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Michelle Pelizzari

Drinks Association welcomes Michelle Pelizzari as Executive Director

March 10, 2020
By Alana House

Congratulations to Lion’s Michelle Pelizzari, Customer Director, Coles Liquor Group, on becoming the first female Executive Director of the Drinks Association Board.

Pelizzari has extensive liquor industry experience, having held various leadership positions in account management and field sales during her 15 years at Lion.

Prior to this, she spent 12 years working across the retail, sales and marketing divisions of the Coles Liquor Group.

Pelizzari has an impressive ability to build outstanding business relationships and is highly respected by industry peers and team members alike.  She has been a member of the Drinks Association Board since 2017.

Drinks Association Deputy Chair Michael Ritoli welcomes Pelizzari to the Executive Board.

Pelizzari said she has seen the Drinks Association positively evolve and transform the Australian drinks industry during that time.

“I’m excited about continuing to build upon the great work that has been done to date by the Drinks Association; specifically in looking at ways to continue to deliver value to our members that makes a positive difference to our industry,” she noted.

“The Drinks Association has done some fantastic work on defining our purpose, strategy and the role of our councils and forums. We are now seeing the momentum behind this build, and a passion and energy from all levels of our membership base wanting to get involved in some way, shape or form.

“I’m really energised about playing a role that supports the success and sustainability of our members, and looking at ways to enhance what the Drinks Association offers them.”

As an Executive Board Member, Pelizzari is hoping to support the Drinks Association in making a positive tangible difference to the drinks industry.

“We have been on a journey to strengthen our industry through the services offered and the diversity and inclusion initiatives,” she said.

“For me it’s about how we further support our member organisations in setting them up not just for today but for the needs of tomorrow. How does the Drinks Association assist organisations both big and small adapt their culture to meet the needs of the next generation of customers, employees and community stakeholders?”

Pelizzari with Lion’s Idris Jama and BevChain’s Misha
Shliapnikoff at the Embrace Difference International Women’s Day event.

The most significant highlight for Pelizzari during her time on the Board has been the progress the industry has made on gender equality, diversity and inclusion.

“This is reflected in the composition of the Board, the DA councils and forums,” she said. “We recognise that we still have a way to go, however our Embrace Difference Council – and previously Women In Drinks – has done a fantastic job at leading initiatives that will make a tangible difference to our industry, and ultimately establish the drinks industry as a destination of choice.

“The identification and support of emerging talent through the Inclusive Leadership mentoring program is definitely another highlight. I’ve been fortunate to be part of this program firstly as a mentee and then as a mentor. This program has such a positive impact on individuals to progress their careers and enhance their leadership competencies and confidence, along with building industry networks and ultimately shifting the leadership culture to become more inclusive.

“Another highlight has been the opportunity to build relationships and networks. We are a socially diverse industry that encourages people to come together to connect and build strong business and personal relationships as well as enjoying the wonderful range of products available.”

Pelizzari said the Drinks Association was important to the Australian drinks industry because it helps build and strengthen industry networks.

“It provides access to data and services that companies may otherwise not have had access to,” she explained.

“All of this helps grow and strengthen the entire industry – not just the large organisations that may already have the resource. Ultimately this establishes the drinks industry as a destination of choice that attracts and retains diverse industry talent.

“I love being part of this industry. It’s ever-evolving and that is exciting to be a part of, and a privilege to work in.”