Member Spotlight

Terese O’Neill

Director Of Sales, Ingredients


What made you want to begin a career working in the bakery industry?

I was in sales role at a baking ingredients company; I was assigned a few bakeries as well as all other food accounts. I enjoyed the people I met in the bakery industry. So my career kept moving in that direction.

What challenges did you face starting out in your career?

Wearing suits with skirts, driving was not the challenge, finding clean bathrooms was, seriously.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the bakery industry and how did you overcome them?

Over 99% of all purchasing people were men, and 100% of plant supervisors were men. The main thing was to follow up and follow through, if you say you are going to do something, then do it. Then they don’t care what sex, color, or creed you are.  The second thing was to talk about their interests.  I read the Sports Pages every day, I grew up watching baseball and football so it was easy for me to talk about and I enjoyed it. As the business relationship developed I would invite the guy’s wives out to dinner, then I usually got the wife in my corner and it made it easier to work with the guys.

How long have you worked in the bakery industry?

On and off 30 years.

What is your career highlight?

In my first year of sales, I managed key accounts and achieved the first sale of a very high tech product. I discovered how important relationships and communication were to success in sales; I understood that people buy from people they like and trust. I did win a sales award that year.

If you could make one change to the bakery industry, what would that be and why? 

Relating to consumers better, the healthiness and wholesomeness of baked goods.

What does your job entail? 

Today my job is Director of Sales, Ingredients, for Agropur Ingredients. This covers 5 reports managing, the sales of Bakery, and Cheese, Ice Cream, and Distribution business to the above industries.

What advice would you give to young people looking to get into the bakery industry?

Talk to the bakery companies, what type of people are they looking for. Focus on your skill set, get the right degree, and then sell yourself. We all should be constantly selling ourselves, whether we are in sales, management, production, or any function.

What are your hobbies and interests?

First of all family and friends, I love to travel, have been to 22 countries, mostly for business.

Who is your role model and why?

I am amazed by all people; all of my friends and family are smart, hardworking and have a great sense of humor. I am truly blessed.

If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would it be and why?

My son, because I love him, he is funny, smart, and we have great conversations.

If you could switch places with one other people, who would it be and why?

I wouldn’t be who I am without my experiences. However, I would have liked to have won the Powerball Lottery.

What is your favourite bakery event and why?

AACC (Cereal Chemists), it is the most technical and therefore drives the most innovative talks. To move the industry forward.

If you could choose to only eat one bakery product for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Who would choose just one? Multigrain Hearth baked bread, from a local baker.

If you could tell your younger self one thing you have learnt from your career, what would it be?

Focus on your strengths; you know in your heart what you are good at.

How would you define success?

Being happy

What would say that your proudest moment has been in your career?

Becoming known in the industry. Can’t give you a date. I just kept showing up, never gave up, did my work.

What was your big break, and how did you reach it?

It is all about relationships; after I became a known in the ingredient industry it all became easier. I stayed true to my word, worked really hard, and most importantly gave more than asked for.