From industry giants like E. & J. Gallo Winery, Diageo, and now Breakthru Beverage Group, Maggie Lapcewich‘s career in the alc bev industry is impressive. As Breakthru’s Chief Growth Officer, she credits her extraordinary experiences in the industry as a motivating factor for keeping her in the space for so many decades. And if she had to work elsewhere, she’d build a company of her own that would combine her two passions: tequila and dogs.
We caught up with the industry leader to ask her six questions about leadership, mentors, and more. Watch the video and check out some highlights below.
1. If you could work for any company in the world, what would it be and why?
To be honest, I’ve worked for great companies already. If I were to really say what is the one company, it might be Maggie’s Donna Margaritas Tequila and I’d launch my own business, my own company. And who knows, when I’m retired on a beach someday and decide to do that, you may see that margarita out there or that tequila, so if anyone wants to join me, please do.
2. As a leader, how do you epitomize your company’s culture?
We’re a very scalable organization — a 6 billion dollar organization — but we operate in a very agile, kind of inclusive environment that allows our talent to grow and develop because they have access to executives. And it helps give the proper exposure in a very positive, collaborative environment that allows for that talent to really be the best in the industry in my opinion. I think we have a fun culture. We move with pace. There’s not a lot of red tape and I can’t ask for anything more.
3. If you could start one charity, what cause would it support?
My charity actually has nothing to do with what I currently do in the beverage business. I am extremely passionate and have always had this dream (maybe it’ll be part of my tequila company someday), but I think dogs are an amazing thing. I think how dogs can help people, whether it’s somebody who’s disabled, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, whatever it may be — that opportunity to really make somebody’s life better because of the four-legged friends is what I’m most passionate about.
4. As you consider your career, who has had the most significant impact on you and why?
It’s a pretty easy answer for me. I mentioned the companies I’ve worked for. I actually started out of school working for a CPG company, Playtex Family Products, so four organizations over my career. I can honestly say on less than one hand, I have a mentor, maybe two, in each of those companies, but less than five mentors across my career that are true mentor-mentee relationships. You have to kind of find each other. It’s not just a hand-picked, ‘this person’s going to help guide you’ thing. And each one of those individuals is still in my life somehow. I keep in touch. We keep in touch with each other.
5. What’s the most important leadership advice you’ve ever been given?
‘Only you can make yourself happy.’ I think as a younger, developing associate in my career, I didn’t understand what that meant. I always thought people managers should tell me what to do and how I should progress forward, but really it is about navigating your career, understanding what your work-life balance is, as well as knowing what truly makes you happy: what truly drives your inspiration and satisfaction in what you do? That advice resonated with me as I got older and it became more and more clear to me how I wanted to balance my career and life.
6. Who do you nominate to be featured next and why?
I’d love to hear from others who’ve taken some risks and said, ‘You know what? I’m going to pivot and do something different, and here’s how I went about it. Here’s the risk that was involved. Here are the ups and downs. And now here’s where I’m at with my own personal success story.’ So if there’s anybody out there like that who wants to share that story and roadmap, I think that’s personally who I’d love to hear from.