Name: Martina Rodriguez
Title: Senior Category Manager
Company: Tropicana
Certification Obtained: CPSA

Q: How long have you or your company been involved with the CMA?

A: I have worked for several companies over the last 14+ years that have been involved with the CMA – Kellogg, Walgreens, and PepsiCo. The CMA provides category leaders with the tools and resources to stay up to date on the latest industry trends and best practices. I look forward to becoming more involved in the years to come.

Q: Thank you for renewing your certification! Why did you decide to become certified to begin with?

A: First, I think it’s important to keep your certification current not only because it’s an amazing accomplishment after completing the various rigorous exams but also, so you are up to date on the ever-evolving retail landscape.  I originally decided to get CMA certified because its industry recognized. Every company has different onboarding and/or learning development programs. Therefore, the three CMA industry-leading category management certificates help validate that an individual, regardless of company, has the know-how and can adequately apply the key core skills and competencies required at each level. Furthermore, when I interview candidates to join my team, individuals with CPCA and/or CPCM certifications are highly regarded and typically perform above-average.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you learned as you completed the training and certification?

A: As I studied for the CPCA and CPCM exams years prior, I increased my knowledge of planogram creation. I expanded my knowledge beyond its role as a “retailer shelf blue-print” into more “space planning and assortment optimization” which incorporated store level data, geodemographic insights, and macro trends in order to maximize retailer store space, increase shopper reach and improve category performance.

Q: How do you feel you will use this certification in your current role?

A: I have consistently used the certificates and the key learnings in two ways. First, I have used the certificate to advocate for others on my teams to invest in their learning and development. In addition, I have used the different frameworks to aid in Joint Business Planning conversations to create win-win solutions for both us and key strategic retailers.

Q: What advice would you give someone considering completing the training and certification?

A: It’s important to drive business growth in a highly competitive environment so carve out time out of your busy schedule to maintain your competitive edge. Although they weren’t available when I took the exams, the Associated ARC training courses are highly regarded and recommend exploring as one embarks on this certification journey.