A discussion with Leah Dunmore Vice President, U.S. Soup, Campbell Soup Company
Leah Dunmore leads the overall vision, as well as the strategic and operating plans, for the U.S. Soup portfolio for Campbell Soup Company. She is responsible for delivering profitable growth, strengthening brand equities, building an innovation pipeline, and leading and developing the talent of a team of marketers and dedicated cross-functional partners.
Former vice president of marketing for the more than $1 billion Post Foods cereal business, as well as marketing director for the M&M’s® business at Mars Chocolate N.A., Dunmore’s success in the consumer goods field—and her career accomplishments—are a product of her passion for the work.
“What has drawn me to different roles throughout my career is the breadth of the opportunity, the different aspects of the role, and the ways I believe I can add value to the business,” says Dunmore.
“That’s why the opportunity at Campbell was so exciting to me. It is an iconic brand and a wonderful company—very relationship-driven company—and this was an opportunity to head up an important part of the business in a role that is the perfect marriage of marketing and general management. It impacts all aspects of the business.
“No two days are the same. One day, I may be working with my advertising agencies and, the next, with the team at the plant to improve our cost structure, or with brand managers to build their skills. “
Dunmore says the right words and actions from senior leadership can make an incredible difference. “I believe my passion and optimism—for our business, our people, our results, and the bright possibilities our future holds—help inspire and motivate my team to think big and deliver brilliant results.”
PDJ: What makes a leader truly influential?
“A leader must invest time and energy to build trusting relationships. When connecting with people, I like to develop an understanding of what motivates them and how I can help them achieve their own definition of success.
“For example, I serve as a mentor and sponsor to several professionals within the Campbell organization who I believe have the potential and desire to succeed. I also support my alma mater, Spelman College, as I believe I can help Spelman continue to empower generations of African American women to prosper both professionally and personally.”
PDJ: Who first recognized your potential and desire? Who is it that inspired you?
“My father inspired me with his own success, strong work ethic, and his belief in the value of education. He has always demonstrated tremendous confidence in me and encouraged me to have big ambitions. My thriving career and happy family are a direct result of my father’s influence.
Headquarters: Camden, New Jersey
Education: BA, Spelman College; MBA, Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management
What I’m Reading: The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
Best Advice: It’s never too early to develop a vision for your long-term career goals. It is natural for your goals to change over time, but your vision will always inspire and motivate you, as well as others around you.
Leah, well said! Nice to hear your leadership thoughts.