Nestlé UK and Ireland celebrates inspiring women on International Women's Day

Mar 8, 2016

To mark International Women's Day, Nestlé UK and Ireland is celebrating the inspiring women within the business.

The theme of this year's International Women's Day is to accelerate gender parity.

To support the day, Nestlé UK and Ireland will be hosting a series of events to discuss the company’s inclusion and diversity strategy. 
Activities include:

  • Focus groups at its Gatwick and York offices where both female (and male) employees can share their views on creating best practice gender solutions within the work place.
  • A virtual panel where employees can ask senior leaders questions about gender and inclusion in the work place.

As part of Nestlé UK and Ireland's celebrations, we have collated a series of case studies from some of the company's inspirational women.

Alice Bunting, Category Demand Planning Manager, Nestlé Waters, Rickmansworth

Alice Bunting began working for Nestlé 11 years ago after completing a degree in nutrition.  She started on a six month placement and more than a decade later is now in her seventh role within the business. Alice explains more about her inspiration and motivation for a great career.

“Nestlé is a company with such breadth of roles and so many top quality household brands, I challenge anyone to find an area of the business they cannot get passionate about. 

“As a result of what Nestlé has to offer I have had the opportunity to experience diversity in my roles.

“These have included quality assurance for Kit Kat industrial performance, shift management, supply planning, start-up manager for a new warehouse and I’ve also been part of the UK’s first in-house eCommerce webshop for Nescafé Dolce Gusto.

 “I’ve had the opportunity to visit and work with suppliers from across the UK and Europe as well as introduce a ground breaking material delivery system (mizusumashi).

 “Where else could you get this breadth of experience and opportunity to grow both yourself and the business?

“Without the inspirational female and male leaders that I have had the pleasure to work for and with, I would not be where I am today.

“It is now my turn to become an inspirational leader for the new generation of Nestlé leaders, whilst continuing to grow and develop my own career taking the opportunity to experience more that Nestlé has to offer. 

“I’m now in my seventh role at Nestlé in 11 years, if that is not variety I don't know what is.”

Deidre O’Donoghue, Country Business Manager, Nestlé Ireland


Deidre O’Donoghue has been Country Business Manager for Nestlé Ireland since April 2013. She joined Nestlé 16 years ago as Head of Customer Marketing for Confectionery. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the FMCG sector. Her Nestlé career has included roles in both commercial and marketing functions. Deidre says:

“I believe Nestlé looks at you and develops you as a person. The limit in Nestlé are the limits that you as an individual want to put on yourself. A year after joining I realised that I needed more commercial experience. As part of my development plan I was given the opportunity to move into a sales role as a channel controller.

“I think at the time some of my team were aghast at my appointment but that really had little to do with me being a woman but that I had no sales experience.

“When I expressed an interest in general management, I was given the opportunity to lead the food business and when I wanted an international career I was given the opportunity to work in Switzerland, Ukraine before becoming Country Business Manager in Ireland, the country where I had grown up.

“I give all these examples as I have found Nestlé to be very open to developing me but the onus was on me. I needed to work out what I wanted to do, what risks I was prepared to take and then I needed to align with the business on what I needed to do and what competencies I need to develop.

“My advice is to have a plan, be clear about what you want and do not be afraid to take risks. Be clear on the trade-offs you will need to make.

“Prior to joining Nestlé I had worked at an American multinational where I had had several female line managers so I had never really thought about gender issues. Whilst I have never found gender to be an issue with Nestlé I cannot say the same is true outside of work.

“You will need to make choices, everyone does regardless of gender and I have found it essential to align my personal life with my work ambitions.”

Emma Scott, Nestlé LGO Business Integration, York


Emma Scott started her career at Nestlé during her placement year at university. During her final year at the University of Derby, Emma was accepted onto the Stonewall Young Leaders Programme, which identifies leaders of the future. Emma is an active campaigner on LGBT issues. She says:

“I am more passionate than ever about trying to invoke discussion of what it means to be LGBT in the workplace at Nestlé.

“Bringing my whole self to work and speaking on these issues as a woman, is key to being my authentic self and maximising my potential in the workplace

“35 per cent of LGBT employees feel they are unable to come out at work. This figure is 10 per cent higher for with LGBT women. 60 per cent of openly gay LGBT graduates go back into the closet in their first role.

“As a young, openly gay woman, I am actively trying to make a difference by working with the company to understand how we can raise the profile of LGBT in the UK

“I hope that by speaking about these issues, we can change attitudes and aim towards an even more inclusive culture in Nestlé UK and Ireland.”

Emma Goff, Nestlé Food Insights, Gatwick


Emma Goff is a mother who credits Nestlé’s flexible working policy for allowing her to maintain a good work life balance. Based in the company’s insight team, Emma believes that women shouldn’t have to choose between parenting and working. She says:

“I am passionate about being a good mother whilst also achieving my career potential. Inspirational women in my life have been those that remain strong, accept failure and disappointment, adapt to their situation and never give up on their ambition.

“It is usually women who make the decision to work part time while their children are young. I made this choice. And it is a conscious choice. One that I know I am lucky to make.

“In my view, working part time does not mean being part-engaged or less productive. I have managed to carve out a rewarding career within Insight at Nestlé, with the support of flexible working.

“I won’t lie, it’s been hard but I’ve learnt to be resilient.

“What I’m most proud of is the example I am setting for my 13 year old daughter. She is growing into a confident, grounded and ambitious young woman. A woman who has no question of her worth in the world, and (I hope) is genuinely inspired by me.

“My biggest aspiration is that she negotiates the world of work and life balance when the time comes with no question that she deserves the best of both.”

Dawn Thompson, Shift Manager, Nestlé Tutbury

Dawn Thompson joined Nestlé in 2013 as a shift co-ordinator at its Tutbury factory. With no previous experience in a factory environment but through hard work, commitment and focus she has been promoted to Shift Manager after just two years. She says:

“Having no previous experience of working in a factory, starting as a shift co-ordinator was very daunting but also a very exciting new opportunity.

“I soon developed the role dealing with safety and compliance and became involved in two foundation pillars, goal alignment and compliance.

“Being part of these pillars gave me the opportunities to learn a lot more about the Nestlé way of life and also enabled me to quickly close any skills gaps that I had.

“It was a very intense first year which I enjoyed immensely.

“I have recently been promoted from Shift Co-Ordinator to Shift Manager, which after only being with the business for two years makes me feel very proud.

“I am currently the only female Shift Manager at the Tutbury site and the first in five years. I think that becoming a female shift manager in a very male dominated environment is an inspiration to others across the site, and although it is a very demanding role, it is also a very rewarding one.”

Emma Keltie, Manufacturing Excellence Manager, Nestlé Dalston


Emma Keltie is part of the leadership team at Nestlé’s Dalston factory. She joined the company four years ago and works with a team of 11 to manage the Nescafé Café Menu business. A food science and technology graduate, Emma says it was the advice of another person that gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams. She says:

“Looking from the outside, the food industry may look like a male oriented workplace – but this couldn’t be further from the truth! This International Women’s Day, I’d like to encourage women to join the many opportunities within food manufacturing. 

“It was after my degree that I met someone who inspired me to see the bigger picture and who opened my eyes to all the possibilities a career in this industry could offer.


“I now enjoy helping others see that they can do anything they set their mind to! I believe we are only limited by the constraints we put on ourselves.

“Before joining Nestlé I worked within the fresh produce industry and then in the meat industry. Both gave me an insight into fast moving consumer goods in a very male dominated environment and also to the old-fashioned management style of harder, faster and louder.

“When I moved to Nestlé I quickly saw that the company valued people empowerment and diversity which is a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

“As a leader within Nestlé I'm responsible for unlocking the potential of others and helping individuals further themselves. This is by far the most rewarding part of my role.

“I want to actively encourage further diversity within Nestlé, because I have seen how our differences can make us more effective in raising our collective potential.

“Many businesses share the same technology as us but the single biggest thing that sets us apart from other companies - is our people! I’m proud that Nestlé is a very inclusive business and grows talent on the merit.

“I have never experienced such a powerful celebration of our differences spanning across gender, age, culture and nationality.”

Helen Simpson, Nestlé UK Technical Controller, York

Helen Simpson took a job at Nestlé with a view to stay “a couple of years”. A decade later she is still happily working for Nestlé and says it is a feeling of job satisfaction and the drive to deliver top results that has kept her in post. Helen says:

“Nestlé has given me the opportunity to work in different areas and has presented me with a number of exciting and interesting challenges, allowing me to really make a difference. 

“There’s nothing more satisfying than starting a role feeling like you have a huge mountain to climb, and moving onto your next role realising that not only have you reached the summit, but that you are also surrounded by a team of people who have made the journey with you.

“Almost 3 years ago, I welcomed my beautiful daughter to the world, and my world changed for ever! I have now joined the thousands of parents who try to find the best work life balance to suit their family and their situation. 

“Thankfully our flexible working policy gives me the opportunity to manage my time in a way that works to my family’s advantage – I even have the pleasure of taking my daughter to a swimming class on a Tuesday morning before heading into work. 

“Having a line manager and a team that supports and understands what is important to me inspires me to continue pushing myself to deliver results.”

Alison Stancliffe, Innovation and Renovation Manager, York Factory


For Alison Stancliffe, working at Nestlé has taken her out of her comfort zone, while creating career opportunities. She says the company has helped her to realise her potential. Alison says:

"After graduating from Leeds University I joined Nestlé working in our York factory.

"Nestlé rewarded me as I had a first class honours degree, their belief in me back then empowered me to realise myself.  

"I started in product development for confectionery and this role moved me between locations and abroad, teaching me never to be afraid of something new.

"I have always been looking for new challenges and in my 25 years have grown in confidence and capability to be recognised in my field. My big opportunity came as nutrition, health and wellness technical champion for UK confectionery. I led high profile projects to improve the nutritional profile of chocolate and also delivered sustainable sourcing.

"Working for Nestlé has often taken me outside of my comfort zone but this keep my career moving. Now as Application Group Manager in York factory I am part of a strong leadership team, a perfect opportunity to scope and direct what this great factory can do.

"I believe you should always take on the day with passion and energy. Care about everything you do (at work and home) and be true to your beliefs.  Never be afraid to speak up, even in a room where you are in a minority."