How did you get to where you are now?
I took a very traditional educational route of O Levels, A Levels and then a vocational degree in Retail Marketing before entering the food industry as a category analyst at Spillers Petfoods. From those early days I have held a number of commercial roles in food with the career ladder being Category Analyst, Category Manager, National Account Manager, National Account Controller, Sales Director, Commercial Director and now my current role of Joint Managing Director.
What does your current role involve?
My current role is joint leadership of the cake business at Finsbury Foods. The key skill therefore is leadership, I have got a great team and I create the right environment for them to succeed and push the business forwards. The experience that has enabled me to do this has been gained over the last 20 years observing the good and the bad of leadership, that has helped to mould my own style that I believe is conducive to success for all around me.
What’s good about working in the food, drink and retail industry?
Due to its competitive nature it is very dynamic and multi-dimensional which makes it a very exciting industry to work in.
What do you think employers are looking for in college leavers/graduates?
Attitude. At that stage of your career you are not expected to know how it all works so we want people who are positive, can do, have perseverance and are willing to try hard.
What do you wish you’d known about career wise when you were 16?
With the attitude we can all make it right up the career ladder even if you think you are just average.
What is the best piece of careers advice you’ve ever been given?
Say yes to everything and work out how you can achieve it later.
You’re also a volunteer speaker at Working Options motivation and information sessions in sixth form colleges. What made you decide to volunteer and why would you recommend it to others in your industry?
I volunteer for the simple reason that if I had known then what I know now it would have been great. I also volunteer as this industry has given me a fantastic career and therefore a great lifestyle so I should give something back. I would recommend (and do so) that people should do this, it is very rewarding, don’t worry if you think it is not for you, we all get nervous but the responses from the students makes it all worthwhile.
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