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Marketing Director-Innovation

Mississauga, ON

 The Opportunity:

The Marketing Director, Innovation leads a consumer-centric innovation process for Maple Leaf’s retail branded meat business focused on accelerating our growth and share leadership in established and adjacent product segments. The Innovation team is the heartbeat of our innovation muscle leading the ideation and validation of a robust multi-year pipeline.

The Innovation team leads the full commercialization of a select set of innovative product segments through to retail launch before transitioning the portfolios to category marketing after an introductory period. For most product launches and product renovations, the Innovation team plays an important governance and coaching role supporting our category/brand teams in bringing innovations to market. 

Snapshot of a Day-in-the-Life:

  • Own the creation and validation of a robust pipeline of innovation ideas designed against meaningful consumer needs.  Scope includes innovation ideas for new platforms and new product lines. You will identify consumer problems and shepherd solutions through the pre-Stage Gate process to convert them into Stage Gate-ready opportunities; including:
    • Partnering with Consumer Insights to develop customized consumer research plans to validate and de-risk assumptions 
    • Developing ‘Need to Believe’ business plans built on solving consumer problems and ensuring project desirability, viability and feasibility
  • For new platform innovation, you will also:
    • Build prototypes and pilots when necessary, engaging external partners as appropriate
    • Support development of the selling story, in close collaboration with our sales organization to support customer sell-in across all channels
    • Partner with the Commercial Execution team to launch these new platforms through Stage Gate and into market, and leading in-market performance for an introductory term (~12 weeks)
  • Liaise and work collaboratively with Category and Brand Marketing teams to ensure:
    • Alignment and effective transition of projects from Innovation team leadership to Category team leadership
    • A smooth transition from the Innovation process to the Stage Gate process
    • Innovations within brands happen within the defined brand governance
  • Continue to strengthen and lead the pre-Stage Gate innovation approach, including governance, processes, tools, and metrics
  • Manage a team of 1-2 direct reports who will help deliver our innovation agenda (with potential for further expansion as we ramp up our Innovation agenda)
  • Lead the annual innovation planning process ensuring innovation goals are met 
  • Teach, help energize and help build fluency in the process with the Category/Brand teams and overall Marketing & Innovation organization
  • Partner with Finance to ensure progress is tracked, and results are consolidated, for all innovation projects to help the Innovation Steering Team monitor progress and provide guidance and support
  • Collaborate with the Category Sales Development (CSD) Team to develop a refined commercial execution process and governance that will delight our retail partners

What You’ll Bring:

  • General Manager mindset with a bias towards delighting consumers
  • A track record of delivering successful product innovations, and leading change, in a consumer-focused CPG environment 
  • The ability to navigate ambiguity and transform it into clarity for the organization
  • The advanced leadership, and change management, skills needed maintain and strengthen innovation discipline  
  • Strong relationship building skills with a well-developed “people interaction” skill set who can successfully navigate and influence a complex organization
  • A strategic and entrepreneurial thinker who will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, and who can be creative within constraints 
  • Ability to partner with the Consumer Insights group to identify meaningful consumer problems and develop and validate solutions, and quickly develop Need to Believe business cases and get to decisions on whether to proceed or not 
  • Ability to develop and sell-in business case plans for innovation and commercialization ideas
  • Must be a self starter with an ownership mindset; passionate, proactive and performance driven, with a bias for action  
  • Strong coaching and people development skills
  • Familiarity with (and experience applying) design thinking an asset
  • General MLF Marketing competencies:
    • Commercial Acumen - Solid understanding of key drivers of marketing, brand management,  P&L and Sales interdependencies, as well as  the ability to leverage them to identify and execute changes to move the business forward
    • Communication Skills - Able to effectively communicate consistently with a variety of audiences to achieve desired outcomes
    • Leadership and Influence - Able to stay focused on driving key business priorities in a dynamic business environment
    • Agility & Effectiveness- Skilled in mobilizing and managing teams to achieve commercial objectives
    • Critical Thinking, Insights & Strategic Leadership - Big picture thinking with an ability to clearly articulate a strategic direction, justified with sound fact-based rationale through insight and analysis

What We Offer at Maple Leaf Foods:

  • Being part of a high-performance, people-focused company that has an inspiring and unique vision to become the most sustainable protein company on earth, and a deep commitment to sustainable protein across North America.
  • An inclusive company culture and a work environment that keeps our people safe, rewards excellence, and empowers everyone to learn and contribute their best.
  • Competitive Health and Wellness benefits that offer flexibility to meet your individual or family needs, including programs focused on improving mental health and wellbeing. These benefits start on your first day of employment.
  • Defined Contribution Pension Plan with company matching that starts on your first day of employment.
  • Learning and development opportunities, including workshops, ‘speaker series’ events, and resources that allow you to develop your skills and progress your career.
  • Comprehensive tuition reimbursement program that supports continuous learning and development of our team members through investment in eligible degrees, diplomas, professional certification, or trades programs.
  • Supporting our deep commitment to community impact, we offer up to two paid days annually to volunteer at a cause of your choice.

About Us:

We’re a carbon neutral food company on a purposeful journey to Raise the Good in Food through better nutrition, safer food and workplaces, more humane animal care, and environmental sustainability efforts that protect our planet. We care about our communities and commit to reducing food insecurity in Canada. Join us on the journey. Let’s build a better future, together.

We’re passionate about food. For more than 100 years, we’ve made delicious, healthy protein that Canadians love under iconic national and regional brands, like Maple Leaf®, Schneiders®, and Greenfield Natural Meat Co.® We’re on a journey to become the most sustainable protein company – not just in Canada – but on earth.
  • We are carbon neutral.
  • We are one of the only food companies in Canada to set science-based targets.
  • We aim to reduce our environmental footprint by 50% by 2025.
We’re a global food company with more than 13,500 team members. We operate sites in 20+ locations across Canada. We also have locations in the U.S. and Mexico, and do business in Asia.

A diverse and inclusive work environment

Championing diversity and inclusion is a critical component to advancing our collective purpose and vision and living the Maple Leaf Leadership Values. We believe in building, investing in, recognizing, and rewarding remarkable people who value an inclusive workplace, embrace all forms of diversity, and commit to including every voice in our collaborative environment. We’re so much stronger when we know we’re accepted and valued for who we are and what we each bring to the workplace.

We embrace a strong, values-based culture

Our eight Leadership Values are our north star. They guide the decisions we make for all our stakeholders: our consumers, our customers, our people, our communities, our shareholders, and the environment.
  • Doing What’s Right
  • Shared Value
  • High Performance
  • Diverse and Inclusive Teams
  • Disciplined Decision Making
  • Our Accountability
  • Intense Curiosity
  • Transparency and Humility

Maple Leaf Foods is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all our employees.  As part of this commitment, we have adopted a number of COVID-19 safety measures, including a requirement for all employees to be fully vaccinated by March 31, 2022 and to show proof of vaccination.   In keeping with this policy, successful candidates will need to provide proof of vaccination by March 31, 2022 (or prior to their first day of work if the start date is after March 31, 2022).  We will of course consider accommodations for anyone unable to be vaccinated following human rights and other applicable laws
We thank all applicants for their interest in exploring employment opportunities with Maple Leaf Foods; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Applicants may be subject to a background check and must meet the security criteria designated for the position.
Championing diversity and inclusion is a critical component to advancing our collective purpose and vision, living the Maple Leaf Leadership Values, and delivering winning results. Accommodation is available upon request for applicants with disabilities in the recruitment and assessment process and when hired; please contact our Talent Attraction Team at accommodations@mapleleaf.com.


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