The Early Career Professionals (ECP) Business Resource Group is a key driver of Constellation Brands’ company culture, empowering employees with professional development and networking opportunities from the start of their careers. The Case Competition is a major initiative of the group, providing learning and development opportunities to a diverse network of passionate employees.
Participants in the program work in cross-functional teams to solve real-world business challenges in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment. With only a few weeks to develop and present solutions to Constellation's leadership team, ECP teams are challenged to think creatively and deliver impactful recommendations.
This year, 21 teams competed for the championship title under the guidance of 45 director and VP-level coaches. Teams addressed the employee experience in a hybrid work environment. We asked this year’s winning team, “Champagne Campaign” — Emily Gacioch, Megan Lynch, Cody Jerome, Bill Mueller, and Harry Dole — and their coach — Kelly Jasica — to share their insights and takeaways from the competition.
Why did you decide to become a coach for the Early Career Professionals Case Competition?
Kelly, Director, Sales Execution: This was my first year as a coach for the ECP Case Competition, and it was the best experience. I decided to become a coach because it allowed me to make a positive impact by sharing my experience and perspective with others in a meaningful way. I’ve had great mentors myself, and I am grateful for the influence they’ve had on my own life. I’ve realized that passing on the torch of positive influence is extremely important to me. It was also a great way to build an additional network and personal connections at Constellation with people outside the beer sales organization. I am excited to stay in touch with my team, even though the competition is over.
What did you learn about talent strategy as a result of your mentorship?
Kelly: I learned that talent strategy encompasses many different facets of retaining and motivating talent, all of which are difficult for companies to do well — particularly in a hybrid environment — unless they implement an impactful, thoughtful, and strategic plan that is measured for impact over time. During the competition, my team came up with so many great ideas about employee engagement, retention, and recognition. Although they could only present one idea, they ultimately chose the one that would have the largest impact on the greatest number of employees.
What was your initial impression of the ECP Case Competition prompt, and how did this evolve to inform your final submission?
Emily, Regulatory Specialist: I was thrilled that this year's ECP Case Competition prompt was based on key areas that the company has received feedback on, such as hybrid working arrangements and recognition. I believe that it is incredibly important for a company to allow employees an open forum to present their ideas on how they would like to work and be recognized, and even better, to have the opportunity to implement those changes.
Harry, Talent Development Partner: My initial impression was genuine surprise at the Talent Development focus, which is a key piece of my team’s current work. To challenge myself, I decided to focus on areas of the prompt that pushed beyond my current role. After discussing different options, like building off our existing employee recognition programs, our team was able to narrow it down, bringing us closer to our final submission.
What was the most challenging part of the process, and how did you overcome it?
Emily: I would say that narrowing down to one idea was the most challenging part of the process. Our team had a plethora of great ideas, from how to improve the hybrid working environment and relationship building to various ways to improve the recognition process. Once we narrowed our focus, the most challenging part was limiting ourselves to the time-constraints of the presentation, even though we were wildly passionate and excited about our idea.
Bill, Engineer, Senior Business Intelligence, Data & Analytics: The most challenging part was delegating the work. Once we had created our idea, we needed to make sure that everyone found an aspect to research and present on that they were interested in.
Cody, Analyst, Imports & Distribution Requirement Planning, Wine Network Optimization: To me, the most challenging aspect of the process was effectively condensing our idea within the time constraints of the pitch without omitting crucial details. This involved navigating the fine balance between conveying depth and meeting time constraints. To overcome this challenge, we carefully selected key information, ensuring that it made sense and was relevant. Additionally, we practiced extensively to enhance our presentation skills, aiming for both clarity and a strong impact.
What insight will you take away from the ECP Case Competition and apply to your future work?
Megan, Senior Analyst, Insights & Analytics CoE, Marketplace Intelligence: This experience proved just how valuable a "big blue sky" brainstorming session can be when faced with a broad challenge or topic. Each member of our team came from very distinct functions within the organization, and therefore had a unique perspective to bring to the table. During the brainstorming process, I think it is important to keep an open mind to any and all possibilities, without judging or discarding any ideas initially. This is one situation where it is helpful to go for quantity over quality. Even if an idea that comes up during the brainstorming process is later ruled out, sharing it with others could help spark additional ideas that we might not have otherwise considered. Quantity leads to quality!
Bill: It was amazing to be able to connect with people across the organization that I would not otherwise interact with!