Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand | Kellogg Company
Esme Borgelt is Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand for the Kellogg Company – one of the worlds’ leading food companies, headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg’s most famous brands in Australia include Nutrigrain, Sultana Bran, Coco Pops, Pringles etc. She has been with Kellogg’s for 17 years, working in various sales, logistics and general management roles in both emerging and developed markets around the world.
Though South African-born, Esme has called Australia home since 2008. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.
Prior to Kellogg, Esme spent ten years at the Kimberly Clark Corporation which she joined as a graduate, progressing to several roles in Sales, Market Development and Logistics during her tenure.
Esme is passionate about developing people to their full potential and strongly believes in the power of diversity & inclusion. She leads the Women of Kellogg employee resource group for the AMEA (Africa, Middle East and Asia) region, which is focused on the accelerated development of female talent in Kellogg and creating a more gender-balanced workforce across the region.
Esme holds a Law degree from the University of Pretoria, participated in professional development through Harvard Business School and INSEAD Business School, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of Chief Executive Women Australia (CEW), and a member of the National Association of Women in Operations.
My favourite movie of all time is still The Shawshank Redemption (1994), which was based on a Stephen King novel of the same title. The main character, Andy Dufresne spent almost 20 years of his life secretly digging a tunnel out of the prison from behind a Rita Hayworth poster with a rock hammer. The sheer commitment behind the task and the all-consuming power of hope threading throughout the narrative completely captivated me.
Most rewarding part about your job?
Our ability as a food company to make a difference in our communities, helping to drive societal change is extremely rewarding, and I am honoured to lead those efforts in Australia and New Zealand.
Our focus is on helping to tackle food insecurity – from working at the farm level to help build resilience against climate change so our farmers can continue growing the food to feed the nation through to donating food to support on the ground food relief efforts.
The need for food relief has increased significantly over the last 18months – some 70% up on previous years - as many communities around the country faced droughts, bushfires and then the global pandemic. The fact that we are in a position to help get food out to these communities, helping make sure families don’t go hungry, is definitely one of the most humbling and rewarding parts of the role.
A lot of people in rural and regional communities are doing it tough at the moment, so we’re increasing our support these communities and have recently entered a partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal. Our sustainability agenda is aggressive so we can help fight climate change (significant reduction in the consumption of natural resources, investing behind solar power, investing in improving soil health for farming to name but a few).
I am particularly passionate about diversity and inclusion and having our efforts create a gender-balanced workforce, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. I am super proud of our WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation received in 2020. It is truly gratifying to personally play a small part in the development of people and helping them to unlock their potential.
First line of your obituary?
I can be a little impatient from time to time to move things forward, so it may very well say “Why does it take so long?”. More seriously, I would hope that it would say that in my life I strived to do what’s right, not what was easy.
Best advice you ever received?
Early in my career as a freshly minted sales manager, I fretted at every little failure until my manager said to me “if the worst thing in the world happened today, the sun would still come up tomorrow”. So, the best advice I ever received is to always keep things in perspective and to hang on to your sense of humour when things get tough. I have grown to be a huge believer in progress over perfection!
What is the first holiday destination you are looking to visit once we can safely travel again?
Given that it will be some time before global travel resumes, we are now working through our Australian bucket list. Next on the list is to cruise the Kimberleys (WA) by yacht. Hopefully, our internal borders can stay open long enough so that at some point this year we can get to go on this little adventure cruise to one of the most spectacular and rugged regions of the country.