Name: Tony Piede
Current Position: Director of Category Strategy
Company: Nestle Purina Pet Care
Tenure with Current Company:  8 years
Years of Industry Experience:  14 years

GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR CAREER.

My earlier career was spent working in Architecture, but during the Great Recession I made the decision to change careers. After earning my MBA, I accepted an offer in Brand Management with Nestle Purina Pet Care in St. Louis. I’ve spent much of my career focusing on the needs of the consumer and making sure our brands continue to deliver on retail & shopper expectations. This experience gave me a strong foundation to category and has recently supported my latest transition to the Director of Category Strategy, a position I’ve held for less than two-months, which I’m thoroughly enjoying.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE OF YOUR CAREER?

Much like a parent witnesses their children grow up, a career can fly by faster than one would expect. Personally, I’ve learned it’s important to take some time and reflect on the changes embraced over the years and to capture all the personal successes achieved each year worked.

WHY YOU’RE EXCITED TO BE PART OF THE CMA BOARD:

I’m most excited for the opportunities to network, collaborate, and add value with the industry’s thought leaders.

WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE THE CMA PLAYING IN THE CPG AND OVERALL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

Continuing Education! If you think about the most influential industries (Healthcare, Architecture, Finance, CPG) they all have an established continuing education & certification program.  This is a benefit we often overlook, so I’m happy to hear CMA plays the active role in continuing our own education.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE CATMAN DISCIPLINE GOING FORWARD?

This is tough question. I feel there are several pressing topics today, but I’ll focus on what I believe to be most challenging: Sustainability. I believe Category Management needs to play a collective and active role in bringing shared value in Best Practices & Partnerships between Retail & Manufacturing. It’s the Goodwill created through our sustainable pursuits that will help grow and educate the category. We can’t do it alone, so we’ll need to rely on a collective body to make the right decisions for the category, and our world, moving forward.

HOW ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT 3-5 YEARS IN RETAIL?

Right now, I think about retail like someone trying to hit a moving target. With the rise and growth of Omni-Channel Retail, we’re going to continue to be pushed to better understand how, when, where, and why shoppers engage with certain retailers, brands, services, and technologies that simplify the shopping experience. This topic alone will remain a moving target for the next 3-5 years.