Motivation to Do More: How a Unilever Executive's Childhood Leads Him to Give Back

Todd Tillemans
November 21, 2016

Sometimes, life and career come full circle. That’s precisely the case with Todd Tillemans, and it’s what motivates him to do more.

As corporate executive vice president at Unilever USA, Todd leads customer development and is passionate about his work in way that goes far beyond business. In both his job and personal time, Todd is committed to giving back through donating, volunteering and developing programs to help people reach their full potential.

Why so much focus on giving back? Because Todd knows what it’s like to be in need.

Growing up, Todd’s family sometimes struggled to make ends meet. His mother worked full time, but living paycheck-to-paycheck often didn’t fill the pantry. She relied on food stamps to secure enough food for her children to eat. “My family needed extra help,” Todd explains.

“At the end of each month things got really tight in our house,” Todd continued. “I remember being so excited for the beginning of the month, going to the grocery store and the feeling of excitement of filling up our pantry again. Those times were tough on our family, but cashing in those food stamps symbolized hope for us—not despair.”

With that helping hand, Todd’s family got the nutrition they needed to succeed, as evidenced not just by Todd’s career success, but also his empathetic outlook.

“I truly believe that at some point in their lives, everyone needs a helping hand,” Todd said. “I was given that as a child and that enabled me to get to where I am today. I also think that we all have a role to play in helping others, and am grateful to work for a company like Unilever that shares this value and invests significant resources in giving back to people and communities in need.”

Unilever has proudly partnered with Feeding America and our mission to end hunger, and has been a Feeding America donor for more than 10 years. Unilever has provided Feeding America with financial support from its many cause marketing campaigns, an annual grant from the Unilever U.S. Foundation, food and grocery product donations and volunteer support from its employees.

“Food is a fundamental human need and feeding people in need is a tangible way to make a difference—not only in their lives but also in our society as a whole,” Todd says. “Working together with Feeding America, Unilever can help provide the food and nourishment that can help children facing hunger reach their full potential.”

If anyone knows the potential impact of our work, it’s Todd. “Our efforts can make a difference—of that, I’m living proof.”

*Colleen Callahan is a communications manager and content producer for Feeding America.