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At the rate Roger Carrillo is going, he’s going to have led HR teams on every continent. Antarctica might be a little tough, but the senior vice president (SVP) of global talent, learning, and organization effectiveness at Mondelez International has proven time and time again that he is willing to travel to grow his own skill set and find new ways to become an even stronger leader.
Detailing Carrillo’s job history requires a map of the world, a pack of push pins, and, to his own admission, a tremendous amount of respect for his wife and family who have made every move along with him.
“If I told my wife we were moving tomorrow, she would be ready to go,” Carrillo says. “I’m so lucky to have found someone who has always looked at these moves as an adventure. We really love it, and my kids have had the opportunity to become truly global citizens. That experience will shape their whole lives. I’m lucky to have been able to give them that chance.”
Carrillo had moved to the US and back to Venezuela before he could even form concrete memories after his father completed his master’s and PhD programs in Pittsburgh. He holds up a picture of him and his brother, clad in Pittsburgh Pirate helmets, watching a game at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium which was demolished in 2000. To this day, Carrillo considers himself a lifelong fan of every major Pittsburgh sports team, despite not having been a city resident for a handful of decades.
The SVP could claim a dozen other cities and locations just as easily. After getting his bachelor’s degree in Venezuela, Carrillo would earn his MBA at Purdue University, move from Caracas to Brazil, from Brazil, to Illinois, to Miami, to Singapore. Now he lives between Miami and Chicago for his current role at Mondelez.
The HR leader’s employers have either been massive, or more massive. First, it was Phillip Morris who then purchased Nabisco and integrated with Kraft. After Kraft, it was Mondelez. Along the way, Carrillo has led teams for the Andean region, Venezuela, Brazil, North America, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and, eventually, the entire globe.
What has motivated such a wide variety of work and what seems to be an endless willingness to challenge himself and his family? It depends on which role you’re talking about. That’s what makes Carrillo so interesting. Every time he’s made a leap to a new location or taken on a new role, it’s because the challenge was different.
When Carrillo first came to Mondelez, he was named VP of HR for Latin America. “I had an opportunity to stay at Kraft in a very high-profile role, but I chose to come here and oversee Latin America,” the SVP explains. “That was against the recommendation of many of my peers, however coming back to Latin America was always in my list I wanted to give back to the region I came from.”
Carrillo advises that if one is truly intent on achieving a fulfilling career, that might mean watching peers pass you along the way. But the HR leader has always seen the full scope of the marathon, not just a quick sprint. He achieved significant growth in his region and then had the opportunity to tackle a completely different kind of growth a continent away.
“When I saw that Asia was a possibility for me, I knew I had to take it,” Carrillo says. “At the time, in Latin America, you’re not hiring a lot of people. In Asia, you’re hiring a ton of people, you’re building manufacturing plants and research and development centers, and it’s just a completely different kind of growth. That was the challenge, and it was amazing.”
Carrillo continues to experiment with talent initiatives that include mentorship and training, as well as utilizing technology and artificial technology to ensure that as Mondelez grows globally. But the SVP’s leadership is anything but strictly technical.
“I think my leadership has always been improved by the humanity I try to bring to my roles,” he says. “As I’ve traveled the world, I’ve done my best to make an effort to learn about the cultures and languages of where I have lived and worked. I believe that effort is important, and it makes your experience so much more enriching.”
That love of travel hasn’t diminished. Carrillo and his wife have visited many countries around the globe, and that passion continues. The global leader has found a way to make anywhere truly feel like home.
BTS: “We’ve worked with Roger for over ten years. I love his limitless curiosity, he constantly seeks opportunities to learn and improve. Roger brings a business and results-oriented perspective to everything he does and pushes his team and partners to do the same, resulting in strategically relevant and impactful solutions.”—Lance Wilke, SVP and Head of BTS Central