During these unprecedented times, many business professionals are seeking reassurances and direction in a rapidly changing world.

So many questions are being asked. The answers are in short supply.

How do I adapt? How do I embody and utilize change? How do I make my voice heard and my contributions felt? How do I make the “new normal” the “new extraordinary”?

Enter the Voices of Change—a new series launched by Andreia Fontes, Silvia Andrade Edwards, and Maryann Johnson-Hill. This tightly-knit trio of PMI leaders and their colleagues are seeking to inspire and galvanize fellow professionals. Their goal? To shine a light on the horizon and the opportunities it presents.

Over the coming weeks and months, this occasional series will deliver valuable nuggets to apply in the office or at home.

From advice on flexible working and choosing your cheerleaders, to tips on working from home and dealing with family issues during the lockdown, their broad range of takeaways will provide a wealth of guidance through this challenging period.

Be in no doubt—the dawning of a new business era is here. But it shouldn’t be feared. On the contrary, there is much to be embraced.

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Silvia Andrade Edwards—Head of Global Commercial Planning

The benefits of friendship in uncertain times

Andreia, Silvia and Maryann have developed a close friendship at PMI.

Their bond, shared counsel, and respect for each other as professionals is a key ingredient of their progression and development in their respective roles. 

It’s the reason they created this initiative in the first place.

By looking to each other, they have learned to stay optimistic, focused, and unperturbed through times of adversity, achievement, and everything between.

And never before has the power of work relationships—and the support they provide—proved so critical.

For the Voices of Change, it has ensured their attributes remain undented by current circumstances. If anything, they’ve been amplified.

They are driven and determined, but warm, friendly, and approachable. They are used to change, and are highly adaptable. They are champions of their peers, and their teams. They are also champions of each other. They care. And they relate easily to others.

And that’s why professionals of all descriptions will be easily able to relate to them, too.

Although they have demanding jobs, they still squeeze in a bike ride here or a Pilates session there. Or, in the case of “self-confessed sloth” Maryann, a Netflix and snack binge.

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Maryann Johnson-Hill—Director of Industrialization

Turning change to your advantage

Stretching beyond a commentary on the current pandemic, this series will follow the Voices of Change as they journey through the struggles and successes into tomorrow’s business world.

Featuring input from colleagues who work closely alongside them, it will offer guidance on how to stand out in a changing business landscape—and how to help, support, and instill confidence in others.

And the ability to substitute or complement existing skills with new ones is imperative. Everyone must be perpetual students in that sense.

PMI is harnessing the inspiring, modern talents of leaders such as Silvia, Maryann, and Andreia—people who are channeling change, challenging status quos, motivating teams, and leading by example on the drive for a smoke-free future.

Challenging the corporate stereotype with giggles and friendship

Speaking about their Voices of Change series, Silvia explained: “The core traits we share as people formed the foundations of both our friendship and our careers.

“There’s probably a misconception about how leaders within large multinational organizations conduct themselves—fictionalized by movies that depict us as stern, serious, and ‘corporate.’ That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Maryann agrees. For her, Voices of Change provides a platform to demonstrate that even leaders within big business are just regular people with regular challenges, quandaries, and moments of strength, and weakness.

She said: “We want to challenge stereotypes with this series. Whether it’s uncontrollable giggles on video conference calls or, in the future, catch-ups at coffee stands, it’s the human aspect of any corporation—especially when faced with periods of transition—that is so pivotal. Not least right now.”

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Andreia Fontes—Director of Printing & Converting

Livin’ la vida lockdown

The Voices of Change have adapted well to their new working environments in lockdown—meaning their homes, of course.

They’ve quickly come to terms with this temporary reality and are making the best of an unprecedented situation.

Andreia said: “We understand the pains and challenges people are facing. We’re experiencing many of them ourselves.

“But, by sharing our thoughts, we can engage, entertain, and inform, as we deliver a positive take on tomorrow’s world—and show how we can make it work. Everyone has a role to play in this.”

They are well-positioned to comment on the ups and downs change presents.

For a company transforming its entire business model, learning to progress in uncharted territory has been a prerequisite for all PMI employees for some time.

Andreia added: “Every day, we are driven by the exciting puzzles, opportunities, and challenges of constant change.

“With a combination of empathy, resilience, openness, collaboration, and authenticity, every business employee in the world has the chance to become a boss—not a victim—of change.”

Delivering value to the wider business community

This series is not an exercise in self-promotion. Far from it. Silvia, Andreia, and Maryann are too humble and self-deprecating for that. Instead, it’s an extension of their friendship to the entire business world.

In their business roles, they are making key contributions to help achieve a smoke-free future.

This opportunity to serve society and deliver a solution to a problem that won’t solve itself is what drives them. The friendship, support, and guidance they share is their fuel.

This is what inspired them to reach out to the wider business community during this disorienting time.

Through a combination of candid perspectives and insights, they’re aiming to deliver value to others and encourage ownership of tomorrow’s world today

They’ve got each other’s backs. They’ve got yours, too.


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