We are celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week by sharing a series of profiles of Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) alumni. Meet MBET alumnus Melissa Upjohn and see how she is empowering businesses as an intrapreneur.
Melissa Upjohn, Associate Brand Manager, Vodka & Gin, Diageo Canada
Melissa Upjohn entered the MBET program with an honours BSc. in Biology from the University of Waterloo. Melissa quickly realized that business was much better suited to her social personality and intrapreneurial spirit. MBET gave Melissa the business knowledge and skills she needed to thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure environments. Melissa graduated from MBET in 2009 and started her career as a Customer Marketing Manager at the biggest global brewer, Anheuser-Busch Inbev. She has since moved to Diageo to work on Guinness, and currently works on the world’s leading vodka brand, Smirnoff and Tanqueray gin.
Working on an innovation project or pitching a new idea on one of my brands brings me back to writing business plans for my practicum and competitions I participated in at [the Conrad Centre]. Learning how to give an effective 90 second elevator pitch comes in handy more than you’d think!”
About Diageo Canada:
Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer, and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Ciroc, Ketel One, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Guinness, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan's, and Bushmills. Our great range of brands and geographic spread means that people can celebrate with our products at every occasion no matter where they are in the world.
Impact of MBET
Melissa’s MBET experience was greatly impacted by the success of her practicum team, 2G Robotics, which won the LaunchPad 50K competition, placed 5th in the HKUST International Business Plan Competition, and placed 2nd in the OCE Discovery Video Contest. The 2G Robotics team also traveled to New Orleans to discuss field trials with industry leaders at the Underwater Intervention trade show.
Success to date
Most recently, Melissa was selected as one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under Thirty, 2013, which celebrates Canada’s smartest young thinkers in marketing. Other successes include:
- 2013 – Freedom to Succeed Award, Guinness Black Lager Launch, Diageo
- 2013 - Be The Best Award, St Patrick’s Day “Paint the Town Black” Campaign, Diageo
- 2013 - ELSIE Award, Social Responsibility, LCBO
- 2012 - Be The Best Award, St. Patrick’s Day Activation, Diageo
- 2012 - Level 2 Award, Wines and Spirits (WSET)
- 2012 - Level I Beer Enthusiast, Prud'homme Beer Certification
- 2011 - Six Sigma, Whitebelt Certified
- 2011 - Nominated for “AB InBev Global Recognition Owners Program” - AB InBev