Hershey’s Development Potential Program Builds Leaders From Within

Originally published at thehersheycompany.com. The Hershey Company ranked No. 6 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.


While sitting in a conference room in Hershey in August, Leslie Johnson suddenly felt chills go through her body.

Johnson, who is a Customer Sales Executive on the Hershey Strategic Convenience team, looked around the room and saw 35 colleagues from all around the world — Mexico, Canada, Brazil and beyond — who, like her, had been selected to participate in a three-day leadership development program for future Hershey commercial operators. When we announced that Johnson and the other participants represent a group of leaders that Hershey is choosing to invest in, Johnson said she had an “aha” moment, realizing what a special opportunity this was.

“It struck me that this is an investment by Hershey, and their way of saying we see potential in you in the next five, 10, 20 years as a leader of this organization,” shared Johnson. “I feel honored and humbled, and I want to ensure that the work I’m doing is at a high level, at all times.”

The August session was our capstone for Hershey’s Commercial Operator Development Program, which kicked off in January. Next year the program will merge into the new Development Potential Program where the participants, who have roles in sales, marketing, finance, supply chain and our salty snacks division, will receive data-centric assessments to pinpoint strengths and development needs, coaching to build a personalized development plan and exclusive access to mentors, along with a formal learning curriculum and rotations through different jobs and experiences.

The leadership initiative started with a simple question: How do we accelerate development for people who will be the future commercial leaders of our organization? By focusing on four distinct categories — analytical and strategic thinking, financial acumen, entrepreneurial ownership and consumer and customer knowledge — participants will learn new insights and skills each quarter. We see them as future leaders of the organization, and building their skills in those key areas are critical for Hershey to be successful commercially.

The new program reflects the commitment of Hershey to our “employee value proposition,” which is the pledge Hershey makes to our own employees to help them continue learning, growing and reaching toward their full potential. At the same time, Hershey, which recently earned its Great Place to Work Certification for the U.S. business, becomes stronger when it builds leaders from within.

Read more at thehersheycompany.com.


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