I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Michele Meyer about her impressive 30+ year career in the consumer packaged goods industry. Michele held numerous leadership positions at General Mills, culminating in roles leading major operating units. She was able to drive significant growth and transformation throughout her career.

When I asked Michele what has contributed most to her success as an executive, she shared some valuable lessons from her time at General Mills. One key lesson was to "trust the process." She realized that career paths don't always follow a perfect plan, and there are opportunities to learn along the way. Another lesson was finding her strengths and gifts, excelling in those areas, and focusing less on trying to be excellent at everything. This allowed Michele and her teams to operate at their highest level.

Michele also stressed the importance of humility and teamwork. It took her time to understand that the team is as important as any individual. When everyone contributes, the overall result is greater than what any one person could achieve alone. She found success by valuing diverse perspectives on her teams.

As the leader of General Mills' Small Planet Foods division, Michele helped grow the business from $100 million to over $300 million in sales in a short period. A big part of her strategy was trusting and learning from acquired brand founders like Gene Kahn of Cascadian Farm. She brought their valuable perspectives into General Mills' approach. Michele realized General Mills could learn as much, if not more, from smaller companies they acquired. This helped shift General Mills' marketing approach to be more complex, intimate and relationship-driven.

In our discussion, Michele provided insightful perspectives on operating in the natural/organic space from both a marketing and farming supply standpoint. She acknowledged the challenges of meeting growing demand for healthier products while maintaining organic certification requirements. Michele also offered thoughtful perspective on how price sensitivity impacts consumer decisions in this space.

Post-retirement from General Mills, Michele now serves as an Operating Partner at NewRoad Capital Partners. Her experience successfully acquiring and integrating brands serves her well in private equity. Michele emphasized the ongoing value founders bring through their unique visions. She aims to support founders in achieving sustainable growth.

Through our conversation, it was clear that Michele’s success stems from her willingness to learn, her focus on developing diverse teams, and valuing all perspectives - including those from smaller companies. Her career exemplifies how continual learning allows one to take on new challenges across different industries. Michele’s insights provide a great lesson for any professional seeking to maximize their own career impact and contributions.