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Honoree Headshot

Heather Schlesinger

Vice President of Marketing
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Founded: 1945
Industry: Food and Beverage

Don H Bravaldo

Heather Schlesinger is working on her dream project: connecting a beloved, 77-year-old brand to future generations.

She was hired as executive vice president/chief marketing officer for Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, an iconic purveyor that still makes treats the old-fashioned, unhurried way. The first batches of Handel’s ice cream relied on fresh fruit from the owner’s backyard. Today, Handel’s is a rapidly growing franchise, with more than 100 flavors, served in 90 locations across 11 states.

Schlesinger is providing foundational marketing processes and leadership to transition Handel’s into a modern, forward-thinking and cuttingedge company — while keeping the nostalgia and beautiful history intact, she said.

Plus, her job makes people happy, one scoop at a time.

Schlesinger was selected for the highly competitive role after a stint at Edible Arrangements, where she also served as vice president of marketing. There, she launched the company’s first national radio endorsement campaigns (featuring Ryan Seacrest) in the U.S. and Canada. She also created innovative partnerships and social media strategies.

“Social media engagement and sales conversions were exponential,” she said, calling Edible’s social media transformation her “greatest business accomplishment.”

Believing in herself and not being afraid to ask for feedback helped her earn the position she’s in today. And now she’s giving back. She focuses a lot of her time on mentorship, offering her direct reports and extended team the coaching they need to succeed.

Mentoring is critically important for leaders, she said. “It brings the best out of the people you lead.

“As humans, we’re afraid to ask for help. We believe we can get everything done by ourselves and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Being a mentor that people aren’t afraid to come to is incredibly fulfilling,” she said.

Schlesinger said mentoring also generates confidence, inspires trust and fast-tracks team development. “I saw the results firsthand within my director-level direct-report group and how they handled adversity in the workplace,” she said.

Sometimes leaders have to make tough decisions. A good leader can push through obstacles, assess the risk and act when needed. She said it’s also important for leaders to have integrity, courage, empathy and gratitude.

Self-awareness is important, too. “Everyone needs a clear view of their strengths and weaknesses, where they excel and where they need help, to work well in a team,” she said.

During the past 25 years, Schlesinger has come up with a fairly simple process for solving complex problems. It starts with defining the exact challenge or opportunity as succinctly as possible.

“Understand the root of the problem, ask the right questions, and get team feedback every step of the way,” she said.

That approach has served her well — and will propel Handel’s to the next level.

Presented by:

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The recognition of being a Titan has meant the world to me. When the Titan spotlight was posted on LinkedIn, I received too many to count accolades and messages from my network “ it was truly humbling! I have loved connecting with other Titans and now that I am with the Handel's organization and do not have restrictions placed on what networking events I am able to participate in, I am looking forward to connecting and engaging even more with the Titan 2022 cohort ;

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