Classic Fine Foods proudly stands for gender diversity. We believe that having a mixture of genders from different ethnicities, backgrounds and nationalities is one of the great assets of our company. Having both women and men in our teams who provide different points of view and have a different approach thanks to their particular experience in life contributes greatly to the success of Classic Fine Foods. In honour of International Women’s Day, we celebrate some of our CFF women who, on a daily basis, contribute to our success. We invited Jovy, Karen, Emma, and Carol to share their thoughts with us. Challenges, passions, future, and role models are some of the topics covered in the stories they shared with us:
Jovy is Brand Manager Retail Division in Hong Kong. Her first job after graduation was with Classic Fine Foods. Subsequently, she worked with several other food companies, both from supplier & distributor sides, but always in the retail department. In 2018, she re-joined the CFF family as a brand Manager.
Her strong decision skills are just one of the major assets she brings to the company. She best describes being a Brand Manager as being a planner. She evaluates available options and identifies risks before giving instructions to the Sales Team, and setting priorities for them. The business is not just about P&L, but also focuses on the right balance of brand awareness and product exposure in the market.
For Jovy, success means knowing yourself well, so that you know want you want in life. When asked what are her biggest passions, she says with no hesitation: “Definitely food. And that is how I got tempted to send my job application to CFF in the first place.” In ten years, she hopes to have the same passion and energy to carry on what she is doing today.
Jovy thinks that women bring warmth and detail-orientated focus to a company, which are essential to sustainable growth. When asked what International Women’s Day means to her, she says: it a good reminder of how fortunate women are nowadays compared to our mothers and grandmothers.”
Jovy’s mentor is her line Manager Evelyn. Before starting her job at CFF, she knew nothing about business and fine foods as she was a science graduate. Today, she remembers how Evelyn taught her, starting from zero and working through things step by step. She will never forget the time, effort and patience Evelyn spent nurturing her when she was still a freshman in this industry.
She believes that CFF also plays an active supporting role in gender equity as the company offers plenty of opportunities if one is willing to try and take on a challenge.
Karen, CFF Singapore General Manager, brings authentic leadership, strategic mindset and strong executional skills. Her focus is her team, amongst other things, and this strong team spirit is what helps the company reach its goals and overcome any crisis. The role that CFF plays in supporting gender equity is clear to her: no one has ever asked her to conform to traditional norms of how success should look. Apart from gender, Karen thinks that we must also continue to advocate other forms of diversity and focus more on inclusive culture. She explains that “All of us have blind spots and inherent bias (unfortunately)so keeping them in check is important. Besides being a moral imperative, how boring would it be if we were all the same?”
On International Women’s Day, she says: “For the sake of ourselves and future generations, let’s hope for the day when there is no need to fight for women’s rights.”
Karen’s true role model is her grandmother. When faced with a difficult situation, she still asks herself “What would my Popo do?” Karen’s grandmother may not be considered a successful businesswoman by today’s standards and yet she was in her own way. Despite a humble background, she taught herself to read and write English, started a business to support her family and still found time to volunteer regularly, even winning a volunteer award at age 70. Always positive, she was progressive, entrepreneurial, curious and a leader for those around her.
Emma is CFF UK Senior Buyer, a position she climbed to in only 3 years from Purchasing Coordinator and Meat Specialist. Emma is a true fighter and does not give up easily! Her tenacity is the most important attribute she brings to her job and she strives to always get the job done to the highest standard.
COVID-19 and Brexit happening simultaneously brought on previously unheard-of challenges. They both required new ways of working and unconventional thinking to make sure customers received their deliveries. For Emma, success comes in many different forms; but she feels blessed to wake up every morning and be part of change within challenging times, and that success fills her with confidence. Passionate in all her endeavours, Emma knows she can grow from anything she applies herself to.
When asked where she sees herself in 10 years, she jokingly answers: “Ruling the world!” More seriously, she aims to be healthy and wiser, and bring even better ideas to the table. Emma thinks that women are able to make bold and informed decisions, which helps make a team environment less authoritative and more cooperative, bringing a family-like feel to the team. This boosts teamwork across an organisation and helps implement a new culture within the business.
“When men and women have equal rights and opportunities, the results are stronger economically, and quality of life is improved for everyone.” Emma says on International Women’s Day
Her mentor and role model in business is her own mother: “She is 1.50 m tall and came to England in the 60’s with pennies in her pocket and worked her socks off becoming a trusted and successful woman in the hospitality industry and still made it home to cook us a fresh homemade dinner every evening without fail.” she says.
Emma believes that CFF plays an active supporting role in gender equity as she has never been treated differently because of her gender.
Carol joined CFF Macau in October 2018 as a Sales Administration Officer and was promoted to Senior Sales Administration in September 2020. Before joining CFF, she worked for a logistics and trading company. She says that she will keep learning, no matter what industry she is part of, or for which company, as long as she feels capable of doing it well.
Her strong sense of organisation and her ability to multi-task are two important skills she brings to the company. One big challenge she faces at work is taking care of the perishable orders, she even says it’s her daily bread! She always makes sure to coordinate with suppliers and review the documents required in advance to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Success for Carol means both happiness and satisfaction. At work, feeling like she’s part of a team, performing well and fulfilling her role in the company. And at home, enjoying more time with her family.
Carol is passionate about self-development and learning new things, and in 10 years, she hopes to be retired and enjoying a peaceful life.
She believes that women contribute the same to a company as men do. On International Women’s Day, she says: “we’re reaching for gender equality. Say NO to gender discrimination.”
As far as mentors or role models are concerned, Carol does not have a specific woman in mind as there are so many women who are successful in their roles professionally. Even at CFF, she can find many women who are very successful in their careers, so they are her role models. She adds that CFF offers opportunities to both women and men, and cites the Macau office, where she has as many women colleagues as men.