Ryan Berman talks to thought leaders from around the globe in business, sports and entertainment to uncover what it means to be courageous in today's world.
Subscribe here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
Audrey Burger – Head of Commercial Strategy, Insights & Planning at Primal Kitchen
Proper pacing, surrounding yourself with the right players, and realizing what you put in is what you get out. These are all lessons that Audrey Burger has taken from her days as a 3-sport D1 college athlete and has applied to her current role as Head of Commercial Strategy, Insights & Planning at Primal Kitchen.
In this advice-filled episode of The Courageous Podcast, Audrey shares some great tips with Ryan on how to start eating cleaner by applying a few simple adjustments to our grocery shopping habits. Audrey also dolls out some advice to other women on successfully making change across workplace culture. Finally, Audrey speaks on the importance of trusting your gut in decisions where you don’t have ALL the data, and applying a “proud, not perfect” mentality when a new product goes to market.
Ryan Berman 0:00
This is a show about facing fear, unlocking courage, and taking action.
Speaker 2 (Female) 0:05
Courage isn't necessarily a daunting thing.
Speaker 3 (Male) 0:07
It's going to give you more purpose, it's going to give you more drive.
Speaker 4 (Male) 0:10
It feels like making a courageous decision is going to get you closer to who you aspire to be.
Ryan Berman 0:14
It’s knowledge, plus faith, plus action equals courage.
Audrey Burger 0:18
Mark has always been really intentional about his aspiration for Primal Kitchen, which was he wanted to change the way the world eats. So Primal Kitchen, Kraft Heinz partnership really became something where the mission could legitimately be realized.
(Intro Music 0:33-0:42)
Ryan Berman 0:43
When you think about the Kraft Heinz business, you can't help but think of seriously iconic brands. There's Kraft, and Kraft Mac & Cheese, you've got Heinz, and like Heinz is taking over the world. Some of you may, or may not know that they also have, in their portfolio, Philadelphia, they've got Lunchables, there's Jello. And I'd say what most people don't know is that four years ago, from January 19th, 2019, Kraft Heinz acquired Primal Kitchen, which was the brainchild of Malibu-based co-founder, Mark Sisson, and Morgan Buehler. Joining us today on the courageous podcast is the head of commercial strategy, insights and planning for Primal Kitchen. Audrey Burger. And obviously, my first question has to be, how does someone with the last name of ‘Burger,’ working in Kraft Heinz not be working on the Heinz, versus on Primal Kitchen? It's right there. It's so obvious.
Audrey Burger 1:43
I know. It feels so obvious. Thank you for having me. It was one of the things someone said in my interview, and at that moment, I knew I had to work at Kraft Heinz.
Ryan Berman 1:52
Well, you've been there for a bit. You've kind of hopped around, and jumped around. And maybe that's sort of the way it's supposed to be, but it's pretty cool. I did my appropriate amount of, like, can I learn about Audrey a little bit? And it's got to be somewhat cool that someone that went to school in Pittsburgh ends up working at Heinz or Kraft Heinz. That's kind of cool, no?
Audrey Burger 2:14
Oh, for sure. When I went to the interview at Heinz, I thought it was going to be all Pittsburgh people. I thought that was my path in life forward. Then was surprised in almost the same way that you described of this, like, much bigger worldview of Heinz, and then, Kraft Heinz shortly thereafter.
Ryan Berman 2:31
So, eight years, you've been at the business, the company. Can you give me the, if you were the rock skipping across the pond on the way to Primal Kitchen, give me all the stops along the way?
Audrey Burger 2:43
Yeah, for sure. So, as you mentioned, I went to school in Pittsburgh, kind of was trying to determine what I was going to do next. I studied marketing, I thought, “Maybe I'd go to an agency, maybe I'd go somewhere else,” I didn't really know. I don't honestly really remember applying to the Heinz job. And I got an interview. It was great, I kind of liked the vibes, and was invited to an in-person interview. In between interview, I don't know, three, and four, it was announced that Heinz would become Kraft Heinz. So, I went from thinking to the point earlier that I was going to join this no-Pittsburgh company with a healthy amount of brands to a company that was kind of a behemoth, the fourth largest food company in North America. And so, I joined through the Trainee program, essentially is a rotational program where you get to go through different projects, you're eventually placed on a team. And, lucky for me, I was placed on the frozen team. Frozen is another thing people maybe don't know that Kraft Heinz does in a really big way. And that department was based in Pittsburgh. So, I joined the frozen team, I worked primarily on two brands that were actually coming over from the Kraft portfolio. So, Cool Whip and Boca Burger. Sat with all of the desserts businesses like Jet-Puffed, and Jello, and Boca Burgers. Small vegan brands that actually sat in Madison, Wisconsin, with the Oscar Meyer business unit. So, I got a taste as soon as I joined the company to say, “Hey, merger, go and merge away,” which was really fun and exciting.
Ryan Berman 4:22
Well, first of all, okay, so you did have your burger, your Boca Burger.
Audrey Burger 4:25
I did. People did call me Audrey Boca Burger for a bit there.
Ryan Berman 4:29
Of course, ABB, of course, that's the new nickname moving forward. I’m just so glad you came on this podcast, Audrey.
Audrey Burger 4:36
I am. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 4:38
All right, So, I'm curious, are you from Pittsburgh proper, or did you just go to college there?
Audrey Burger 4:46
I'm from the suburbs of Philadelphia. So, I ended up in Pittsburgh mostly for running. I ran cross country and track in college, and I was getting injured a lot. And so, my parents said, “Hey, let's make sure you go to a college that, if you can't run anymore, you're going to like it, it's going to be financially viable for you.” And so, Pittsburgh was perfect. Six hours away, but still in-state tuition. I ended up running the entire time I was there, and really fell in love with it, and stayed there, obviously, after school.
Ryan Berman 5:17
Three-sport [Inaudible 5:18] athlete. Bravo.
Audrey Burger 5:20
Ryan Berman 5:22
Audrey Burger 5:23
Indoor and outdoor track. Yeah.
Ryan Berman 5:24
I'm sure the indoor season in Pittsburgh must be longer than the outdoor season.
Audrey Burger 5:30
(Laughs) The indoor season, there's a lot of treadmills and avoiding ice on the roads.
Ryan Berman 5:35
Okay, I got to ask, this love of running, what are you running from?
Audrey Burger 5:39
What am I running from? Honestly, I played every sport growing up, I just happened to be the best at running. And I found a love for that in terms of, like, it was very community-based sport. You could practice throwing wall ball all day, but you're kind of alone. Whereas, you're running for 10 miles with your best friend. It's just great.
Ryan Berman 5:58
This is one of those things too where if you just read the transcript of the podcast versus actually listening, you’ll be like, “This guy's such a jerk? Did he just ask her what she's running from? Way to go, Ryan.” All right, but let's take that competitive…
Audrey Burger 6:12
Ryan Berman 6;13
That competitive you because, obviously, it's in you. Anyone who's played sports for a living, maybe this is the right way to roll. So, what are the three things you learned or you took with you from, you can even say, high school sports, to being a D1 athlete into this job? Okay, maybe it was at the beginning of the job, maybe you still have it now. Give me three things that you took from sports and being an athlete into this work.
Audrey Burger 6:44
Yeah. Okay, let's break it down. The first one my team has heard me say before, so it's an easier one, which is ‘pace matters.’ If you knew me in college, I hated when people went too hard on easy days, and I hated when people went too easy on hard days. So, it's not really about how fast you're going, it's putting the right energy into each of the tasks that you have, like, you need to recover. You don't need to do everything at a sprint. So, pace is definitely one if I think about running. The second would be kind of like what you put in is what you get out. My basketball coach in high school used to say, like, “Every day that you're not playing basketball, it's not that you're staying neutral, you're getting worse.” So making sure that you're staying on the top of your game even if it's reading a newsletter. You can very quickly see people fall out of current trends. And so, staying neutral is essentially keeping yourself from falling behind. And then, the last thing is really teamwork and surrounding yourself with the right players. I think you can see it in all-star games, right? There's this aspect of not everyone can be like an all-star, not everyone can be the best player, those aren't the best teams. And so, finding the right role players, and also, knowing your role on a team, I think is something that I've definitely brought into work as well.
Ryan Berman 8:05
I love that. So, pace matters. What you put in is what you get out. And teamwork; surround yourself with the right players. I had an old coach that used to say… And soccer is my number one followed by lacrosse, which is probably not a surprise for those of you who know I'm from Maryland originally, even though I live in California now. He used to say, "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”
Audrey Burger 8:33
Yep. I love that one.
Ryan Berman 8:34
It's exactly that, like play at game speed. But I do really appreciate the nuance of pace matters, of knowing when to push. And then, in some ways, that's your job, right? Your job, from a strategic standpoint, is to look at the nuance and understand, okay, maybe I'm seeing something people aren't seeing, and everyone is going at the same speed when this is not the time to be on the amp for 10, it's to be at the amp at six or seven, which is a nice sort of pivot into Primal Kitchen into this conversation. So, pretty cool brand. I got to tell you like, okay, I guess I have to share in full disclosure, Courageous, we do our work with Kraft Heinz. And when I was first introduced to the portfolio, I was surprised to see Primal Kitchen there. I didn't realize that it was one of the brands, and I'm like, “oh, cool. Okay, this seems like a very thoughtful, smart, and clear strategic pivot for Kraft Heinz.” Tell me why you feel Kraft Heinz was like, “Okay, we need to pick up this brand”?
Audrey Burger 9:45
Yeah. Kraft Heinz is the benefit and curse of being late to the game in acquisition. So, at the time of Primal Kitchen's acquisition, most of the competitors in this space had full arms and departments of these tiny brands that have been kind of scooped up, maybe queued up, and spit out. In some places, some had succeeded. And so, I think there was this attention to being careful about the right brand that isn't just a moment in time, something that can live beyond the PR push. I think what Primal Kitchen initially was appealing about it, was probably a touch of fear, that people were switching from Heinz Ketchup to Primal Kitchen. People were starting to ask questions about their condiments and those were the names on the door. And so, that opens up the question of, “Let's dig into this.” I think what they found was beyond something that you could replicate in formula. The brand comes from just such a real place of truth, of storytelling, of intentionality, from Mark's initial launch. And if you think about all the brands that are working right now in the market, it's brands that have relatable stories. It's content arms. It's being able to stand up for something that isn't replicated by private label, or the next competitor because, quite frankly, the moats to get into food are a lot lower than they've ever been before. And so, you kind of need to check like seven more boxes, and I think Primal Kitchen kind of checked those boxes, and some.
Ryan Berman 11:15
Yeah. And if you don't know, Mark Sisson is the founder, co-founder. He's just world-class endurance athlete. First of all, he's in way better shape than me. I don't know how old he is, but he's getting up there. He's got his blog; marksdailyapple.com. I know he wrote, I think it was ‘The Keto Reset Diet - Primal Blueprint.’ He has a following. I'm not sure which came first, him, or the brand. And I don't mean to put you on the spot, but like, hey, if you're going to put words on Mark and Morgan's mouth, what do you think they saw in Kraft Heinz that goes, “Yes, this is a really good move for us?”
Audrey Burger 11:58
Yeah. I think Mark has always been really intentional about his aspiration for Primal Kitchen, which was he wanted to change the way the world eats. Lofty goal, but a good one to chase after, and one that I hold near and dear to my heart. And so, when Mark and Morgan were looking for a partner to scale the brand, they really felt that it needed to be a partner that had legitimate scale, and wasn't going to just take pieces of it, hold on to it for a minute, and then, let go of it. And so Primal Kitchen, Kraft Heinz partnership really became something where the mission could legitimately be realized. The brand has huge North American scale, it also has a global scale, and it has the right resources to take the brand from where it was to where it's going.
Ryan Berman 12:45
All right. Let's unpack your title here for a second. What the heck does ‘Head of Commercial Strategy, Insights, and Planning’ mean?
Audrey Burger 12:54
Yeah, the lengthy title. So, I would say, from day to day perspective, I spend a lot of my time thinking about our portfolio strategy and how we're showing up in the world. So, that goes kind of end to end from what products we're putting into market. So, innovation strategy. How we're showing up to retailers. So, retail strategy. And then, making sure we make money, which kind of ties together the commercial piece of it. All of those decisions are made in tandem or in help with insights. So, whether that's our retail insights, shopper card data, consumer testing, or insights that we're getting from the field. And then, of course, once everything goes perfect, and we love it, we need to plan for it. And so, also responsible for the forecasting of the business both short-term and long-term.
Ryan Berman 13:45
If this was called the knowledge podcast, or the doing podcast, we would end this show right here now, but it's called The Courageous podcast. And so the reason I sort of play around with that is our definition of courage is knowledge, plus faith, plus action, and you need all three. What we've seen is knowledge and action without faith, if you're kind of numb, you're working on safe or status quo. And, knowledge and faith without action is paralysis. And then, faith in action without knowledge, as you know, is a reckless move. So, it needs to be all three. And so, when you think about Primal Kitchen, and I know that being in the insights, and on the thick side of the business, as I like to call it, there's still leaps that you need to take, you're never going to have 100% of the data. So, maybe you can share a few examples or an example where you're like, “You know what? This was a moment where we didn't have all the data figured out, but there was a leap of faith. There was courage in this decision.” Can you share a moment since you've been on the job where you saw a courageous move for Primal Kitchen?
Audrey Burger 15:00
Yeah. Trying to think of a good example here because I feel like we've made so many decisions, especially in the world of product shortage and reformulation. I would say, probably a year ago, we ran into a situation where we had like a pretty severe product shortage. Core ingredient in our product, and we needed to take a step back, quickly pivot to a new ingredient to be able to continue to supply continuity, but also, to make sure that we're still delivering on this product. We sell a really expensive item, so it's not like we can just wake up tomorrow and say, “Yeah, it's fine, just throw different starch in there.” We spend a lot of time figuring out the exact supply chain of where a starch comes from, or where salt comes from, for example. And I think one of the things I've learned to let go of a little bit is the need for knowledge, and like, deep knowledge, and everything, and trusting our gut. So, Primal Kitchen, at the end of the day, our leadership team, our team is our consumers. And so, the reason why we were able to quickly essentially reformulate a whole product line to what we believe to be a better product; more allergen friendly, more sensitive to consumers, and a better cost profile, was because we were able to say, “As a team, we trust ourselves, we know enough about our consumers that that is the knowledge in place of doing robust testing.” And it's something that, from an out-of-stock perspective, was a minute, instead of multiple months where we would have legitimately lost distribution on an entire product line.
Ryan Berman 16:38
Did I ask you yet what you're running from? No, I'm kidding.
Audrey Burger 16:42
Ryan Berman 16:43
So, okay. Let's go back to the sports metaphor for a minute on this because I love that you brought the team in. So, you had mentioned; pace matters, what you put into it is what you get out of it, and teamwork. So, if you apply that at Primal, give examples of how each shows up. Of, like, pace matters, the story you just shared might be a pace matter story, but how does each one show up in your work?
Audrey Burger 17:06
Yeah. We can start with pace. I would say, for a startup culture, Primal Kitchen still operates in many ways independently from Kraft Heinz. We have a great relationship. Where it makes sense; we’re tapping in, where we don't; it doesn't. So, one of the things we keep largely within the Primal Kitchen universe is our innovation strategy. We can move really quickly on things, we can get to market really fast. What we've found is this balance of you want something to be proud of, not perfect, when it goes to market. And to hit a reset is really important. For people that aren't in the food space, a reset is just, essentially, when the retailer sets their shelves every year. A lot of them do it only once a year, some of them do it only once every two years. So, if you miss that date, you're kind of screwed. So, there's this balance of running to a reset date to make sure that you can get something into market. There's been times as a team where we've had to step back and say, “Guys, it just isn't it. We just do not have the right product, and we need to slow down. It's okay that we're going to miss this tentpole, but the pain and suffering of us having to see sad numbers every single time I refresh the data is worth the extra six months it's going to take us to rev this product up.” That'd be one example in the paceline, of like, when do we go fast, versus, when do we say, “It’s okay, not everything has to be a hit right away”?
Ryan Berman 18:34
All right. Give me one on ‘what you put in is what you get out.’
Audrey Burger 18:38
What you put in is what you get out. For me, that's really showing up in the space that we participate in. So, we're a leader in the natural food space, I think it's important for us to continue to show up in that way. So, there's a bunch of trade shows every year, there's a bunch of different things that we can do as a community in the natural food to see if we can, like, rise in tides, bring everyone up to speed. It's easy to say, “Ah, maybe we've outgrown X, or we've outgrown Y.” But really putting in that time and energy for the relationships just pays off tenfold when we're able to make a phone call, when we're able to make a partnership. And, when we think about our mission, that does change the way the world eats if we can bring other natural foods along the journey, and kind of raise everyone up together.
Ryan Berman 19:29
All right. And then, finally, we've got ‘teammate, teamwork; surrounding yourself with the right players.’
Audrey Burger 19:34
Yeah. Our team is wonderful. We have so many people that are from the OG team, and I think it was like employee number two. Amanda, our head of growth was super early on the team. And so, we have this great balance of people that were there from the start and people that have come in along different phases of the journey. And so, when we're making decisions, we have to be really conscious about how do you get the right people in the room without having too many cooks in the kitchen. I think what we've tried to do our best at is, if we have the right person, let's make the right role for them, let's make the right scope for them, versus, trying to force fit people into a box. And that's created such a dynamic team from top to bottom in terms of skill set, uniqueness to what they bring to the table, and I think it's what makes our culture really unique. It's not a bunch of people that look like me that are traditional CPG background, we have people from all different groups, so that brings us a different perspective.
Ryan Berman 20:36
So, here we are at the beginning of 2023. And I love that you said the goal is to help change the way the world eats. And I always find myself saying, “No courage, no change. Courage is a journey word.” And so, I feel, if I want to be vulnerable and personal myself, I know I want to lose weight this year, it is important to me. I try not to crush myself over this. And it's not like I'm shame eating at 11:00 PM, crying, watching television, but I know I'd like to be healthier. And Primal is sort of in the prime position to do that for me. So, for anyone that's listening… And by the way, I'm not saying you need to weave in Primal Kitchen here, but you study this stuff religiously, give me three things I could do, or should do, or the listener could do to sort of get ready to go on this clean, clean eating journey.
Audrey Burger 21:44
Yeah, I love it. Well, hopefully, we can help guide you, I'll send you some products afterwards.
Ryan Berman 21:49
Audrey Burger 21:51
So, I would say the first easiest thing to do for anyone that's looking to kind of clean up their diet is looking at sweeteners in your food. That was my entry point into natural eating was standing in the barbecue aisle trying to find a barbecue sauce that wasn't like 35 grams of sugar. And, of course, there's a time and place for sugar for sure. But what I found through that journey, what I found with working at Primal Kitchen is how something is sweetened matters, and how much sugar is in there also matters. So, for anyone that's flipping over a label, the first thing I'm looking at is how many grams of sugar is in that product. The second thing I'm looking at is how is that product sweetened. So, is it sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, is sweetened with an organic sugar, is it sweetened with pineapple juice? The ideal is that you're looking for no refined sweeteners. That's like checking my box. We make, obviously, wonderful products with no refined sweeteners, so Primal Kitchen is always a great choice. It's also something that a lot of people have started to do. And that is like a really big, I would say, domino effect in people's lives. When you find products that do that, naturally speaking, the rest of the product is normally pretty well constructed. The other thing that Primal Kitchen stands for in a really big way is avocado oil is kind of our hero product. So, we like to talk about an avocado, for example, you talk about Courage. Avocado oil and avocados, technically, according to the FDA are not healthy, that is not legally defined as healthy and avocado because there's too much fat. And that is something that Mark just challenged from the start. He was like, “I'm just not going to take this definition of healthy, I'm going to take my own definition based off of my experience, my research.” And so, for us, we call it fats be love. We're swapping avocado oil, we're swapping other healthy fats for things like industrial seed oil. So, look for canola oil, look for soybean oil, look for vegetable oil, and see if there's a swap for an avocado oil and olive oil, coconut oil, something like that, that's giving you a really healthy fat. It's going to keep you more satiated, it's also going to be less refined
Ryan Berman 24:11
Swap games. I'm hearing just swap games here.
Audrey Burger 24:14
Swap games. And then, the last one I would say is just like keep your eye on sourcing. So, it's a big thing right now just in terms of prices are going up, you're going to see labels swapping things in to make things cheaper, you're going to be yourself looking to swap things. I'm very conscious about this and I'm like, “Maybe that private label does work for me today.” So, looking for sources where it matters to you. So, if you've heard of the Dirty Dozen, for example, it's essentially the fruits and vegetables you should buy organic because they're most affected by pesticides. So pick the ingredients…
Ryan Berman 24:51
Tell me more, give me those Dirty Dozen. Rattle off the ones you know.
Audrey Burger 24:56
Oh my gosh. Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, bell peppers, cherries, peaches, pears, celery, and tomatoes.
Ryan Berman 25:08
That's impressive, you must have a list.
Audrey Burger 25:10
I put the list up. But those are things that where you're starting to look, “Can I buy this organic? Can I buy this non-GMO?” There's simple swaps, there are ways that you don't have to change your day-to-day. You're just being slightly more conscious about the choices you're making.
Ryan Berman 25:25
Kind of what I love about this is that we're back to pace matters. Slow down a little bit in store. Do a little bit of detective work, right?
Audrey Burger 25:35
Ryan Berman 25:36
And hopefully, it'll pay off down the line. And on the leadership side of our business, I’ll always say, like, sometimes you are going to go slow to go faster later. And it sounds like that's exactly what this is. All right. Let's talk about you. Since this is your, like… Look, it’s a show about courage, right? So, let's put you on the spot. I'd love for you to share two answers on this question. And I'll get through both of them, which gives you some time to think through your answers. One, first, maybe someplace in your professional life that you felt, or still feel needs courage. And two; this is the fun one, of course, a place in your personal life where you feel you need a little courage. I'll give you an out if you want the out, which is if you want to share a result of it, or where you know you're going to be courageous, or you have been courageous. But I'd love one professional moment where you showed an act of courage, or you know you need an act of courage. And then, personally, the same thing.
Audrey Burger 26:44
Yeah. Okay, professionally -- this is a little mix of personal and professional, so you tell me if it counts -- but I am also the co-chair of our Women's Business Resource Group at Kraft Heinz. And so, that's something I'm super passionate about. I have done that for the past three years. We have almost a thousand employees that are a part of this. It's women, and allies. And from a courage perspective, we are really faced with big decisions to be made in light of Roe v. Wade. And so, that was a moment in time where I knew I needed to step up as a leader of this organization, get the right information from our members. So, putting out surveys, having informal connects. And then, get on the phone with our most senior leaders, and essentially, plead my case on behalf of the rest of the team on what we felt we needed for our employees in terms of healthcare, in terms of what we could provide support-wise. That was something that took rehearsing, it took a lot of courage. I had to write it out because it's a balance. You are showing up to people that you don't know where they sit. You're making a personal appeal that is also a professional appeal. And you want to make sure this isn’t extracurricular. I don't want to go to the most senior leaders, put my heart on the line, and then, the next day, really be affected in my work. And so, that was something that I just looked back on. I'm really proud of the entire team that came to the table there. And also, the way that our leadership team responded and reacted.
Ryan Berman 28:23
I would say that's kind of weaves in both, for sure, because especially… Kraft Heinz is not a small organization. I'm sure you're not interacting with the President on a daily basis, and I could see something like this going all the way to the top where it's a first, or one of the first interactions that you have up there. And here you are, putting your heart on the line. When you do that, by the way, what is the tone that you took? You said you rehearsed, so where's the right balance of data and humanity?
Audrey Burger 29:02
Yeah. I feel like it was a 50/50. I had a list of bullet points. I had the ones most serious to me in terms of external facts, but also, data we had collected from our members. We had surveyed them, we wanted to make sure we were in a very democratic way responding on behalf of what they wanted. I didn't want to put words in anyone's mouth. But those facts were delivered with a tone that I think made the sincerity come through. It's also, I can get emotional. I feel like I was near tears. I did not cry, but you could definitely see water in my eyes. And I think that in tandem of ‘I also did all this research’ got the point across pretty clearly in terms of, like, I'm here prepared, but this is also a personal appeal.
Ryan Berman 29:51
So, you have a line on your LinkedIn profile somewhere near the bottom, but it says you're enthusiastic about empowering women in the workplace. So, for any women listening to the show, maybe coming out of school, or at a cross point, crossroad in their life, what advice would you give them for taking on workplace culture?
Audrey Burger 30:16
Yeah. I would say the first one that comes to mind is, find a sponsor. There's an in-group and an out-group. Unfortunately, women are still, I would say, in the outgroup, not in every facet, and especially white women are in a different place than a lot of our intersectional women. But finding a sponsor, let someone open the door for you. I think there's been a lot of things that I've been able to get pushed through because I have male sponsorship. I'm able to make those appeals privately, they're able to make appeals on my behalf, or even kind of push things up the chain. And then, the second thing I would say is, find people that are at the same level as you and build rapport. You're all going to go to wonderful different places in your career, but the people that I started with, being able to call on them and say, “You're a manager now, I'm a manager now, what did you do in this scenario?” It gives a really different way to approach a problem than having to go to a mentor, and being able to kind of create that space for community within other women that are at like-minded places in their career.
Ryan Berman 31:25
So, if you weren't doing this job, what do you think you'd be doing?
Audrey Burger 31:33
I don't know, maybe a professor if I had stayed in school. I love reading, I love researching. I'm like a big junkie on just staying up to speed on things. So, maybe that, content creator, but I've learned as you know, it's a lot more work than one would appreciate. You can't just pick that up as a side gig casually. But probably, something still in a very similar space.
Ryan Berman 32:01
Yeah. Do you see yourself as a detective?
Audrey Burger 32:05
Detective is a great word. Yes, I do see myself as a detective.
Ryan Berman 32:09
Yeah. I always say compensated observationalist. That's really what we are. See what's not said here, what's not said. And it's developed skill, it's a muscle. So, maybe if Pittsburgh runner Audrey was interviewing Primal Kitchen Audrey, what would she ask you, and what would your response be?
Audrey Burger 32:33
That is a meaty question. She'd probably be surprised that I'm here. I think Pittsburgh runner Audrey did not know what she wanted to do. And I feel very, very lucky that I stumbled into a career that I really like, one that I did not know that I was going into. So, I think she’d probably asked, like, “Was all the hard work worth it? Did it work out? Are you happy? Are you living where you want to?” And the answer would be yes. I think there's the whole logic of the harder you work the luckier you are. I feel very, very lucky. I also know that I've put in a shit ton of hard work to get here.
Ryan Berman 33:16
What you put in is what you get out, right?
Audrey Burger 33:18
Ryan Berman 33:19
Would Pittsburgh around Audrey ask, “Did you pace yourself?”
Audrey Burger 33:24
Ryan Berman 33:26
And what would your response be?
Audrey Burger 33:28
And I didn’t. No, I did not. Went way too hard out front, got really tired in the middle, finally found some even footing.
Ryan Berman 33:37
Okay, there you go. All right, well look, we're coming down the homestretch here. Look, for anyone that's still listening, if you're still around for 30, 40 minutes, you're clearly invested in the conversation. What do you want to leave them with?
Audrey Burger 33:51
I would say don't be afraid to change your mind. I started my career in working in the most traditional CPG path, and I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to get to CEO. And somewhere along the way, I found this insatiable passion to try, and go and do something different still in the food space. That was changing my mind. I then found myself with opportunities to go to different kinds of brands, and changing my mind, and saying, “I don't need to move forward now, I still have more to learn.” Moved across the country to New York two weeks ago. And so, I think that's the biggest thing, is like, don't be afraid to change your mind and don't be afraid to speak your mind.
Ryan Berman 34:36
That's awesome. Great advice. Audrey Burger, Audrey Boca Burger, gosh, how dare I.
Audrey Burger 34:43
Ryan Berman 34:44
I’ve got to bring this back in. Thank you so much for joining. Loved having you on the show. Stay courageous out there.
Audrey Burger 34:49
Ryan Berman 31:36
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Courageous Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us on Apple podcasts so more people can find us. See you again next week.
(Outro music 35:03-35:17)
[End Of Audio]
Stay in Contact
If you wish to connect with Ryan via one of the many social media platforms, please use one of the links below.