accolade. ‘Wonder Woman’ is her idol as a strong and confident female juggling a career and another life – it sounds very familiar.

Outside of Diageo she’s a busy mother of three – roller-skater, swim-coach, arts and crafts organiser, family events planner – just a typical Mum really!

Sarah Nasr

Sarah Nasr, Key Account Executive, MENA
“Yes we can change the world!”

Sarah learned so much about herself through the people she meets and works with
every day.

Her career has shaped her into a stronger person.

She is proud to be learning from scratch and working hard to overcome all the challenges and obstacles in a super complex and dynamic market.

No matter where she stands in her life, her commitment to herself and to others is to try and make the place she’s at better as much as possible.

Sarah Salibi

Sarah Salibi, Trade Marketing Executive & Reserve BA, MENA
“Every mountain top is within reach if you keep climbing”

Sarah is an ambitious and goal-oriented woman who enjoys every single step of her journey because she believes that positivity is the key to success.

Life is beautiful and short, so she makes sure to enjoy every moment, to appreciate the small things and admire the simple gifts God has offered her; her family, friends, career and her beautiful country Lebanon.

Sarah uses her energy and enthusiasm as a fuel to her daily life, be it at work or socially, and most importantly, she believes that learning is what keeps her moving forward so she never misses a chance to do so. She is curious to constantly deepen her knowledge.

Sarah says that she encourages every young woman to commit to a cause, any cause, anything that would make her feel alive and that would give her a sense of purpose because simply, women are achievers. All they need is this small initiative that comes from within so take the initiative and make it happen.

“See you at the Top!”

Sinead Flannery

Sinead Flannery, Brewer St James’ Gate
“I arrive every day to be better and do better in my work and personal life”

Sinead is really ambitious and will push herself to “make it to the top”. She’s inspired to be working for a company that has the highest number of women in senior and executive positions.

Working for Diageo for just a year she says it promotes diversity in its culture and she loves to get to work with “great and talented people”. Women she says bring different values and energies to a workplace – the emotional intelligence women bring creates a more balanced workforce.

Her grandmother is her idol – the strongest and funniest person she knows. Sinead initially thought about being a nurse – until she realised she had a fear of needles.

Sinead lives her life appreciating everything she has and all the opportunities she has been given.

Outside of work her interests are running, cycling, yoga, reading and music festivals.

The best piece of advice came from a friend who said ‘always be kind as you never know what someone else may be going through, and above all be kind and compassionate to yourself’.

Siobhan Smyth

Siobhan Smyth, Apprentice Electrician
“My greatest achievement to date is getting an apprenticeship at Diageo”

Siobhan has just recently joined Diageo’s apprenticeship programme and will go down in history as the company’s first ever female apprentice. For Siobhan, Diageo’s female representation worldwide was one of the reasons she wanted to join.

She says the company is leading the way for females in industry by promoting and encouraging them and celebrating their involvement in the workforce.

Women she says are determined, tenacious, willing to listen and learn, not afraid to ask questions and make mistakes from time to time and she encourages all businesses to bring these attributes to their workforces.

Success for Siobhan is measured in happiness – to be satisfied with your job and have a feeling of accomplishment every day.

Outside of work Siobhan is passionate about sport, winning a county final with the Athy football team, and playing on the Kildare ladies team. Golf, photography and music also play important parts in her life.

Siobhan’s role model is her mother, who always had an unshakeable faith in her abilities and who she says is such a strong and free-thinking woman.

Stephanie Hanlon

Stephanie Hanlon, Mechanical Engineering Apprentice
“Before I always thought I had to be the best to succeed in what I was doing”

Aspiring is how Stephanie describes Diageo being named one of the FTSE 100 leaders for female representation. She feels it’s evidence that the company takes women seriously and gives her hope for promotion in the future.

Stephanie says a diverse workplace is important and that women should be considered for all job roles and given the same opportunities as men. She does feel women bring some different traits into a workplace – a different way of thinking which sometimes is good from the usual way.

She says she’s a very determined person and if at first she doesn’t succeed, she won’t give up until she does. Stephanie says her greatest achievement to date is getting the job she is in right now – she was laughed at and told that it wasn’t for girls and that it was a boys job.

Outside of Diageo, Stephanie enjoys going to the gym because it helps clear her head and release any worries that may be apparent in her life. Her family and her boyfriend are the most important things to her, while music is a big part of her life and she’s recently learned how to play the guitar.

Susana Guerrero

Susana Guerrero, Regional Counsel Iberia & Global Customers
“Put 100% of you in everything you do and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy”

Susana says she always saw Diageo as being committed to equality and diversity. But she says now she likes seeing the increased awareness of the need for diversity which is more present in the conversation today.

Women are bringing equality for other women and she says while clichéd they do bring diversity, empathy, intuition and practicality to the workforce. Susana says all employers should provide real flexibility in all senses, including mindset.

The thing that makes Susana proud to work for Diageo is that she is valued for being herself.

Susana’s idol is the character of Karen Blixen from the book and film, Out of Africa. Before her career in Diageo she had thought about being a gas truck driver, a teacher, a lawyer and even a judge.

Becoming a mother was life-changing for Susana and the one piece of advice she lives by is to believe in yourself always, and that things are easier when you cooperate with the inevitable.

Susana’s motivation in work and life is to be of help to others and to leave a positive footprint.

Thea Bezdikian

Thea Bezdikian, Trade Marketing Executive, MENA
“I would like to look back on my life and know that I have done great achievements; to look back at a life that was lived with purpose”

Thea believes in a life worth living within all aspects. She always likes to seek new adventures. She loves outdoor activities such as hikes and picnics, and she also likes paragliding, parasailing and skydiving; activities that make her feel alive.

Moreover, Thea has been career-driven ever since a young age. Her career is at the very top of her priority list as it has a way of satisfying her hunger of knowledge, of making her feel productive and a step forward in her life plan.

Trade Marketing Executive was Thea’s first job, the first milestone in her career. She is proud to work at Diageo; a company that has the BEST products, always strives for the best, and most importantly a company with great values that are in line with her personal and educational values.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the women who fight very hard every day to live and feel alive.

Tijana Batista

Tijana Batista, Market Planner Team Lead
“Do not stress! And find peace with the things you can’t change”

Tijana is proud to be a contributor to the high levels of female representation in Diageo. She says it’s a company that is people orientated and holds true to things like ‘valuing each other’ and the ‘freedom to succeed’.

Tijana believes women bring the same things to the workplace as men, and that businesses can learn from each other on making working work for women. She hopes she empowers other women by always being an example, reflecting yourself and everybody like you.

She says that being a refugee child makes you appreciate the small things in life and you feel more of a world citizen. Her greatest achievement to date is growing from an intern to team leader in 7 years.

Tijana’s idols are her mother in real life and Oprah Winfrey from an entrepreneurial perspective.

Outside of Diageo Tijana says she’s a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend. She’s also usually the one that talks a lot and if work-life permits she’s up for anything, anywhere.

Tracey Massoud

Tracey Massoud, Accounting & Reporting Analyst, MENA
“I perceive myself as a walking brand where continuous improvement is at the core of its success”

Tracey is an over achiever who always strives to exploit her full potential in every project she has in hand.

“Working for Diageo has made me a happier person” said Tracey. In fact, Tracey has been at Diageo for the past four years and throughout her journey, she cherished the culture of the company and lived by its values.

Being part of an accepting and professional corporate environment allowed her to overcome her fears and prove herself on personal and professional levels.

“Women presence should no longer be forced in our societies as I do believe that the achievements of women so far, speak for themselves. Equality should no longer be a subject of discussion but rather a given we all embrace.”

Outside of the Finance world, Tracey appreciates arts, music and sports. She’s a free spirit longing for new experiences and places to discover all around the world.

Her favorite motto is: “We were all born free and forever we shall remain. For a person to be happy and succeed, freedom should never be tamed.”

Vanessa Badawi

Vanessa Badawi, Contracts & Procurement Manager, MENA
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”

Vanessa is a determined passionate person who wants to live up to her full potential. She considers herself lucky to be working in an organization like Diageo that offers its employees, and in particular its women, the opportunity to grow in order to reach high positions even in countries where the culture does not abide by gender equality in the workplace.

Working for Diageo for the past three years has given Vanessa the chance to progress as a strong woman who is able to use her independence and strength as drivers to lead on projects and deliver the needed results. Diageo has also taught Vanessa how to embrace her softness as a woman in the workplace in order to spread positive energy through her passion and love for her work and for Diageo’s iconic brands.

Her mother, the strongest, most loving and positive person she has ever known, will always remain her idol. She taught her how to seize the moment and put passion and energy by celebrating life in everything that she does. Vanessa has always been grateful for all the tough moments that taught her to be even more grateful for the happier moments. Tough or happy is an experience. Experience is evolution and a step closer towards living up to her full potential.

Vanessa is a rocker who likes nature, yoga, hiking and travelling. She believes that happiness is collecting happy moments while looking for rainbows when it rains and stars when it’s dark.

Zaoudi Penelope

Zaoudi Penelope, Senior Luxury & Scotch C&E Manager, Reserve
“I have never seen people of being so proud for working for a consumer goods company.”

She believes that women bring to the workplace flair, creativity, passion, dynamism.

A lot of powerful women in key positions in Diageo adding flair and confidence to the business.

Her greatest achievement so far has been introducing Athens Fine drinking festival by World Class to Greece. Inspired by the cocktail movement in other big European cities, she worked hard with a wider team to make this happen, as strongly believed Athens deserved its own cocktail festival. With 4.000 consumers attending the actual event, and thousands more trying some exceptional serves she believes we made the right decision.

A great motivator for her is the thought of doing something meaningful and elevating the drinks industry by following and even shaping the trends.

She thought success was achieved only when big things were happening (eg. Introducing a new brand). However over the years she truly believes success is intrinsically linked with recognition and can be found in much smaller things as well.

When she is not working she is a caring daughter, a loving sister and a compassionate partner.