International Women's Day - Visionary Team!
International Women's Day is fast approaching and this is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. “Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality.” (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About)
Choosing to celebrate this day by introducing everyone to the females of our team at Visionary Food Solutions. With two new female recruits in the past six months, making our team as strong as it's ever been!
Meet Jen, Visionary Food Solutions’ Business Manager and the glue of our entire team!
What is your role in VFS?
Having over 20 years experience working in the food and drink industry, I really enjoy getting stuck in with the various projects that the team deliver; it can be a variety of things that you’re asked to help with in this role and I find that exciting! Working with different customers and helping with their challenges is always rewarding; it can be from providing their company customer service, working on sales presentations and market analysis to actually helping their teams late at night packing their products and sending them out! Did I say it was varied??
If you could learn one new professional skill, what would it be?
For me, I would love to learn a new creative professional skill! I have dabbled in making things at home (hasn’t everyone in lockdown?) with various degrees of success. Lockdown does make you want to explore new things, in our house if you stayed still for too long, you were painted, glued, or had to step over stained glass pieces to reach the dining table without stabbing yourself. I started going to pottery classes before lockdown and really would love to get back to that and learn how to do it properly. Could be a way to keep me in crockery for a few years!?
How do you stay productive and motivated working virtually?
I haven’t found it too bad staying productive and motivated working remotely, albeit missing seeing the team face to face. I’m used to being organised, and making sure I do get through what’s needed. My discipline needs to be stopping snacking as working from home is really too close to the biscuit cupboard, and I genuinely look forward to catching up with the team when restrictions lift.
What is your favourite food or drink?
I think the team would answer the favourite drink as ‘anything alcoholic’ (so rude!!) but if alcoholic, it does have to be Gin! Non-alcoholic, a lovely latte, usually enjoyed with friends but the social side sadly missing at this time. Food, I absolutely love eating out and am looking forward to this the most, a nice night out at Wagamama with their variety of noodle dishes or some small independent restaurants where the food (and good company) really makes for a lovely evening.
Welcome Lowri, also known as the goldfish, our Marketing Executive!
What does your average working day look like?
I usually start with walking my puppy - Mali (see the cutest picture below)
I tend to book any calls in for the morning. Then I will create a list of everything I need to do (anyone who knows me, knows I need to write every single little thing down) things like:
And then I tend to tackle a bigger project once a day, usually something that I can put my phone down and focus on for a couple of hours - something like creating a newsletter, a marketing plan or creating a few social media post on Canva!
Do you find it hard to switch off at the end of the day?
This is one of my biggest challenges, I am probably still getting used to the world of working. Some days I am awful at it and some days I'm really good at switching off! Something I have always done is, do an hour of work later on around 8pm (I find I get more focused with 0 distractions and can get creative then)
I usually switch off around 4pm, walk the puppy AGAIN, clean the house or pop to the shop and occasionally do a Zoom Pilates class with Maria :)
The nature of social media can mean its hard to switch off but its all about the balance, as long as I still have time to do things I enjoy!
What is your favourite thing about working in food and drink?
It is so varied, fast-paced and intense but I don’t think people realise this. I was shocked at how little I had heard or seen about it considering it is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry. My family have all commented how they never knew there was so much going on behind the scenes of food/drink brands. I love the traits of entrepreneurs and seeing them shine through their brands!
The favourite thing is the fun branding that food and drink brands have, there is sooo much you can do with it! Anyone else love scrolling on instagram and seeing the amazing looking feeds of food and drink brands?
Also, the network and support amongst all founders. Some organisations which are great are The Food Hub, Bread and Jam, GroceryAid, Great British Entrepreneurs Award and Delicious Journeys network on Linkedin
Who is your dream brand to work with and why?
This is a hard one. There are so many food and drink brands that I would love to get creative with! Brands i've always loved are Ben and Jerrys Ice Cream, Chewits or Graze! I love to try to understand the consumer and apply marketing knowledge to create campaigns and these would be some interesting consumer markets which I haven't been involved in just yet! Snacking is one category that is fun to do marketing for!
Introducing Maria Reed, the hero queen, and our new Food Service Executive!
Maria, tell us about your role and how you are finding it?
My role mainly is to support brands with getting awareness and listings with end users/wholesalers across all foodservice sectors. I’m absolutely loving the role and team I work with. Of course it’s been a little tougher with the current climate but we have continued to find opportunities and positives within the market. I’ve loved getting to know our current brand clients and also finding new clients to work with. There are so many great, inspiring challenger/start up brands out there, and we get to work with some of the best! Luckily I work at a forward thinking company where you are encouraged to be creative, this has enabled me to produce and present my own monthly podcast talking to founders within the industry. So all in all- loving the journey so far!
How are you finding working from home, what are your best tips?
What is your favourite snack in your working day?
It changes all the time! For now I would say a banana with a yummy layer of peanut butter on top.
Do you have an inspirational woman?
Well I’d have to say my Mum! She can talk to anyone and she gives equal kindness and respect to everyone she meets. A quality I have tried to embody from watching her. She’s taught me from a young age how to be happy in your own skin, how to be independent and believe in yourself. Although these things don’t always come easy to follow, I’ve got the words in my heads and fire in my belly to do her and myself proud. Love you Mum!
Say hey to Tracy, our brilliant Head of Brand and Client Development!
What do you love about working in our industry?
What is your favourite food?
My favourite dish is one that really impresses people - Baked King prawn and Manchego
What is your favourite quote?
“Darkest hour comes just before the dawn” - Thomas Fuller
No matter how bad things can get, you know it will always get better. I use this quote quite a lot. All the rubbish things that go on, you can see light at the end of the tunnel. When I write my book that is going to be my title!
Best book you’ve ever read?
The Celestine Prophecy - by James Redfield. This is my guidebook to life because it can direct your steps with energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow . The story tells of a gripping adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystalize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life...
Definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone. Here is a link to buy on Amazon.
Have a browse and say hi to our full team here