Jessica Spence – The First Lady of Marketing in KP (Translation)
18 March 2010
"Never stop learning" - this motto of Jessica Spence has led her to one of the most desirable positions in FMCG and made her the youngest board member and the Vice President of Marketing of Kompania Piwowarska.
Jessica Spence has been with SABMiller for 5 years. Before assuming the post of a Vice President for Marketing of Kompania Piwowarska, she was Director for Marketing of SABMiller in Slovakia. Earlier, she held a marketing position in Russia and with SABMiller plc. Before joining SABMiller, she worked for such companies like J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett.
"I love working in the beer industry; it is a market segment in which people have a good time and which they treat emotionally. KP has a fantastic portfolio of brands consistently built throughout the years. Working with them is a true privilege," admits Jessica Spence,
Jessica graduated in philosophy from Cambridge University and completed her post-graduate studies at London School of Economics. She also has an MBA from Insead, one of the biggest private schools of business and management in the world.
"Although a MBA seems to be most appropriate for my work, all three elements of my education prove very useful on an everyday basis. In fact, philosophy proves to be most useful!" admits Jessica Spence and goes on explaining: "Philosophy teaches one structure and logic of thinking, so indispensable for man in everyday life. If a brand manager presents to me the advantages of certain activities to promote a given brand, I assess them as I would in philosophy: ‘What kind of premise do you base it on? Why do you think it makes sense? What is your opinion about it? What kind of logic and argumentation are you using?'"
Once she graduated in philosophy, Jessica decided to put her feet firmly on the ground and took up economy. It appeared very soon that she loved microeconomics and once she graduated from London School of Economics, she started working in advertising.
Woman at the top
"A woman as vice president is still a rarity. However, I never felt it to be a handicap. The SABMiller culture is all about results; they are the only thing that matters, so it is not about the gender," says the Vice President of Marketing of Kompania Piwowarska.
Jessica Spence believes that good management of people is about understanding a person and going mentally beyond somebody's gender, age or education.
"Every project needs the right person with the right experience and the appropriate attitude," states Jessica. "It is my job to create the environment in which everyone, in spite of background and experience, may register a success matching one's abilities."
President Jessica listens to people and approaches every problem, project or person with appropriate flexibility. "It is the board's job to create the environment in which employees may truly contribute to the company's development, and to apply a large dose of flexibility. If the employees wish to have flexible hours of work or should they want to work longer or shorter hours, we must facilitate it for them, always keeping in mind that they contribute greatly and bring tremendous experience which should be utilized by the company."
Passion and discipline
"When jogging, I think about work; when swimming, I think about work as well. But when I practice ballet, it is impossible; if engaged in ballet, one doesn't have any place in the head for anything else but ballet. You enter a practice room and it doesn't matter if you're a vice president or anybody - you keep on practicing ballet and for one and half hour nothing else exists apart from the practice, technique, your own body and the ability of expressing the music. It is my best way of relaxing," reveals the Vice President.
Once she turned 3, Jessica started ballet and was absolutely fascinated with it. Regrettably, due to her height she had to give up a dancing career but she has never given up ballet itself. She completed a course for ballet teachers and taught children ballet in London. Today, ballet is still with her often in the form of shows which she watches frequently. But whenever the occasion arises, she dances herself.
"Ballet has taught me discipline. I used to dance for 2 hours after school and then had to do my homework and make sure I had good grades. With time, you learn how to make all of that work and you are exposed to management from your early childhood. In addition, ballet is based on perfect technique and strict but very clear rules," continues Jessica.
Place on Earth
Paris, London, Moscow, Bratislava are only a few places where Jessica Spence lived because of her work. When asked about her own place on Earth, she said: "It is where my Mom is, so it is Luxemburg." Jessica spent her formative years in Luxemburg and this is where she spends Christmas every year. She also feels great affection towards London and Singapore, the latter being the place where she completed her MBA. Currently, her life straddles between Moscow, where her husband lives and works, and Warsaw and Poznan.
"I consider Poles extremely friendly and ready to help, which I needed a lot in the first few months of my stay! Compared to other countries I lived in, many more people speak English here, and that it is good. This is wonderful in general but perhaps not so wonderful for my Polish competence. Even when I try to say something with a terrible accent, I usually encounter a friendly smile and an answer in fluent English!" says Jessica.
To the Editor:
Kompania Piwowarska - leader of the brewing industry in Poland
Kompania Piwowarska is the biggest brewing enterprise in Poland. Several centuries of experience in the brewing industry, state-of-the-art technology and the rigorous observance of the norms of production on the world class level guarantee the highest quality of the product. The company offers, among others, the most popular Polish brands: Tyskie, Żubr, Lech, Dębowe Mocne, Redd's, as well as international premium brands like Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch and Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Kompania Piwowarska (established in 1999) own three breweries (Tychy, Poznan, and Bialystok) and 14 retail outlets all over the country. Kompania Piwowarska engages also in social activities like fighting against social exclusion because of poverty as well as educational programs popularizing responsibility and moderation in alcohol consumption. The volume of sales by the KP reached 15.1 M hectoliters of beer in the financial year concluded on March 31, 2009.
SABMiller - one of the world's biggest manufacturers of beer
Kompania Piwowarska is a part of one of the biggest manufacturers of beer in the world - SABMiller plc. The group produces or distributes beer on six continents, and its portfolio includes internationally known Premium brands such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro or Pilsner Urquell, as well as leading local brands like Aquilla, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow, and Tyskie). SABMiller plc is among the biggest companies in the world (outside of the US) bottling the products of Coca-Cola. In the financial year of 2009, concluded on March 31, SABMiller registered gross receipts of 25.3 B dollars and reached gross profits of 3.4 billion dollars. SABMiller plc is listed on London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.
Additional information can be obtained from:
Public Relations Specialist
tel. +48 (61) 66 77 473
mobile: +48 695 592 926
fax: +48 (61) 66 77 850
This SABMiller subsidiary news release has been translated from its local market language to English language for publication on www.sabmiller.com. We have attempted to provide an accurate translation of the original material but due to the difficulties of translation slight differences may exist.
Note, the news release was first published in its local market on [18/03/2010].