It is a rare occasion that one is given the opportunity to expand your perspective and immerse yourself in something new – where cultural norms, living standards, educational levels and even the language is completely foreign. I am curious, excited and even a little scared by the journey I embarked upon this week. It will take me on a month-long journey around the world from my home in Long Valley, New Jersey, USA to the city of Amsterdam in Holland and ultimately into remote cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire in Africa.
My name is Christopher Cuello and I have been working for Mars for 16 years in a variety of roles including: working in chocolate factories as an industrial engineer, leading a sales team for the largest customer in the USA and I am currently in a cross-functional role focused on reengineering our value chain to deliver great customer service. First and foremost, I am a father and a husband. This assignment is important to me because I want my children and grand children to inherit a healthy planet. On a personal note, I have to thank my wife, Sarah Beth, and my two children for supporting me on this journey.
ABOUT MY ASSIGNMENT
My assignment began on Monday, September 30 in the center of Amsterdam, where I spend a week learning about UTZ Certified. On October 9, I will travel into the remote cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire to understand how cocoa is grown, learn about the people that grow it and share their stories. This assignment is important to me for several reasons:
- I want my children and grand children to inherit a healthy planet. Also, I grew up on a farm in Georgia where we grew vegetables and live stock, so farming is in my blood.
- Professionally, this will expand my business acumen in commodities and raw material sourcing.
I will be posting frequent updates on this blog about my journey over the next four weeks. You can also follow me on Twitter @c_cuello. I have two special organizations to thank for this opportunity. Mars Chocolate North America, my employer and my partner organization UTZ Certified, Better farming, Better future. Please click on Mars and UTZ to learn more.
I work for Mars Chocolate in New Jersey, USA. I have the privilege of participating in the Mars Ambassador program.