Irene Chang Britt Encourages Smith MBAs to Know Yourself
Irene Chang Britt, the VP and general manager of Campbell Soups Sauces and Beverages division, spoke to more than 100 students on March 2, 2007, encouraging each to 'know yourself' to become a better leader. A vibrant speaker, Britt recounted the challenges she's faced as a woman, a minority, a foreigner, an entrepreneur, and a corporate professional, and how she turned those challenges into opportunities. Included in her speech were her 10 pillars of leadership.
It was really interesting to hear from someone at that level. To listen to how she got where she is, what she had to go through as a person and a professional, said first-year MBA student Donald Wood.
The event took place in Van Munching Hall's Frank Auditorium as part of the Smiths Executive Speakers Series, which brings notable executives from across the country in to meet with students. During her career, Britt has been an entrepreneur twice and has led marketing and business development initiatives for some of Americas favorite brands multiple times. Her resume is populated with companies like Campbell's Soup, Kraft/Nabisco and Kimberley-Clark.
At Campbell's, which was recently mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article on fostering female executives, Britt reports to Denise Morrison, president of Campbell's USA, who in turn reports to the CEO of Campbell's Soup Inc., Doug Conant.
Her speech was inspirational, said second-year MBA student Eda Alada. Part of her message was that it isn't so important where you came from or if you're woman, you have to work hard. You succeed by working hard.
Prior to joining Campbell's, Britt was senior vice president and general manager of the Salted Snacks Division at Kraft Foods Inc. from 2003-2005. She spent a total of eight years at Kraft/Nabisco, starting in Strategy, becoming vice president and business leader of the Canadian Biscuit and Snacks Division, and then becoming vice president of marketing for Salted Snacks in New Jersey before taking over as SVP/GM.
Previous to her tenure at Kraft, she spent a total of 12 years at Kimberly-Clark, where she moved up progressively in marketing positions, with some key developmental assignments in sales and R&D leadership. Before she joined Kraft/Nabisco, she was director of the Washroom Systems Business for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where, in addition to her business management responsibilities, she also played a central role in integrating the Scott Paper business and organization, post-acquisition.
In serving both the business and social communities, Irene has been a two-time chairman of the New Jersey Kraft Employee Fund, co-chair and executive sponsor of two United Way campaigns, and has served on the boards of Nabisco Ltd., the Snack Food Association and StyleGarage.com. She is also a past-president of one of the regional boards of Big Sisters in Canada. In 2002, she was honored with a Corporate Achievement Award by the Organization of Chinese Americans for both corporate and community achievements.
Britt holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, where she graduated on the Deans Honor List. She was born in Taipei, Taiwan, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and has lived and worked in Toronto, Atlanta and New Jersey. She is currently living in New Jersey with her husband and two children, ages 12 and 7. In addition to her mother tongue, English, she speaks French and Chinese.
Susannah Campbell, MBA Candidate 2007, Smith Media Group