Workplace mental health

#66 A global achiever, Sandra Martinez, CEO, Nestlé Oceania

Jun 17, 2024

Sandra's lifelong connection with Nestle began at the age of seven in her native Ecuador, when she met a man from the company who sparked her passion to work for them. This encounter shaped her journey which ultimately led to her role of CEO of Nestle Oceania. Sandra's diverse career took her to various countries around the world. Now, her international experiences have shaped her leadership approach and contributed to her success.
    
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"For me, there are 2 points on caring - One, it means ensuring that your people feel safe. Second, they are empowered and fulfilled."
- Sandra Martinez

DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE

  • What caring in the workplace means for Sandra
  • Self-care strategies for staying fresh during tough times
  • Creating a psychologically safe environment where people feel free to make suggestions and voice disagreements

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Transcript from the interview


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SPEAKERS

Graeme Cowan, Sandra Martinez

 

Graeme Cowan  04:13

It’s a real pleasure to welcome Sandra Martinez, CEO of Nestle to The Caring CEO. Welcome, Sandra. Nice

 

Sandra Martinez  04:22

to be here. Thank you for the invitation.

 

Graeme Cowan  04:25

My pleasure. What does care in the workplace meant to you Sandra?

 

Sandra Martinez  04:33

Let me start but probably sharing my thoughts on what that it doesn’t mean. And I think it’s important because for me, care in the workplace doesn’t mean that we lack accountability, or we don’t hold people accountable. For me, this clarification is important because I believe that caring For our people on our teams, and holding them accountable for their work and their deliverables. It’s not mutually exclusive. And sometimes I hear people that say, You know what, I cannot be a caring leader because I need to drive performance. And I said, Well, I think you can be both. In fact, I really strongly believe that a caring and yet demanding leadership helps teams and individuals to find what drives them, and to reach their full potential. So now, what cares means to me, I’m very, very simple person. And I basically tried to put things in in two or three principles. And for me, that are two points on that. One is that caring about people means that or ensuring that they are safe, and feel sake, first. And second, that people are empowered and feel either accomplished or fulfilled. It’s easier said than done. But that those are my two principles on that matter.

 

Graeme Cowan  06:23

Very much so. And that’s why you’re a guest on the caring SEO because we believe that a caring CEO is some of the champions a culture of care, and a culture of high performance.

 

Sandra Martinez  06:35

Absolutely, I don’t think I don’t think they the one can go without the other. Yeah.

 

Graeme Cowan  06:41

You’ve had a remarkable career. Sandra, you’re now the CEO of Oceania for Nestle, as I understand that covers Australia and New Zealand and also the South Pacific region. But you started in Ecuador, time ago, just for the benefit of our listeners, a bit of an overview of that journey, because you’ve been everywhere.

 

Sandra Martinez  07:09

Yeah, it’s it’s a, it’s a law. It’s almost more than 36 years now, I think, of that journey. Yes, I was born in Ecuador. And I was born in a rather humble household or home, in a small town in Ecuador, that is called the Golden province. And it’s called the Golden province, because it is a place where you can grow anything from bananas to cocoa. We have fish problems, you call it we call it shrimps. And I was born in farming in a farm in a cocoa farm. My uncle had another farm that was dedicated to milk with with cows and all that. And I always tell this story, because it’s incredibly how things happened. And you end where you end. So I remember once being at my uncle’s farm, and this guy from Nestle farms and you know, gives him some tips here, there, whatever, about how to make his farm more productive. I was probably seven years old or something like that. And I was really surprised by the fact that this guy never asked for any payment for his services, right? I’m gonna say what how can that work? So my Maya will display No, because if I if I do the things that he recommends, my cows will be healthier, the milk will be better and they will have better quality or something like that. And I remember saying to myself, maybe one day I would like to work for them Yeah, me after after that, those those experiences working for them. And I really am really grateful for the opportunities that I have had a close my career. I started in Ecuador. After university, Nestle was my second job in a way. I started as a grad, as a trainee did almost every job trying to understand the company. There were opportunities that were put in front of me, some of them are bit scary that says, Oh, I don’t mind I’m not sure I can do that. But let’s try. Why not? And a, we I grow with a company, my husband, at one point, decided to have his MBA in Switzerland. And I was really very naive. I was very young. And I asked my boss at that time, if I can get a job in the headquarters in Switzerland, why not? And at that time, you know, he said, Well, you know, you just started, you need to kind of have a track record before asking to go to headquarters. So he said, I don’t think it’s possible. Anyhow, we went. And then I decided why not having a second door. So it knocked the door of the headquarters and, and I say, hey, you know, I’ve been working for Nestle this time. And I would like to have an opportunity, and they gave me the opportunity. And since then, I have not looked back. I went back to Ecuador, after my husband finished his MBA, and then I said, Would you like me back? And they said, of course, with all this, you know, experience why Now that said, what now under my terms, because I got that. So I loved marketing. I didn’t have any any background in terms of marketing, I had studied computer science, by then by they gave me the opportunity, again, to do marketing without a title in marketing. And and I think they remember they said, What do you think you will be good mark? And I said, because it’s common sense. And I have a lot of common sense. So it started there. And they started to move, you know, they asked me to go to Switzerland, again, this time to a much more, I will say, senior a job. I went there. Then they asked me to go to Venezuela to do the confectionery business for them there. I went there. And I have been going through some Latin American countries, I went to Canada as well. After Canada, I went back to Venezuela, and this time as the CEO of Nestle Venezuela in a very difficult environment. And time in 2010.

 

Graeme Cowan  12:07

Gonna say, Sorry for jumping, jumping in, but I understand that in that appointment, you were the first woman appointed to see Yeah,

 

Sandra Martinez  12:14

that was that was the first one that was the first female CEO in Latin America or in the Americas. Right. Having that role. It was it was quite I would say confronting from that point of view in such a, I would say, difficult environment with with a regime that was more on the, you know, Cuba and communist kind of side, a lot of threads about nationalizing your assets, price controls, all the things that, you know, for one, to be your first CEO role could be daunting. But I think I’ve always said, I’ve been lucky to have fantastic teams, and with a team, we will navigate those waters and totally is one of the jobs that I feel most proud of. Yeah,

 

Graeme Cowan  13:10

yeah, that’s wonderful. You’ve just showed incredible adaption adoption, be able to evolve with what happens? What do you practice anything that enables you to be so adaptable?

 

Sandra Martinez  13:28

First of all, I think when you are born in some of these countries, if you are not adaptable, you will soon be gone up there. So I think I think there is no options for for us, or for me, you learn that since since since you’re small, but I think the one process thought process that I have every time that I you know, I have either decisions to make, what is the worst thing that can happen, right? If I get that job, but know that if I go this way, and that do I feel okay with that scenario? You know, Can I can I live with that scenario? That is why when it’s about decisions that are probably challenging my moral compass, right, I said, how good I feel after this decision is made. And I will feel feel I will still feel proud of myself. I got to still look at my kids in the eye and say, I am your mom. And when I feel good about those things, I go with those decisions, I think with a sense of confidence and a sense so I may not have all the answers now but we would find a way.

 

Graeme Cowan  14:54

Have you learnt you know great leadership lessons from

 

Sandra Martinez  14:59

it? Think from everyone to be honest with you, Graeme. And you know, I don’t think I have one person that said, this is the one I think, you know, from my parents. They were probably the ones who gave me the first kind of, you know, lessons in Sly about your life is in your hands. Yeah. Your choices will make your life. Yeah. So be mindful with the choices you make. From, you know, bosses that I have had throughout Nestle good and bad. Not many bad, but you know, when one said, Okay, that’s one thing that I will never do when I’m in that kind of position. Right. And, and also from from my team as well. You know, sometimes we believe that we learn from people that are senior towards sales, but probably some of the most life changing less as I have received from from people in my team.

 

Graeme Cowan  15:57

Yeah, yeah. And really, anyone can lead these days, can’t they, they really, if they’ve got an idea of that passionate about or that they can sell it, convince people, if they engage people in it and get them in, you know, engage with the idea, again, that that potential does or does arise. And so yeah, I really believe that that anyone, anyone can lead you mentioned right at the start that a key component of care was, you know, people feeling safe. And of course, that’s physical safety. And we’ve been talking about physical safety for a long, long time. But in today’s environment, it’s much more about psychological safety. Absolutely. And you know, people feeling they can be their authentic selves, people feel that they can take moderate risks and know they won’t be crucified if things go wrong. How do you as a leader, facilitate that sort of ethos?

 

Sandra Martinez  16:57

Listen, I think I again, do right, I try to put these things in simple terms, I believe that there are two things that I always try to cultivate in a team whenever I move countries or remote positions, and one is about ensuring that there is trust in the system, right. I believe that trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. And when when there is trust, right, there is less time is spent in second guessing. Yeah, and more time is spending, how can we do this? Yeah. I also think that when, when there is trust, there is this sense of I belong to this place, I belong to this group, and belonging is important as well, to, to have that that sense of, you know, I wouldn’t say family because I don’t want companies to think that we can create family environments, because sometimes we need to be ready to kind of leave our company a labor job. And legal family is a different story. But this brings this environment where people can feel safe, right, because there is distrust, the only thing that is very important for me is the way that you communicate as a leader or as any member in the team, I will say, but you have to role model that right? And for me is communication from your heart. And what do I mean by that? First listening to understand listening with curiosity, right? What what is the context? What are the circumstances of not only the person that is talking to you, but of the issue if there is an issue, right. And when once you get that deep understanding, responding to whatever the situation is the question the feedback, the issue. With I will say, with transparency, being yourself being real, good candor, I think candor makes so much better, our relationship, people feel so much, much more safe, right? Some people call it vulnerability. I try to be careful with that word, because people may misinterpret that word, but is that is that that way of communicating, which we say You know what? I’ve been there before. Well, this is how my experience was, I don’t know if it’s relevant for you, but this is how I manage it, right? And I found that the more trust, the more candor I give to my team, the best relationship, the best performance, the best culture that we can create.

 

Graeme Cowan  20:25

Yeah, I really 100% agree with, you know, the listening side of things. One of the people I’ve interviewed on this show with bob chapman has brought up a very successful business family business in the, in the US, and it’s global, now build it up from 20 million to over a billion dollars in turnover. And he wrote a book called everybody matters. And it was always his contention that you show that you care by talking, but by listening, and listening with empathy, so people feel understood. And I think more and more, we need that curious mindset, which you mentioned, as well, we’re really trying to understand not just the surface issues, but some of the underlying issues as well. And, you know, when we do get that, when that is talked about, honestly, that’s when you can make some very, very fast progress, rather than pretending that everything’s okay. And then people you know, jeopardizing it outside the room or because they don’t really believe in it. So is, is that something that you’ve consciously worked on for a long time? Or is it just something that you inherently had? Right from the start? No,

 

Sandra Martinez  21:39

I think I, I don’t recognize the sample for you. Know, I’ve learned, I learned, you know, that sometimes with making mistakes the hard way, but But I’m happy that I made those mistakes, you know, at the start, because it’s just through reflection, and through going through those moments in which to say, Ah, yes. How could that happen? When, when you learn faster? And those are the lessons that you’d never forget? Yeah. So yeah.

 

Graeme Cowan  22:19

What’s a significant project that you’re really proud of that could be in this role or previous role, but something that probably wasn’t easy? But, you know, with the systems, you’ve got it over over the line? Does anything come to mind?

 

Sandra Martinez  22:35

Well, yes, yes, I’m really proud about a work that started probably during COVID, in 2020, end of 2020 2020 21. And it’s about trying to find a solution for recycling soft plastics here in Australia. I’m sure if somebody of my colleagues is listening to this podcast, they say, there she goes again. But it’s really something that I am so passionate about, and, and feel proud of the progress that we have made, because it has not been an easy problem to solve. It has required the collaboration of many in the value chain, some of my competitors, right. The retailers, the government, the council’s trying to understand their where do they come from, from their perspective, putting myself on that on those shows and said, Okay, I see, I see how you see the problem. I know how I see the problem, how can we, with all those different perspectives, find solutions to solve it. And I feel really proud that with the help of so many, and the contributions of so many, we have been able and we are almost almost I cannot share much, much yet. But almost there in terms of together, putting or brains putting our money putting our resources to solve it. Well, that’s all I can say so far. Yeah,

 

Graeme Cowan  24:18

that does sound incredible. And I know, you know, the environment is is something you’re very passionate about. And I’ve heard you talk in interviews about, you know, the desire to reduce the impact that that Nestle has, I think there’s a goal of net zero by 2050. As an organization, how do you keep that on track? How do you monitor what’s happening and keep making progress? Yeah,

 

Sandra Martinez  24:47

it’s a huge, huge effort. We started first by being absolutely transparent about what was the baseline. Where did we start? In 2018, and then if we want to be net zero by 2050, we work, we work from that deadline backwards, what we will need to do is identify in aware, the major part of our emissions was coming from. And when we identify that big chunk of emissions rising, okay, that is where we need to put our attention. That is where we need to focus on, and really working on projects that we measure every year, every and we have milestones. So for 2030, we have all to reduce the 20% of our emissions by 2020 3020 to 25% 2040. Right. 75 And then the 100% in 2015. Yeah, so it’s all this kind of very method, mid dolly chicle milestones and actions to be deployed and developed. And the constant monitoring, if we are tracking Well, yeah,

 

Graeme Cowan  26:08

yeah. And I think I remember correctly, that, you know, your actual operations, and a huge contributor, I seem to recall about five or 10%. And the rest is in the value chain, the supply chain.

 

Sandra Martinez  26:23

Yeah, it seemed farming, right. Remember that I told that story about that, that that person that came to help my uncle? Exactly, I don’t know. 50, whatever years ago, I didn’t say how many you are going to make up my age. But But is that exactly farming, right, is when we get our ingredients where we get or meal with a good or that is responsible for more than 77 0% of our emissions. So for us as a food company, working with farmers trying to help them or not trying helping them right to to have had better farming. equipment, but better farming practices, right to reduce that emission is important working with, with the authorities in in those countries where farming is happening, to make sure that these farmers have access to financing us as well, helping them to breach right, because it’s going to be two or three years. So have a hard time for them in terms of probably lowering their income lower in their productivity to get into into the right into the right trend without the emissions after that. So it is it is complex, and it is the product of incredible individual efforts of the many people that work and other organizations that work with are with us to make that happened.

 

Graeme Cowan  28:05

Yeah, yeah. And I also saw the LinkedIn profile that you’re on the board of cocoa producers, is that right? Or

 

Sandra Martinez  28:14

worse, I was with my previous role before Before this, I was the Global Head for confectionery, which includes the chocolate products. And one of the challenges that the chocolate industry has, is to ensure that the cocoa that we source is doesn’t have any child labor in the supply chain. And it’s a very complex problem because majority 40% of the cocoa production comes from from Africa. And in Africa, the the farmers, the cocoa farmers are super small, are you there are more than 2 million farmers in Africa. And they are very far away from major city centers and all that so the kids in this small farmers don’t have a school to attend a school that is close to them to attend. So they help their parents in their in their farm right. And that is considered child labor. So we work with with Mike again, you know, we get together competitors with all the legal framework to avoid any any kind of issues under the work of foundation umbrella to together try to see what can we do to avoid that to to tackle that much faster than if we do it one by one. Yeah, hearing at a pretty competitive level the best practices on how we are sourcing a product without ensuring that there is no Child labor on it. And it was a very fascinating experience. Because I was the only female in that in that group. And we were discussing about kids and child labor and all that. And I said, nice. Have you thought that, ma’am, can be a good person to talk to, to ensure that kids go to school, instead of providing the premium that we were we were ready to pay to those farmers, right? To the farmer, which was a male in 95% of the cases, let’s pay that premium to mom. Right? Because she will ensure that the kid goes to school. Yeah, moms all around the world. They give their lives for their children. So that was an aha moment. And then we started also to work as a subgroup in terms of how we can help the females.

 

Graeme Cowan  31:00

In the Ingles households, yeah, yeah. mazing work and, you know, obviously lots and lots of different stakeholders, and I’m sure lots of egos as well, but you can’t really make significant progress with lots of egos. Can you just, yep, I have to focus on the end game really, don’t you? Absolutely.

 

Sandra Martinez  31:21

Absolutely. And I think the the problems and the challenges that we’re facing as humanity these days are such and huge. That I believe we all have understood that. Without our egos, we can go further than that, with collaboration with good intent. We can all be part of the solution, because at the at the end of the day is only one planet that we have. That’s the end of the day, you know, when you think about your grandchildren and the children of your grandchildren. Right? What What kind of place? Do you want to live them?

 

Graeme Cowan  32:02

Yeah, I love it. African proverb, which is if you want to go fast, go alone, to go far go together?

 

Sandra Martinez  32:11

Absolutely. I love that one as well.

 

Graeme Cowan  32:16

The last four years have been quite a roller coaster. You know, we’ve been hit by challenges that we’ve never had in our lifetime. How did you? First of all, how did you handle it yourself? You must have had lots of lots of people are what are your time once people trying to sort things out lots of people wanting certainty. And often you can’t have can’t guarantee that when things are unknown. How did you keep yourself well? What sort of practices do you have in your day or your week to keep you with some fuel in your tank?

 

Sandra Martinez  32:55

Yeah, that’s a very good question. First of all, I love having some exercise. And I am so fortunate to be in this beautiful such a beautiful country. I always tell my team do you don’t know how lucky you are with a beautiful place that you call home. And, and they go for a swim probably two, three times per week when I can do that, because these days, it too is too dark. And I’m afraid of sharks in the dark yoga, or walk or just you know, these kind of things. That is one do. The thing that I do is meditation. I tried to do my 20 minutes meditation every day. But one thing that I learned during COVID gram that made a huge change in how I approach the stress is conversations with myself.

 

Graeme Cowan  33:54

explained, explain. Listen,

 

Sandra Martinez  33:57

COVID was not only it’s extremely challenging for me, as a CEO as for any other CEO in the world, for what was happening, but in my case was compounded by the personal that situation I had to go through during those years living in Australia. My youngest son at that time was 1616 and a half. And during the last so he went into into COVID in his boarding school in Switzerland, and went through the first kind of year and then he called us and he said I just can’t do this anymore. Because it’s so that cannot see my friends. The teachers here are the school is so strict and they had to write so strict, you know, I just I just can’t do this anymore. Well, but I can’t go to Australia because it’s my last year of school and I just, you know, so we decided with my husband that my husband will go to Switzerland to to be with him, and they both rented an apartment. And I stay. If you recall those times, there was no view of when Australia will lift the restriction. So I didn’t know when I was going to see them again. Wow. And I was on my own right trying to deal with us, because you remember, it was very strict restrictions here in Australia. So I went so far, for a period of time in a bit of unit, I felt overwhelmed. And I said, I need to find a way how to, you know, remain strong for my team is strong for my family, and a strong for myself. So I had a friend in Canada, and we used to kind of have this, this virtual wise, on Friday. And she said, You know what, Sandra, I think you need to learn how to enjoy your own company. And that was profound. So, because I felt that I needed to have these virtual meetings where you know, but at one point, I felt lonely. And I am somebody that that gets the energy from people. I love people, I get my energy from people. But I learned that I also need to find how to gain my energy from myself. And this, this kind of, you know, conversation with the mirror started. were fascinating. And now, every time that I, you know, they have an important decision problem wherever I locked myself in the in the bathroom, I look at my mirror, and I start this conversation with myself. You can’t imagine how many, how much wisdom? I’ve been able to tap on that I didn’t know I had, how much strength? Yeah, so that’s the story about COVID My personal experience and the gift that God gave me. Yeah.

 

Graeme Cowan  37:17

And did you meditation slept before then or during that period?

 

Sandra Martinez  37:21

My meditations had started before. But I could say that now they have a completely different meaning. Right? A completely different meaning.

 

Graeme Cowan  37:34

And do you follow any particular type of practice or meditation or is just sort of a hybrid version of

 

Sandra Martinez  37:41

this, honestly, how I feel during during the day, you know, sometimes I just put music, sometimes it’s just a question of breathing techniques, other times his prayers, right? It is. But it’s this moment, just to kind of you know, and I try to always do it in the morning to say, okay, it is a new day, and you know, a new opportunity, and I am ready for it. And I’m centered, I feel centered. Yeah. It’s

 

Graeme Cowan  38:10

wonderful. I’ve been a regular meditator as well. And they’re friendly enough way, a way to get off the off the wagon in the first sort of four or five months of COVID. And I’ve had traditionally some really bad mental health issues and long periods of depression. And I started to feel myself going down again. And it was really a matter of sort of pulling back. Realizing that I had let go, that practice that I sort of, you know, had, you sort of have this blur all over the over the day, and you’ve got to do it later or later, or do it later. And then I just realized that I had to make it my top priority. I had to do. The first thing I woke up, it was the most important, my number one thing and so I had to do it then. And yeah, you know, there is something about that the tumultuous time that we went through, that I think has really helped us to understand better what’s truly important. And similarly, and I know, a number of families friends of of ours who’ve had children that went through mental health crisis as well. You know, particularly young women, young girls, you know, really had some tough times and continue to it hasn’t gone away. But, you know, it is very, very important that, you know, we maintain our own health and also the health of those around us, if we can. So if given some wonderful insight, that about yourself, and COVID and what really helped you and you’ve got some really great practices and rituals in your life. Have you as a CEO monitor the mood of Nestle OCEANIA?

 

Sandra Martinez  40:01

Um, I work a lot, you know, through the offices I, I know that we have a flexible working environment most people come, I would say 50 60% of the time to the office. I tried to be here Monday to Thursday, Friday, there is nobody so there is no, no reason for me to come. And when I’m when I’m here, that’s what I said, right. So we are going to be here, come to be present come to connect with with your, with your colleagues. Because if you come here to generally just, you know, be on your computer, I mean, you can do it at home. And that’s why for me being here, physically face to face is important. The other thing that I do is that I have a quarterly meeting, in which we share how we’re doing. Are we are we, again, on in line with with our plan? What’s on my mind, how I see the next the next quarter? Coming? What are the key challenges, opportunities, etc, etc. And then I dedicate or we dedicate because not only me is my entire leadership team, we dedicate a big half hour, or sometimes even more, to questions from the team. And we do it through an app. It’s called vivox. And the questions are all anonymous. And then the team they vote on the questions. So the question that gets the most votes, it’s the one that gets, you know, answered in that order. It has been very clear about being anonymous, because they really want to see and understand what is going on, because we have been going through through the critical moments, right? The environment over there is not easy. We have been reorganizing the team, in some areas, some people had to leave the company, because we have been doing some shifting of certain tasks to some teams in, in Philippines, where our company has a center of excellence in those kinds of tasks. So I know that it has not been easy. And I knew and I know that there are you know, some questions that are there that I know that if I asked openly with a name and it may not come, I want to know, I want to understand how my team team feels. And I want to respond on the spot. Yeah. Why is this, how it is going to work, etc, etc. So those those are the two things that I do and I think are very useful for me to kind of really have a real sense of of the temperature in the company because this town called that we call this all the 5000 people can access virtually we have it face to face here in the office, but all the other teams from from the other locations. Attend virtually and they can ask questions. And and yeah, it has been an eye opener.

 

Graeme Cowan  43:16

Yeah, I love those two elements, you know, one synonymous, so you know that you’re getting the full picture or the unfiltered view, which is great, but also that people vote for what they really relate to. So if you can only answer five questions, you know, that are the most pertinent questions. That’s that’s a great way to approach it.

 

Sandra Martinez  43:40

What was that app called? Again? You mentioned the box, a B EVx. Detox, reverse.

 

Graeme Cowan  43:47

There’s also been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about, you know, this new psychosocial risk, psychological risk, and Safe Work Australia have identified, you know, 14 different types of risks and as workplaces where we’re meant to really understand if these are issues in our workplaces, and then knowing what are the risks then to be able to address them? Have you done anything systematically in that area? Or how have you approached that that we

 

Sandra Martinez  44:25

have we just had a couple of maybe a month ago, presentation about the the results of the survey that that went that the company went through? Graeme, we are thinking about exactly that. Because we are very good now at a we have very strong protocols for physical safety, right. In a manufacturing environment as the one that we work on you know of Course machines, trucks, forklifts, etc. That is quite well stablish systematic. Sometimes we just need to kind of ensure that everybody is top of mind of, you know, moving around these places mindfully of where Daniel may be. But I think that is under control, or systematic, as you said, on on the psychological hazards, I think we have a long way to go. And I’m not saying that as nicely but as as the world, right? Because I think we are starting to understand much better that if we have a healthy, energetic, happy people in our workplace, we are going to perform well. And, and when that doesn’t happen, we have some, some, some points of concern. So I can’t respond to that yet. But we are thinking about what watch things beyond what we know what we are doing now. So now we have the whistleblower, kind of hotline anonymous, where everybody can can, you know, say if they don’t feel safe, or whatever reason, or whatever, we have the EPA program, which we provide a support for people, when they feel that, you know, they need to talk to someone, we have the mental health aides, which is you know, people that is trained within the company, to support it, someone you know, may just need that. Are you okay, kind of compensation, we have all that. But it is it is one thing, it is one day it is going here, I think we will need to go one level up and make that system much more holistic, much more. Like would say organize some very well monitored, as we do with with the other physical safety hazards. Yeah, so we’re working on it. Yeah.

 

Graeme Cowan  47:18

And I think that more holistic solution also really involves understanding how important managers all over the organization are in that in the conversations they have. Because those conversations can help identify if there’s issues or some red flags occurring. If you’ve got skills on how to advise people to, you know, and help seeking that sort of that sort of thing. I think that that’s something that I’ve been very, very passionate about. I mentioned before we came on that I’ve been involved with, are you okay, for, you know, I was there for 13 years. And I think there’s something even further that that needs to happen, not so much, you know, course the conversation is really important. But it’s also providing expert help seeking, you know, showing people how to find a mental health savvy GP, how do you prepare for mental health discussion? How do you confide to people that what’s going on? And I think that is going to be a very, very important link the things

 

Sandra Martinez  48:32

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think the other the other part that is seen, from my point of view, extremely important is making sure that we treat all these mental health challenges as any other challenge and, and there is not any stigma, to the person that may be going through a situation like that. And I think one way in which you can do that, as a leader is sharing your own changes, right? And it is incredible, the impact that that kind of candor has on your team because they look at you and they say, Well, if she has gone through this, it means you know, it is anyone can go by this. It’s not it’s not a question that you know, you are broken or you are different. I mean, we are all human beings. And we all go through moments in our life when life is low, and energy is not there. And, and we can, and most that most of the time, it’s not easy for us to get out of that on our own. And we just need that friend over, you know, Team sort of a resume that says, hey, I think you need this, right? Yeah. So I think that is super important. And

 

Graeme Cowan  50:00

the story telling, like you mentioned, you know, is the most powerful thing, you know, when, if they see a leader who’s respected and prominent talk about things that have happened to them, it makes a big difference. We’ve just rolled out an elearning program for our supermarket managers. And I had the CEO, two or three minutes, introduction to the course, where he talked about, you know, his struggles and how important mental health was for him. And it is that Canada, even even if you haven’t been through it yourself, you know, supporting someone who’s been through it, whether it’s a family member, or, you know, someone at work, just helps to de stigmatize. Because there still is a thing where people when they’re going through it feel alone. I think that, you know, there anyone going through it, but it is, it’s just become so common, and solidly.

 

Sandra Martinez  50:56

And we know that the earlier that we can treat those symptoms, because it’s just the best. So it’s so so, so important.

 

Graeme Cowan  51:06

Absolutely. Well, it’s been absolute pleasure catching up today, Sandra, a couple of quickly, the time has gone and Oh, yes. I really appreciate your candor and sharing some very, very personal stories. And, you know, it is a remarkable story that at seven years old, you know, you saw someone from Nestle, and thought I wouldn’t mind working.

 

Sandra Martinez  51:38

At the other end of the world, 

 

Graeme Cowan  51:42

I always finish with one question. And that is knowing what you know, now. And you have mentioned that, you know, Sandra Mountain is today is very different. Sandra Mountain is when she was a team. What advice would you give that 18 year old self? Knowing what you know, now?

 

Sandra Martinez  52:00

Wow, that’s a very profound question. I think probably the most important message or advice could be don’t let orders, take the power that is in you.

 

Graeme Cowan  52:18

Right? Don’t

 

Sandra Martinez  52:21

Don’t let others take the power that is in you. Sometimes when we are young, we tend to take constructive feedback of criticism, so deep into our heart that we lose confidence in ourselves. But he’s incredible the power that that we have inside ourselves. So my advice is that don’t take Don’t let anyone to take that power within you. And the second one is no matter how to have difficult you think you are going through now 20 years from now, 10 years from now, you will look at that. And you will see that relatively it was not as bad and you have survived. Yeah. So you know, bad things and good things will pass. Just enjoy the moment.

 

Graeme Cowan  53:29

That’s a great message to finish on that. Sandra, thank you so much for being part of the caring co

 

Sandra Martinez  53:34

Thank you, Graeme. A pleasure. Okay, all the best. Bye Bye. Ciao.

 

 

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