At CUB, there is more than one way to get where you’re going when it comes to your career, and Kiel Smith and Emilia Babic are excellent examples of this As National Business Managers they might have the same role now, but they’ve taken very different paths to get here and each has distinct goals in terms of where they would like to go.
Joining CUB straight out of university in a consumer relations role, Kiel knew immediately that the company was the right place for him. ‘From a young age I understood the importance a nation places on its brewing heritage. Whether it’s Anheuser-Busch in the USA, SAB in South Africa or CUB in Australia, each brewery inspires national pride. This pride, together with the emotional connection I already had with CUB’s products due to my own experiences and those of my friends, meant I knew this was the place I wanted to work in.’
Within 12 months of joining the company, Kiel moved into a sales role as a Business Development Executive (BDE). ‘The move to sales gave me the opportunity to manage accounts for the independent retailers, pub owners and licensed clubs.’ Kiel’s career trajectory since then has seen him move from BDE to a role as Key Account Manager and then as National Account Manager before taking up his current role. Kiel had his eye on the prize and was focused on targeting the role of National Business Manager for 18 months prior to being promoted. He says, ‘I knew it would require a higher level of strategy development, negotiation competence and leadership skills than I had. I built a personal development plan to ensure I developed those skills and set myself up for success when an opportunity opened up.’
On the other hand, Emilia’s career journey started in the finance industry. It was her search for a fast-paced environment that led her to make the shift to FMCG, a move that took her to Chicago before she returned to Melbourne to join CUB as Senior Commercial Business Partner – Woolworths. ‘This first role with CUB saw me working across both the Dan Murphy’s and BWS businesses, working with the sales team to deliver a strong trading program partnering with Australia’s largest retail liquor customer,’ Emilia told us.
It was this role that ignited her passion for sales. ‘My love of sales emerged later in my career, growing out of my partnership with the sales function in this first role. I loved the fast pace, the intensity and the accountability in sales, as well as the fact that decisions made by the sales teams always translated into genuine impact.’ So, two-and-a-half years after joining the CUB team in finance, Emilia made the cross-functional move to sales, stepping into the role of National Business Manager for Dan Murphy’s. ‘When the opportunity to move into sales came my way, I surprised myself with how excited I was. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that you should never say no to an opportunity, no matter how much it might challenge you. Being thrown in the deep end is how I learn best!’
Now, as National Business Managers, Emilia and Kiel are both looking towards the next steps in their careers and their respective future roles at CUB. ‘My next goal is to lead a sales region and I would also like to broaden my knowledge of brewing and production,’ says Kiel. Emilia, meanwhile, has her eyes set on on-premises sales: ‘I’ve spent most of my career on the retail side of the business, both in my role now and in my finance partnering roles. On-premise is where we build brands and I’d love to be a part of that.’ Just as they arrived in the same place via different routes, Kiel and Emilia look set to continue to forge distinct – but equally rewarding – career paths moving forward.