Spirited innovation: A conversation with Angela Vanges, Head of Innovation and Brand Change at Diageo

March 6, 2024
By Cindy Panzera

As the Head of Innovation and Brand Change at Diageo, Angela Vanges navigates an exceptionally diverse range of responsibilities. From overseeing innovations and developments in liquid and packaging development to spearheading the creation of an exciting range of cocktails on tap, Angela plays a pivotal role in bringing exceptional products to life and ensuring these innovations resonate with both consumers and customers alike.

Last month, Angela generously agreed to take part in a filming day in Sydney for the Drinks Association’s upcoming International Women’s Day luncheon.

We took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her fascinating career in drinks.

How long have you been with Diageo and what do you do there?
My day entails working in a large group of cross-functional partners across marketing, supply chain and commercial, to bring great products to life for our consumers and customers. 

What does a day in the life of your job look like?
My day entails working a large group cross-functional partner across marketing, supply chain and commercial, to bring great products to life for our consumers and customers.

How did you get into the R&D space?
It started with a passion for product development in the pilot plant at UNSW during my degree. This allowed me to secure a role at Kerry developing flavours systems. I then moved to Arnott’s working across all biscuit categories before joining Diageo.

What do you love most about your job?
The diversity and challenge to find a solution to make the best product we can deliver.

What do you find the most challenging?
Embracing failure as a positive and learning from it.

What advice would you give to women who are interested in pursuing a similar career path to you i.e. innovation in drinks?
Be clear on what you want and call it out – have confidence. Reduce the self-talk don’t be afraid to share what your aspirations and career goals are, there will always be support from others.

Finally, anything new and exciting that you are working on that you can share with us?
Draught cocktails, i.e. cocktails on tap. I’m so proud of the work that we have completed to have such a great product range available for bartenders. The cocktails on tap include Gordon’s Pink Martini, Smirnoff Passionfruit Martini, Captain Morgan Strawberry Daquiri and Smirnoff with Mr. Black Espresso.

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