General Manager for Unilever ,West Africa, Carl Cruz has reiterated the need to develop the youth who are expected to play critical role in the future of every country.
He said youth development remains a priority area particularly for the company which uses its resources in helping shape young minds as it is linked to the very existence of the company.
Carl Cruz was speaking to Joy Business in Tema at Unileader session dubbed “Journey to the boardroom” with some Unilever student ambassadors from selected tertiary institutions.
“This session forms part of our plans to groom the youth for the future by spending our time, effort and resources to do our part. It is important because this group would play a significant role in future of the industry here in Ghana,” he said.
The session which centered on leadership allowed participants and virtual audience ask questions relating to leadership, career, academic background, family, challenges, West African market among other areas.
With three decades of working experience, Carl advised the students to take advantage of the unprecedented interconnectivity and be able to adapt to changes as the world transitions.
“You should always keep learning regardless of the experience you have. To be able to do this, I must unlearn what I know to be able equip myself with the competencies, capabilities that is required of me,” he added.
Having risen to the boardroom through various functions in the company, he noted that successes over the years have certainly not been without challenges and failures.
The company is looking forward to succeeding in West Africa as done in India, Philippines and other markets.
“One of our goals is to discover our greatness in West Africa, specifically in Ghana, expand our portfolio and increase our positive impact to consumers here”
“And of course in the communities we operate in such as the plantation in the Central region, much more investment to come and bringing capabilities that are required to make bigger impact in the life of the Ghanaian consumer,” he continued.
Asked what could take West African market to compete with India, Carl Cruz responded that the market’s population of over 400 million inhabitants provides an opportunity if factors impacting business such as foreign exchange, depreciation and improving supply lines are dealt with.
One other important question that came up during the session was how the company was responding to inflation across the globe.
To this, Carl Cruz indicated Africa strategy from 2020 was volume led but in 2021 inflation kicked in and for 2022, the strategy shifted from being volume led to price led which is a temporary shift in focus to protect their viability.
Human Resources Director for Unilever Ghana, Michael Otchere Duah was excited at the outcome of the session.
“We see a different trend anytime we organize this programme looking at the quality of questions the students asked. Such sessions expose the students to various issues which help build their confidence in the end”
“Such sessions help spot talents and bright minds which we are able to track their development in school and through that they fit into our recruitment funnel into the future”, he explained.
Mechanical Engineering student and brand ambassador for Unilever Ghana at Ashesi University, Ernestine Sogah shared what she took away from the engagement.
“ There is the need to always embrace change as the world is evolving. Do not let your past glory interfere with your future goals”
She encouraged others to look out for future opportunities having being an intern in the past.
For Public Relations student at Ghana Institute of Journalism and brand ambassador for Unilever Ghana, Vincent Amedzake, the programme helped put his mind at ease considering Carl Cruz’s experience in the corporate world.
“The challenges he faced helped him become better version of himself and this will go a long to help me after school. One must also be ready to learn and unlearn when it becomes necessary. He also taught us how to listen to others”
Meanwhile, Human Resource Business Partner, Functions for West Africa, Paul Agbai advised the students to take advantage of the opportunities presented them including Unileader sessions, Idea Trophy among others aimed at equipping them for the future.
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