Morton Salt CMO Denise Lauer: “Our goal is to inspire a movement to Erase Food Waste”

Let’s Erase Food Waste! Our goal is to inspire a movement to tackle the issue so we encourage anyone interested in joining us to reach out to Morton Salt and share ideas with #EraseFoodWaste.

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Let’s Erase Food Waste! Our goal is to inspire a movement to tackle the issue so we encourage anyone interested in joining us to reach out to Morton Salt and share ideas with #EraseFoodWaste.

I had the distinct pleasure to interview Denise Lauer. Denise is Chief Marketing Officer of Morton Salt, Inc., a leader in the North American salt market since 1848. She was appointed to the CMO role in November of 2017 and is responsible for shaping the future of the company’s brands in the marketplace and workplace. She is the company’s first CMO. Since joining Morton Salt in 2011, Denise has played a pivotal role in the company’s modernization and transformation efforts. Under her leadership, Morton Salt has been recognized with numerous marketing honors and awards, including 6 Cannes Lions. Prior to Morton Salt, she held positions at Quaker Food & Snacks, FedEx and Eaton Corporation.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s all about the art of the pivot. I first learned how to pivot while playing basketball in school. Little did I know that the pivot would become part of my future playbook.

The first pivot in my career happened by chance. My dream was to become a journalist. I studied journalism, worked on the school paper and interned at several newspapers. I was well on my way toward fulfilling my dream when I decided to take a corporate communications internship at a Fortune 500 company my last semester in college. I was hooked. Then the company offered me a full-time job at the end of the internship. So began my corporate career.

My latest pivot involved transitioning from communications to the role of CMO at Morton Salt. Some might say the path I took was not the traditional one. They’re right. But the lines between marketing and communications have blurred over the years, making another pivot possible in my career. Only time will tell what the next pivot will be.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

At Morton Salt, our company promise is to empower the better in all of us. We take this promise very seriously because Morton has been trusted for generations to provide meaningful solutions.

We flavor food, improve water quality and help business and industry thrive. We keep streets safe in winter and help sustain life. What we make enhances life. Yet we know we can all do better. We believe in a world that is more inspiring. More inclusive. More sustainable. And more empowering. It’s now on us to shake it out.

Can you tell us about the initiatives that your company is taking to tackle climate change? Can you give an example for each?

One of the most significant initiatives our company has launched to support a more sustainable future is our Erase Food Waste campaign. Now you may be thinking, how does this relate to climate change? Food waste is a massive issue that has social, environmental and economic impacts. Consider these staggering statistics:

About one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption goes uneaten. In the U.S. alone, about 40% of food produced goes to waste. Yet more than 40 million Americans struggle with hunger. Food is also estimated to be the number one contributor to landfills, where it then generates methane (a greenhouse gas). If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China and the U.S.

Erase Food Waste is a bold campaign from Morton Salt designed to change the conversation around food. Through this campaign, Morton Salt aims to raise awareness about the magnitude of this issue, provide educational tools and solutions, and inspire behavioral change to reduce food waste.

As a company, Morton aims to eliminate food waste at its offices and operations by 2030. This target will be driven by a variety of strategies and initiatives including efficiencies that reduce waste salt in Morton Salt’s production processes, investments in infrastructure at the company’s facilities, and reuse/recycle efforts throughout the organization.

Morton is also working with consumers, communities, business partners, trade associations, non-profit organizations and other engaged stakeholders to identify ways to create collective action to fight food waste in an effort to address hunger in our communities and protect our planet.

In 2017, Morton Salt donated more than 500,000 pounds of food grade products to Feeding America and other reuse organizations as part of its commitment.

We encourage consumers to visit to take the Erase Food Waste Challenge, using Morton Salt’s tips and recipes to take a bite out of food waste.

Do you think entrepreneurs/businesses can do a better job than governments to solve the climate change and global warming issues? Please explain why or why not.

I don’t think one is more capable than the other to address our challenges today. But I do think it takes all points of view to land on the best solutions. For example, entrepreneurs and businesses can bring creative ideas, fresh thinking and an agile approach to problem-solving. At the same time, governments can offer resources, experience and know-how that also deliver value. It’s really about tapping into one another’s greatest assets and setting aside any agendas.

What are some practical things that both people and governments can do to help you address the climate change and global warming problem?

Listen to all perspectives and ideas. It’s not enough to hear them. Try to understand them, even if you do not agree. In many cases, the simple act of convening the right people and the right organizations at the right time to start a dialogue is a positive step forward.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

In one’s life, there’s rarely just one person who helped pave a clear path for success. In my life, there are so many people who deserve credit. Of course, managers, mentors and colleagues throughout the course of my career have been instrumental to my development and growth.

The same is true of my family. My husband has always been a huge believer, supporter, advice-giver and champion. He also keeps it very real with me. That’s critically important in life today to have those around you who can be brutally honest — in a productive way, of course!

I’m also forever grateful to my parents for instilling in me the importance of hard work, the power of perseverance and the belief that anything is possible. They continue to inspire me to dream big and create my own destiny.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

· Find your purpose. Dig deep to discover what you’re most passionate about and translate that into a greater purpose in your personal and/or professional life.

· Challenge norms. How many times have you heard someone say, that’s the way it’s always been done. Ask why. There’s usually a better way.

· Speak up. This applies to so many aspects of your work and life. Speak up in meetings. When you see injustice, call it out. Go ahead and ask for that promotion. Just be prepared with the back-up to support what you say.

· Be unapologetic. Literally, stop saying sorry all the time. Be confident in your words and actions. Own your decisions.

· Build relationships. It’s not just about amassing likes and followers. Create real, lasting relationships at all stages of your career.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the world, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Let’s Erase Food Waste! Our goal is to inspire a movement to tackle the issue so we encourage anyone interested in joining us to reach out to Morton Salt and share ideas with #EraseFoodWaste.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

Follow me on Twitter @tweetsbydlauer or on LinkedIn at

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