SVP, General Counsel, Beer Division, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Diversity Officer
Before joining Constellation, Kris spent eight years as an in-house lawyer for another well-known consumer products company (hint – a little burger company with golden arches) and then in a law firm before that. She joined Constellation as a VP, Associate General Counsel just a few days after the Grupo Modelo deal closed. With all of the changes and opportunities that Constellation’s new Beer Division was creating, in November 2015, Kris was promoted to SVP, General Counsel of the Beer Division. In 2018, Kris was appointed to the newly created role of Chief Diversity Officer.
What first drew you to Constellation Brands?
The opportunity to work with beer! Kidding aside, I was first introduced to Constellation by a former employee who had retired after many, many years with the company. It was her experiences that drew me here. She could not express how much she enjoyed her career and how much she enjoyed the people she had an opportunity to work with. In fact, she still keeps in touch with many of those colleagues. To me, that speaks volumes of how special a place Constellation is.
What do your family and friends think of you working for Constellation Brands?
I’m the most popular person around. Who doesn’t like to talk beer? My lawyer friends tease me because I get to use “beer” in my title (they’re just jealous). My family and friends know that I’ll always bring our great products to parties and gatherings - for people to enjoy responsibly, of course.
What excites you about showing up to work at Constellation every day?
Our people and our brands make me truly proud to be a part of Constellation. I absolutely feel that our leadership team and my colleagues value me for who I am and the different perspectives and experiences that I can bring to the table. Our people are some of the most talented and dedicated folks around. They continually strive to be better and learn more, never resting on their past successes. They are competitive but will always do the right thing for the company and for our brands.
Our brands connect with people in the most personal ways. They aren’t just random labels on a shelf. They evoke a positive emotional response, whether it’s memories of a beach vacation or summer night with friends. Combine our people and our brands and you have a formula for success. With that being said, we understand that success is not a destination, but a continuous journey.
How would you describe the culture at Constellation?
We work hard, and we take time to celebrate our achievements, but we do both as a team. This is truly one of the most collaborative groups of people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Everyone is driven to succeed and as importantly, driven to ensure that others succeed as well. Our leadership pushes us to continually evaluate whether we can do things better. Yet, no matter how fast things move in the business, we are grounded in our values that include doing things the right way. A great example is our extensive CSR programs. One of my favorite activities is our summer service event. Every summer we volunteer to spend two days in a Chicago public school in an underserved neighborhood. It doesn’t matter who you are or your position in the company because when we are there, we all roll up our sleeves, get covered in dirt and sweat as we paint, clean, plant or build benches and tables for the kids. It is some of the hardest physical work that most of us do but also some of the most rewarding. Our activities allow the school to save money they would have used for this routine maintenance and spend it on things that will directly impact the kids, like books, programs and meals. There’s no better way to get to know someone than when you are knee-deep in dirt.
What does “To elevate life with every glass raised” mean to you?
I’ve worked hard to get to the position I’m in and I believe with this position comes responsibility. Elevating life means that it’s my responsibility to make a positive difference for someone else in the company and in my community. The responsibility to help others learn and grow so that they can achieve their dreams. The responsibility to contribute and be engaged in management so that the company and the brands continue to grow and reach their greatest potential. The responsibility and privilege to work within our communities to make them a better place.