During Women's History Month, Mead Johnson Women Leaders Discuss the Importance of Our Core Beliefs

Posted on Mar. 15th, 2016 at 11:45am

The rise of working women has had a significant impact on global economic growth and world history. Over the last century, women have made undeniable strides, taking on leadership roles as heads of state, entrepreneurs and corporate executives.

During Women’s History Month, Mead Johnson celebrates the achievements and contributions of women worldwide and highlights our Core Beliefs – a way of thinking about our business and talking to our stakeholders about why we do what we do every day in order to support women and make a meaningful difference in the lives of infants, children, families and communities around the world.

The three tenets of our Core Beliefs are:

Good nutrition early in life supports lifelong health.

Informed Decisions: Parents want access to factual information to do what they believe is best for their babies and families.

Empowering Women: Most mothers trust infant formula to support their baby’s nutritional well-being and their own work needs.

Not only are our Core Beliefs essential to the millions of women who rely on our products each day, they are important to the women of Mead Johnson as well. As the only global company solely focused on pediatric nutrition, Mead Johnson is committed to having women at every level of the organization – from our board to senior leadership to those rising through the ranks in pursuit of their career aspirations.

“At Mead Johnson, we are unapologetic about the value we bring to society every day with our products and for women,” said Graciela Monteagudo, senior vice president and president of Mead Johnson Americas.

Ms. Monteagudo has served in a leadership capacity at Sam’s Club/Walmart and is now in her second stint at Mead Johnson. She regularly meets with industry associations and government officials to share the company’s commitment to supporting the economic empowerment of women.

“There is a strong need in society to have a balanced, unbiased conversation about the fact that infant formula supports normal health outcomes for children. We are having these conversations – and they are resonating, particularly with women who have relied on our products for their own children to balance their family and career needs,” said Ms. Monteagudo.

One of those women is Gift Samabhandhu, general manager of Mead Johnson Vietnam, one of the company’s top ten markets.

“As a working woman, I feel fortunate to be able to realize my career aspirations and have a fulfilling family life. I have two amazing children and a supportive husband, who dedicates his time to keep the family happy.”

How did Ms. Samabhandhu do it? By making informed nutritional decisions early in the lives of her now teenaged children and by having her husband as a true partner in parenting.

“Before we had our children, all of our decisions relating to mother and child nutrition were researched. We made a concerted effort to educate ourselves on nutrition from books, product information, call centers, family and friends – and most importantly – consultations with our pediatrician. It has given me peace of mind that we made good decisions – and we are seeing the positive results in our children every day,” said Ms. Samabhandhu.

Chantelle Cook, general manager of Mead Johnson North Europe, agrees that factual, balanced information is important to all new mothers.

Before becoming a mother, Ms. Cook considered the implications of motherhood on her career. After receiving unbiased, factual information, Ms. Cook made a conscious decision to pursue both, which for her meant transitioning to formula feeding her son when she re-entered the workforce.

“Like all mothers, I want the best for my child and I recognize part of that is about ensuring I am happy and fulfilled in my life too,” said Ms. Cook.

Today, women are entering the workforce at record numbers. In the absence of balanced information, many women are concerned about using formula, often feeling judged and guilty if they do. As a result, they are making decisions that impact their long-term career aspirations.

“Many mothers are making career choices that they might later regret, because they did not have enough information. As someone who is passionate about supporting female empowerment, we have to continue to make women more aware of our Core Beliefs and provide them with access to unbiased information,” said Ms. Monteagudo.

“Knowing you have the freedom to choose is important in most things we do. Having that same freedom when it comes to your child is most important,” said Ms. Cook.

Ms. Samabhandhu added: “Access to information is critical in making informed decisions – I truly believe this in making life choices.”