Global Week 2019

Hello! I’m Rohit and I studied Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto. Before the GMT Program, I was a PEY Intern (Professional Experience Year) on the National Trade Marketing & Sales Operations team! Currently, four of us are in Edmonton for our Supply Rotation and in between day/night shifts working in the brewery, I wanted to write and share our Global Week experience with you.

GMT Class of 2019 with Carlos Brito!

Global Week is a five day immersion into ABI’s unique culture. GMTs from around the world fly to St. Louis to learn from Brito, his Chiefs, Zone Presidents, and ABI senior leaders in Category Management, Innovation, Marketing, and Technology to name a few. The 2019 GMT Class consists of 208 talented individuals from every one of the SIX zones (Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle Americas, North America, and South America)! Here are my Top 3 highlights of the week along with a bunch of photos:

1. Global Week Innovation Challenge

Every Global Week, GMTs are grouped together across zones to tackle a brand innovation of strategic importance to the business. The added challenge this year was to adopt an Agile/SCRUM approach to how our teams collaborated and ultimately delivered our brand. Prior to Global Week, all GMTs received Agile/SCRUM training during our zone inductions.

Our challenge was led by Alice Ponti, Global Director of Innovation, and Flavio Sodre, Global VP of Risk Management (GRM). Our task was to innovate on 5 concepts based on the Bud Light parent brand that would help us recruit more Generation Z consumers to enjoy our products - we had to refresh our concepts, work with designers to redesign packaging/pack innovation, and develop the full 360 launch program for the brand. This included creating the mood board and customer personas, route-to-market strategy, trade marketing programs, and pricing & promotion, leveraging the Gen Z insights that were shared throughout the week.

There were 4-5 teams per brand, and consisted of everyone that was assigned to your specific table. Now the twist was, midweek, the organizers shuffled tables/teams so you had the chance to work with other GMTs from around the world, whilst refining the brand you were given to innovate on! We completed work over 3 sprints, building on the strengths of the other concepts/strategies of teams working on the same brand.

Liz and Rohit trying to figure out different beer styles.

2. Category Expansion Strategy, with Anne Stephens - Global VP

This was one of my favourite sessions all week. Anne Stephens joined ABInbev through the SAB Miller acquisition and led Portfolio Strategy for them for years. Category Expansion is the strategy associated with growing beer and near beer products in alcohol appropriate occasions vs. our competitors and other beverages outside of alcohol.

Along with this strategy, is the Market Maturity Model that she played a crucial part in developing in her time with SAB. This model maps countries across the world onto a chart by level of maturity of alcohol in those markets: accept, formalize, socialize, routinize, and sophisticate vs. ABIs market share in those markets.

What’s amazing is that we have a comprehensive framework/strategy that can analyze and develop products and portfolios specific to the market maturity of each of our business units around the world. #ChallengeAccepted

3. Dream People Culture, Carlos Brito - CEO

Last but not least, the most anticipated session of Global Week was the two hour keynote/Q&A with our CEO. Brito, focused on what makes ABInbev’s culture so special and why its of such strategic importance to the success of the company. In his words, “we are the company.” The people make the company. So how do we talk about the “company”?

  • Refer to ourselves as we vs. they

  • Problems are for us to solve, not them

  • Challenges for us to tackle, not them

Keynote & Q/A with Brito, on Day 3.

Brito stressed that Teams > Any Player: our greatest strength is our people (Principle #2) and we are judged by the quality of our teams (Principle #3). Great people is the most important ingredient to our business and will ensure that the business is built to last 100+ years. The company (read: we), focus on retaining talented people; ABI people are ambitious, gritty, and believe in the power of meritocracy.

What does it mean to be a meritocracy? ABI rewards its people for being cultural ambassadors that build great teams and ultimately drive results that move the business forward. We don’t believe seniority or tenure correspond to the level of responsibility and leadership a manager has - immutable factors such as the amount of time someone has spent in a firm has no place here!

Finally, the bedrock of our culture is the idea of ownership. Owners are connected to the future of the business and to share value, you must create value. Being an owner means you take your results personally (Principle #6) and will do what it takes to deliver on our shared dream - bringing people together for a better world. Brito finished his session with a toast - a special beer was brewed for the GMT Class of 2019 called the Challenger Beer and we got to take one giant photo with him!

Notable Keynotes:

  • David Almeida, Chief People Officer

  • Pedro Earp, Chief Marketing Officer

  • Felipe Dutra, Chief Financial & Solutions Officer

  • Jan Craps, APAC President

  • Michel Doukeris, NAZ President

  • Flavio Sodre, VP of Global Risk Management

  • Alice Ponti - Director of Global Innovation

  • Tracy Stallard - Head of DraftLine

  • Laura Brady - Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Other Notable Mentions:

  • Cardinals Game @ Busch Stadium!

  • St. Louis Brewery Tour & Biergarten Happy Hour

  • Passion For Beer - evening spent learning about ingredients that make various beer styles!

  • Kings of Beer - viewing this great documentary

  • Women in Leadership Panel

  • Shark Bar / PBR / Ballpark Village #ifYouKnowYouKnow

That’s all from me for now! Hope you learned a few things about ABI Culture and the GMT Program.


#BestBeerJob #HereForTheBeer #LeadFutureGrowth