“Optimist, dreamer, trailblazer” is how she describes herself. Gladys Wojda, VP Consumer Products at Delivery Hero and CPO at foodpanda, is one of the driving forces behind the company’s breakneck speed growth and expansion. She's been at the company for more than five years.
As a transformational leader who most recently has been focused on developing and enabling technology and procurement for Delivery Hero at large, Gladys is the right person to talk about empowering change and innovation in a rapidly-growing organization. See what you can learn from her.
In the Disruption Insights series, we discover inspirations and insights from global innovators who shape how we live and do things today. True innovation doesn’t happen as an overnight breakthrough — it’s an ongoing process of constant trial and error done by teams and organizations who strive to solve real human problems. Gladys Wojda is one of the people who push those ideas forward, making things possible.
💼 Corporate innovation
How do you choose one idea out of one hundred?
I focus on long-term thinking, which means focusing on a value proposition and also on excellence. I tend to think about ideas that aim to provide a great service and encourage a critical way of thinking. Additionally, I’d go for leaving a portion of those ideas that are innovative on the table to allow for exploration. I’d also opt for a few ideas to be left to even fail just to create space in the team for working on matters that are not critical at the moment but could become critical in the future.
How do you convince decision-makers to back innovative ideas?
I would tend to think that logic prevails. Yet, in a very dynamic environment like ours, sometimes it is hard to understand what everybody’s needs and thinking are. So, despite logic, you need to really build good rapport with those that you are aiming to co-create with. At times, you also need to “accept” that an innovative idea, whilst logical and needed, might be too disruptive so it is wise to wait for a better moment to really get the corporate buy-in.
All in all, you need to have a sense of how to present the information and get the more wholesome buy-in of those taking decisions.
One thing you’d change about your work
Not referring to my team or peers but rather in general, stubbornness. As in the form of not changing due to some outdated ideas or goals. When stubbornness occurs at the same time as working in silos, that really puts all those who seek improvements in a difficult position.
Ensuring project success
Ensuring the project's completion and making sure we are all working on what we are supposed to work on requires constant communication. That is the golden rule that assures everybody that we are aligned, that we agree on what is working and not, and, most importantly, with what and when we might need help.
It is the key to ensuring that we keep on track of any change that requires adjustments in the project.
💪🏼 Innovation mindset
One personality trait that helps you at your daily job
The “Woo” in me. That is much of what we are here for — making connections and solving business problems, driving the teams forward to provide services for the growth of Delivery Hero.
What drives you at work?
Certainly and unequivocally — my team. They inspire and support me. They are the ones that can create what Delivery Hero needs and adapt to changing demands. They are an extraordinary group of talented people, a great asset of the CFO office.
Your dream profession when you were 20
My dream job was almost what I have made of my career. Certainly not exactly the city and timeline, but sure I was quite a young dreamer then in Buenos Aires with aspirations to work and live internationally, so I am delighted that I was able to achieve most of what was a simple idea back then.
The biggest milestone in your career path
My biggest milestone was taking the opportunity that was offered to me when I joined Delivery Hero. I remember that I applied to a different role and, in true Delivery Hero style, the recruiter called me and immediately offered me a different role. The rest is history… Coaching is all about seeing beyond the complexities of making decisions and understanding what type of roles you have been offered. In this case, I value roles that are called “enabling” roles as they do open doors for expanding opportunities that would inevitably follow.
The biggest accomplishment in your career path
As a transformational leader, I would say all the aspects of my work I was able to influence and transform into a better organization. No matter big or small, but certainly better. That, in essence, is continuous work, so I do not see it as an accomplishment but rather learning for myself and those who were able to drive change with me.
💡 Inspiration corner
Biggest source of daily inspiration
I get inspired by the people around me, my team, and the places I visited or plan to go to. Mostly, I am inspired by the notion of freedom that we have at work to create and co-create that allows us to put the best of our knowledge and expectations into the work that we do every day. I am definitely inspired by what the future holds and how we can help create a better world.
Books that inspire you
- All books by Kafka — to really comprehend the complexities of the human mind
- “Good to Great” by Jim Collins — to have a mindset of excellence
- “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future” by Kevin Kelly
- “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
Blogs and magazines you follow
- “Financial Times”
Podcasts you listen to
- BBC podcasts
- Campus 10178
- Radio Headspace
Movies that inspire you
- “Blade Runner”
- “Spirited Away”
Want to be a part of the Disruption Insights series? Shoot me an email at: email@example.com
Discover insights from other inspiring innovation leaders:
- "Test Early Ideas in Their Natural Environment" with Esther Seidl-Nussbaumer from
- "Escape Velocity of Innovation Can Be Exhausting" with Romain Colnet from Ingenico Labs
- "Innovation Is About Execution, Not About the Idea" with Peter Grosskopf from Unstoppable Finance