Career Paths: Courtney West went from HR to brewery operations and back

Courtney West has taken her passion for leading across multiple functions at Molson Coors since she joined the organization, paving the way to her current HRBP role where she supports a group of around 450 employees. But her career path has not been completely vertical, and she credits those horizontal moves for allowing her to get to the role she has today.

After working primarily in HR, Courtney joined Molson back in 2018 as a leadership coordinator for the Brewery Leadership team. When a team leader role within operations proved difficult to fill, Courtney’s manager asked if she would be interested in taking on the role on a temporary basis. While she was nervous moving way from HR and into operations without having a technical background, she took a risk and accepted the position.

When Courtney moved into her operations role it her build her leadership skills, as well as learn more about the day-to-day operations of a different are of the company. But most importantly, this role pushed Courtney outside of her comfort zone. And in return, by pushing herself she been able to learn more and be bold with her ideas. 

“A team leader has the most direct reports of any position in the brewery and operations is a different pace of problem solving that I hadn’t been exposed to before,” she says. “This push helped grow my people management and problem-solving skills. “

The move from a leadership coordinator to a team leader was a lateral move for Courtney. And though it might not have been a step upwards in levels, Courtney has seen the value a new role can hold. Each role helps build different skillsets and understand the business on a deeper level.

“I think my communication skills have been the most important for me as I’ve moved across functions; and I have been able to strengthen my communication as I have taken on new roles” she says, describing the advantages of moving across functions. “Communicating with so many different groups of employees in the different roles I’ve been in, has made it incredibly important to have the ability to tailor and deliver different messages.”

Now Courtney is encouraging other employees to step outside of their comfort zone and consider making a cross-functional move. Even if it’s unexpected like her career journey, Courtney says, “don’t be afraid to try something different.”