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Chris Kirwin

Graduate Leadership Development

Based in Brussels for his 3rd Graduate Leadership Development Program (GLDP) rotation, Chris is taking on the challenge of leading the sales execution strategy for 34 European markets.

Describe your path to your role in Brussels.

I joined Mars as a summer finance intern with no finance background whatsoever. Mars took a chance on me, and to be honest, I took a chance on the company too. After my internship, I joined the Graduate Leadership Development Program (GLDP). My first rotation was another new experience in Research and Development; in my second rotation I was a Global Innovation Strategy Manager and had the opportunity to present ideas to the President of Wrigley within 18 months on the job. Today, I manage the sales execution strategy for 34 European markets based out of Brussels.

Mars places a big emphasis on its Five Principles (Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom). How have you seen these in action?

My move to Brussels speaks to the principle of “Mutuality.” In my first two rotations, I was exposed to many different arms of the business, but this move provided a whole new understanding of the breadth and depth of the organization. For the first time, I was working simultaneously with markets that were small, large, mature, and developing. The willingness of leadership to invest in me showed that they were invested in my personal and professional growth.

What other opportunities does Mars provide for continuous learning?

Mars really empowers all Associates to reach their full potential. There is a long list of programs and tools to help build the skills you need to succeed in your role, while also supporting your career in the long term. Mars University has won several awards for their development programs, which include hands-on learning, classroom lessons and mentoring.

What is something that you’re most proud of?

My role in helping to create an Associate-led LGBTQ Pride and Ally network. Another associate and I were North American winners and global finalists for an Associate nominated award for those who ‘Make the Difference’ at work. Mars does a great job of creating opportunities to recognize others, and this is one of the ways in which this comes to life. It was a great honor and through it I was able to see how much Mars allows individual Associates to make their job mean more by enabling the passions of others.

Some interesting facts about Mars

Mars is a private, family-owned business with more than 80,000 Associates in 78 countries worldwide. Associates are guided by The Five Principles, and they put those Principles into Action every day.

With net sales of more than $33 billion, Mars has six different business segments with some of the most beloved world-class brands that have been around for more than 100 years.

For the fifth year in a row, Mars made Great Place to Work’s “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces” top 25 list, in addition to other workplace accolades across markets—including being named a Great Place to Work for millennials.

Mars takes learning and development seriously. Through Mars University, its global development curriculum, Associates had access to 478,193 hours of training in 2015 to broaden their experience, skills and leadership competencies.