People to Watch 2020: Bailey Sweet
Company: E. & J. Gallo Winery
Title: Senior Director, Customer Marketing & Brand Activation
Education: Hillsdale College (bachelor’s, political science and Spanish)
While adapting in the midst of this global pandemic, Bailey Sweet says a servant leader mentality has been critical to providing her team with the support it needs to drive results during a time of such tremendous change. A liberal arts education challenged her to think critically, says Bailey, but it was her college experiences both in and outside the classroom that taught her about being a leader who not only desires to serve others, but who also understands that intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing. “Having come from a sales background within the winery, a love of learning has proved essential in my career,” she says.
Sweet joined E. & J. Gallo’s sales leadership development program as a sales representative after graduation. Since then, she’s served in sales and management positions in eight states across the Northeast and Midwest. While director of customer development, she led the winery’s customer and category sales efforts for regional chains such as Meijer, Shaw’s and the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet. With Meijer, her team pioneered a “store of the future” concept and won “Vendor of the Year” in 2017. Prior to her current role, she was a retail sales director, leading Gallo’s retail wine and spirits division across New England and working with its partner wholesalers.
Today, as senior director of customer marketing and brand activation, she leads and directs the customer marketing and brand activation teams. “We build and execute upon strategy and initiatives required for best-in-class customer marketing, robust and relevant distributor marketing plans, and excellence of execution to ensure our brands grow,” she says. “Together we inspire our team and partners to pursue the overall objective to help consumers find, buy and enjoy our brands.”
Sweet says she is proudest of the success of people she has trained and mentored throughout her career. “When I view my career, it’s largely never been about me; it’s been about other people,” she notes. “I come to work every day for the people on my team and for the people I can help: my peers, the Gallo family, our customers, and our consumer. My greatest professional joy is supporting my team and investing in their personal and professional growth.”
The DNA of the winery’s commerce marketing organization is to provide data-driven insights that inform how to best meet consumer needs in the moments that matter. A cross-functional team was created to offer Gallo’s sales organization a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact, along with data-driven commerce solutions. That led the organization to rally around customer marketing initiatives for the upcoming holidays that are mindful of the consumer’s evolving needs in this time of immense change. “Thanks to the leadership of our CMO, Stephanie Gallo, we’ve approached all our work with a goal of compassion, empathy and flexibility,” she says.
As consumer adoption rapidly increased, she notes, the team shifted its efforts to focus more on digital and e-commerce. As one example, “This new environment focused on increased hygiene,” she explains. “‘No touch, low touch’ has allowed us to pivot to a digital-led coupon strategy to meet our customers’ and consumers’ needs.”