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diane johnson may

Meet Diane Johnson May: Our New Chief Human Resources Officer

Life at Campbell’s

We recently welcomed Diane Johnson May as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.

We sat down with Diane to get to know her and learn about her goals for the company.

Welcome Diane! How were your first few weeks? Any first impressions of Campbell?

First of all, I’m so excited to join the Campbell team—I love the people, the brands, and the opportunity to make an impact. My team did an amazing job onboarding me and getting me up to speed. They were all so engaged in helping set me up to be successful. It was a great demonstration of how Campbell employees really care about their work. I’ve seen it over and over again since I started.

As you know, we recently updated our company values. What do you think of the “5 Cs of Campbell?”

I love the values: Care, Character, Collaboration, Competitiveness, and Creativity—they are our moral compass. They say so much about the quality of our people and what we aspire to do from a business perspective. The combination is especially powerful.

We start with care—caring about the people that work for us, our consumers, our customers, the planet that we live on.

Character is about being transparent, acting with integrity, communicating in a way that people understand the message.

To ensure collaboration, I’m focused on making sure that we’ve got an inclusive environment where you really want to get to understand the whole person instead of just one component of who they are.

The value that spoke most to me was competitiveness. I don’t care where the idea comes from or how we make it happen. We’re all in this together and it’s just about making this company win.

Creativity is so important when you think about consumer products and innovation. It’s about understanding what consumers want in the future and bringing that creativity to life. I get real energy from people who are creative.

Our role in HR is to enable the entire company to really live into the values—they’re not part of everyone’s toolbox on day one and that’s okay. I’m a big believer in change management. Once you help people understand the why and what is in it for them, that’s when you unlock change.

You are responsible for a lot of important areas in your new role, from recruitment to development, can you talk a little bit about your goals?

The first pillar in our business strategy is “Building a winning team and culture.” That’s because people and culture enable the rest of our strategy. If we attract and retain great people, then we unlock our full growth potential as a company.

That starts with how we recruit people and how we talk about our company. And then when they join Campbell, we need to ask ourselves, how do we help them be successful in their role and prepare them to become future leaders? It’s the development and rewards programs, it’s how we think about succession and the roles they can take in the future. I call it the integrated talent wheel—all these things work together to bring the values, the mission, and the purpose to life.

I can’t wait to see what we accomplish.

Okay, fun fact time, is it true that you hired our CEO, Mark Clouse, for his first role in the food business? Can you talk a little bit about working with Mark and what made you want to work with him again?

Yes! I hired Mark for his first food business role at a previous company. It was to work on a brand that was sold a short time after he was hired—talk about an interesting first experience! We both ended up moving around in different roles and worked together again a few times over our careers.

When I was considering this role at Campbell, I was excited to get to work with Mark again because we both have similar philosophies—how to lead people, develop people, and make a company a great place to work. It’s in our DNA.

What drives you?

I am incredibly competitive. I entered a fishing contest when I was 10 and took second place. I was so disappointed and still remember that feeling well.

I love that feeling of winning in the food space—competing to see which company is going to have the next big idea in food. I tell my team that it doesn’t matter if the work belongs to one area, if we can bring people together to get a better outcome and win, that’s incredibly energizing.

What kind of manager are you?

It’s all about empowering your team. I believe in letting people own their work and I’m a big believer in honest, clear feedback. If people don’t get feedback, we can’t expect them to get better.

I’m proud that there are seven or eight people who used to work for me who are now in Chief Human Resources Officer roles. Developing those leaders of the future–that’s what it’s all about for me.

Tell us a little bit about what you like to do in your free time.

I love to hang with people. I have three kids, 32, 29, and 26, and ours was always the house where everyone hung out. Bikes all over the front lawn. We’re still the fun house—one New Year’s Eve a few years ago there were probably about 15 kids not even related to me that just came over to hang.

I’m also a big sports fan—either at the game or watching them on TV. Go Bears! And I love to read—once I get into a book, I zone everyone out and stay up until 2:00 a.m. to finish it.

Glass half full or half empty?

I’m an optimist. With great people around us, we can solve anything.

Life at Campbell’s

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