Mars celebrated its 25th anniversary on the Czech and Slovak market and introduced its new „Sustainable in a Generation Plan“ at a gala evening held at Žofín Palace on November 15, 2017. The strong presence of external partners as well as senior Mars leaders marked the importance of the event in the region. Pamela Mars-Wright, representing the 4th generation of Mars family, was amongst the guests.
Both globally and locally, Mars has always believed its business will thrive and endure for generations to come only if the people Mars works with thrive, too. To highlight that, a creative panel discussion was held as part of the program hosting both internal and external experts including Pamela Mars-W right to share their insights on sustainability and generational change. The panel also presented a unique occasion to ask few questions to Pamela Mars-Wright.
How does it feel to be a fourth generation member of the Mars family?
It feels just normal, it’s all I’ve ever known. It’s great to be a part of this business, and I’m proud to be a part of carrying the legacy of my great-grandfather, grandfather and father forward. And, the the best part is knowing that we have a generation five and generation six – to continue that tradition. As members of the fifth generation are coming of age as adults, many of them are very excited to also have the opportunity to engage as their parents, aunts and uncles have done.
Now let me ask about the change, because over the course of 100 years the business changed but also the family changed, so how?
Our business has changed a lot, it has grown, we have made acquisitions, and we have gone to a lot more countries. But I don’t think that the fundamental values of our business are any different today. It’s still the same roots. It’s a bigger business but we try to keep that family feel, regardless of how big we’ve gotten. And our Associates are making this happen by keeping our culture alive.
The Five Principles have guided Mars for generations and made Mars a company that is growing and thrives to make a difference. These Principles are: Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom. My question to you is how you have managed to uphold these values, not only over one century but over so many countries and different markets?
People ask whether I grew up with the Five Principles. We may be a slightly crazy family, but not that crazy, so we didn’t have a sign in our house with the Five Principles on it. There is a couple of non-negotiables at Mars and one of them is the Five Principles, it’s what we live by. We all try to live them every single day as best as we can, both personally and professionally. And it’s worked very well for us. When we’ve lost track of them, which we sometimes have because we don’t do it perfectly all the time, we find our way back to those Principles and then we know we are on track again. Our Principles help us to be the company we are, but it all depends on our Associates striving to bring them to life every day. That’s what guides us and connects us all around the world.
Last but not least, you’ve recently introduced the “Sustainable in a Generation Plan”. You’ll invest over 1 billion dollars over the next few years to improve the working lives of 1 million people in your value chain. In the past you haven‘t been known to be a company that is very public. So, why now, and why in Prague?
Mars has always believed its business will thrive and endure for generations to come only if the people Mars works with thrive, too. Of course, our first focus is on our Associates, but we need to go even further to ensure that the people in our extended value chain are thriving as well – particularly the small holder farmers that grow the crops we use in our products. While the industry has been working on this as a whole, sometimes you have to step up and lead and be a catalyst for others to follow. And we as a family are very committed to sustainability. What we need is some uncommon collaborations, partnerships across industry and with governments and NGOs that will help to change the world and ensure that we still have a planet for our grandchildren and that the children of the small holder farmers in our value chain have a future. We have to do this now. By stepping up, hopefully others will follow and join us so we can make a difference.