The best way to understand the motivations behind why someone got category management certified, is to ASK! Hear from this month’s feature on their certification experience.

Meet Brian Bishop-Wilkey with Bob Evans Farms!

What is your current role?
I am currently a Senior Analyst for Developing Channels and Corporate Strategy with Bob Evans Farms

What level certification did you achieve?
I recently achieved Certified Professional Category Manager

Why did you decide to get certified?
To begin, the certification process really served as a way for me to settle into the industry. I came into Category Management from a research background not long after CatMan 2.0 was released. At the time, I had very little knowledge of industry best practices or processes and my manager, Anne McCarver, CPSA, set me on a course to learn by diving in head first. I caught up on the 2.0 white papers, went through some training modules and sat for the CPCA test.  It was after that test I realized there was some aspects of category management I might not get to do unless I try to specifically study them.
I realized that studying and certification was only going to make the Category Management at Bob Evans Farms more valuable, and I didn’t want to wait to put the information I was getting to use. Despite it being earlier than recommended, I studied and sat for the CPCM certification as soon as I could because I wanted to spend more time using the knowledge gained in my daily work.  By the same token, I’m trying to build on my CPCM certification knowledge every day, because I know the business unit as a whole will be strong once I can earn my CPSA.

What do you hope to improve/achieve in your current role due to the addition of your certification?
I work in the e-commerce channel now. It’s been very exciting to apply the knowledge needed for certification with the recent guidance from CMA about E-commerce. It feels like a lot of practice before you head out on the field and try to score for the home team. I’m hoping my certification helps Bob Evans be a category pioneer in this new channel such that we’re the model for the rest of the category.

Any additional comments on your experience?
The certification can be rough if you don’t actively try to reach out to other members of the field (both on the manufacturer and retailer side). If you’re willing to put in the work, though, you’re going to end up more well-rounded with the backing the CMA, who truly wants you to succeed.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Brian!

*Looking to achieve certification? Learn more here. To start the process, contact Dan Strunk at dstrunk@cpgcatnet.org  or call 312-342-1044.
*Have you been recently certified in Category Management and are interested in being featured? Email Diane Milanese, we’d love to feature you too!