February 15, 2019  

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Mars Wrigley Executive Speaks to Standing-Room-Only Crowd at USM

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Mars Wrigley executive Edward Taylor speaks to USM students as part of the Inspired Leaders Series. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

A packed audience on The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus heard Mars Wrigley Co. executive Edward Taylor extol the virtues of education and core values as part of the Inspired Leaders Series sponsored by the University’s College of Business.

Students sat in the aisles of the spacious McDonnell Auditorium in Scianna Hall on Thursday, Sept. 28 and learned how Taylor, a 1987 graduate of USM, worked his way through various positions to become Vice President of MultiChannel and Sales for Mars Wrigley, a company with annual sales of $33 billion.

Taylor, a native of Brandon, Miss., and graduate of Pearl High School, credits his parents for teaching him basic core values and Southern Miss for providing the foundation of knowledge he needed to compete against others, including Ivy League school graduates.

He shared many stories, including how as a southerner he acclimated himself to New York City without losing his identity. He encouraged students to aim high, believe in themselves and to work hard.

Jhaimee Bullock, a senior marketing major from Hattiesburg, Miss was particularly impressed with Taylor’s presentation.

“I’ve been racking my brain trying to plan for my career. Edward Taylor made a statement that really resonated with me. He encouraged students ‘don't take the job with highest pay. Take the job that will give you the skills you need to accomplish your end goal because that job will provide you with the foundation you need.’ I feel like I now have peace of mind and direction.”

Taylor was not only an inspirational speaker, but also hit high marks with students as he provided hundreds of Mars Wrigley products including M&M's, Skittles, Starburst, Juicy Fruit, Orbit, Snickers, Altoids, Combos and more. He also arranged for the Mars Wrigley showcase NASCAR race car to be displayed on campus which wowed students.

“Mr. Edward Taylor, VP of MultiChannel and Sales for Mars Wrigley inspired me with his stories and approaches to leadership,” said Dr. Faye Gilbert, dean of the USM College of Business. “His advice to students to remain true to principles and to be ‘all-in’ for a company were great reminders of the importance of hard work and integrity. He was so generous with his time and accessible to our students. I am grateful that he returned to his alma mater to share a bit of his journey over the past few decades.”

The Inspired Leaders series is in its second year and provides an opportunity for students to interact with business leaders through a variety of opportunities, including small group interactions, classroom presentation and a large audience presentation.

To learn more about the College of Business at USM, call 601.266.4659 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/business