International Women’s Day
04th March 2020
Olivia Minter is Cafédirect’s Retail & International Controller. She’s also Australian, so perfect to interview as part of this year’s International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March 2020.
What’s your job role?
I’m Cafédirect’s Retail and International Controller.
What does that involve?
My role is heading up the Retail & International sector. I work with a team of 3 brilliant account managers who work with all of our key grocery, retail and export partners. We work very closely as a unit and I help the team to develop a strategy for winning new listings, develop strong relationships and maximise sales.
You’re from Australia… when did you move to the UK and what are the main differences that you notice between attitudes to women in Australia compared to the UK?
I moved to the UK in July 2003. My mother is from Derbyshire so I fancied living in the UK to spend time with my British family and starting my post-university career.
Australia and the UK are, of course, incredibly similar in many ways. Both countries seem to offer women a lot of opportunities that are not available in other parts of the world. I feel lucky to have felt in both countries that my gender didn’t hold me back in any role that I chose to do.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Oh, that’s a tricky question. I even had to google the official definition! Whilst never being one to put the feminist label on myself, I absolutely believe in gender equality and I am definitely not one to shy away from arguing the case!
The theme for IWD is #EachforEqual – do you think gender equality is possible to achieve?
I hope so! I know so many strong, ambitious, intelligent women that it seems unbelievable that anyone would feel that women can’t do anything. We have all felt gender inequality in our lives and as the mother of 2 girls I am raising them to know that they can do/be anything they want – and they shouldn’t be afraid to tell people what that is and be determined to achieve it.
What attracted you to work for Cafêdirect?
I wanted to work at Cafédirect as I wanted to work for a company that was giving something back but at the same time had a commercial growth agenda. I was really drawn in by the passion of the people that worked at Cafédirect and that definitely hasn’t changed over the years.
How long have you worked for Cafêdirect?
I’ve been at Cafédirect since June 2012, joining on the same day as John (CEO of Cafédirect) from the same previous employer, which was a biscuit company.
What did you do beforehand?
My whole career has been in Sales starting during university at a paint shop! Whilst working in the UK, I have moved from soft drinks to biscuits to coffee and I have worked across all sectors, so I like to think that I am a well-rounded sales person!
How do you balance work and life commitments?
Cafédirect are extremely family-friendly, they have supported me through 2 pregnancies and maternity leave’s and at no time have I felt that my commitment to my work or my family has been impacted. I get to work from home, which means I can take my children to school and nursery and put them to bed nearly every night, which is extremely important for me. I would not find this work-life balance in any other company, and it means that I work hard for Cafédirect and don’t mind the business trips that take me to Asia/US/Ireland.
What’s been the most exciting achievement so far in your role?
2019 was probably my best year at Cafédirect. My sector saw significant growth from all areas which was really exciting, but being able to deliver such an incredible impact to our growers is definitely the most motivating aspect of my job!
What are your ambitions for 2020?
2020 is a really exciting year for Cafédirect – we have so many new products launching that are really exciting for us and our customers.
*For anyone London based- don’t miss visiting the Women of the World 3 day event (6th-8th March) where you can hear from world-class speakers (including Deborah Frances-White, author of The Guilty Feminist); meet the women who make the world’s best chocolate and say hello to the Fairtrade Foundation team!
*For an insight into a female growers’ perspective, read about Silvia Lizana Rodriquez who is a member of the Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera (CAC) coffee co-operative, in Northern Peru.
*Learn more about Producers Direct‘s work in empowering women.