In 2002 Caroline Aspridis joined CUB as an Operations Graduate, fresh from a degree in Chemical Engineering and Arts at Melbourne University. Her subsequent career pathway has been anything but traditional, as she has made her mark on various areas of the business.
Looking back at her start at CUB, what advice would she give those joining the company now? “Ask lots of questions. It’s beneficial to both the employee and the employer if you ask plenty of questions, voice opinions and share ideas. Learn about the needs of your internal customers and find out what your team needs from you in order to deliver its objectives.”
From her first role she moved on to become Draught Operations Manager and then Commercialisation Project Manager in 2008. Never fearful of new challenges, Caroline next accepted her first management position with SABMiller as Manager – Trade Brewing and Supply Innovation. During this time she generated a lot of hype around the CUB brand by combining her brewing expertise and market insight to concoct a brew to appeal to a more female-centric market. “We targeted the taste to align with the characteristics we knew women liked from our consumer sensory work.”
With such a variety of roles, is there one that stands out as a favourite?
“I always think that my favourite role is the one that I’m currently in. However, from a career perspective, when I started working on NPD projects for Supply I was exposed to the commercial side of the business and it changed my career path. I enjoyed helping to link Supply/Logistics with the commercial objectives of our business, and was driven to learn more about the broader business as a result. It resulted in me striving to complete an MBA and helped me to understand what I wanted to get out of my career.”
A passion for the company and industry shines through in her work and her leadership approach, as she guides and inspires her team of connoisseurs to direct new product development.
“It’s a great place to work and the people make it what it is. We invest time, energy and money into our breweries to ensure they are set up for the future. And I truly appreciate all the opportunities that AB InBev, as an organisation that believes in the value of meritocracy, offers.”
Sixteen years and eight roles later, Caroline’s career has been nothing short of inspiring, and she continues to ensure the success of the company today, seeking out new ways to implement improvements and define an innovative path for the CUB of tomorrow.
“I love that we are constantly striving to be better than our previous best. I’m currently working on extending the CUB ways of working as my goal is to optimise and integrate how we do things with our global teams, so that we can have all the support and advantages of being part of a global business.”
With a long and successful career involving many challenges along the way and, no doubt, more yet to come, is there anything she wishes she’d done differently?
“I would have loved to have learnt earlier that it’s okay to voice opinions and share ideas with senior leaders. A turning point for me was about four years ago when I realised that, provided I was prepared and knew my numbers, my opinion could be shared freely and be just as valued as that from anyone of the C-suite. Feedback and ideas are valued from every level of the business. Learning this earlier would have given me more confidence in previous roles to come forward with ideas, to speak up and to get things done more effectively.”