So, tell us about your move to New Zealand, your career, and what got you to where you are today?
I moved to New Zealand despite never having visited the country before and having just one friend (my colleague). I remember quite vividly waving goodbye to my mum and brother at Heathrow airport with two suitcases in tow, feeling excited and quite terrified. The first year in New Zealand was a real mix of emotions and I worked hard to meet new people and make new friendships... I even wrote a series of articles about dating in a new city for one of New Zealand’s national newspapers! In early 2020 I joined the Invivo team as their Global Marketing Manager.
What is your favourite place in New Zealand to visit?
The Marlborough Sounds- its beauty is breath-taking and holds some great memories with great friends. I love having friends and family to visit from the UK and am very much looking forward to this again post-pandemic - the look on their faces when they see somewhere like Marlborough, Queenstown or Waiheke for the first time is amazement!
What made you want to become part of the wine industry?
Before joining the Invivo team, I worked with consumer brands on creative PR and content marketing, mostly agency side. Over the past fifteen years I have worked with entertainment channels, meal delivery services, retailers, coffee companies and even new potatoes.
It seemed like a natural next step to join the Invivo team who are known around the world for innovative marketing. I’d worked with Tim and Rob for a few years on their PR so understood what Invivo was all about and knew that I would be in for some fun experiences with a great team.
What do you love most about your job?
Meeting Graham Norton on zoom was certainly a career highlight! Finding myself on a call with Sarah Jessica Parker and the buyers of Go Puff in the US just last week was both equally surreal and exciting.
Being part of tight-knit team that works hard together and has fun along the way - Invivo feels like my New Zealand family. Seeing the opportunity for Invivo around the world- we are a ‘yes’ company, very nimble and constantly evolving and with that bringing new products to the market - last month it was Rosé Prosecco and later this year we are set to launch more wine and drinks!
To you, what makes the New Zealand wine industry special / unique?
The people, friendships and sharing of information. Projects like NZ Lighter wine that saw, and still see, wineries sharing information for the greater good and to progress a new category is certainly unique to New Zealand.
There has never been a more exciting time for New Zealand wine and Brand New Zealand at the moment, which is a unique position to be in.
What would you like to see more of in the New Zealand wine industry?
Accessibility, approachability and having fun, and not always playing by the rules!
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
Working with the complexities of different export markets, but that’s what makes it more rewarding when you see hard earned success in those markets. One of our values is to persevere with something even if it’s very hard - if something is easy then everyone would do it! I remind myself of that on some of the more challenging days and take inspiration from my colleagues Tim and Rob who have built Invivo from the ground up.
Do you think there are gender-specific challenges in winemaking? Do women have a harder time becoming successful/being taken seriously, or is that a thing of the past?
I think it’s evolving and we’re now seeing the active championing of females in wine, but will take some time to see the shift through generations - it’s great to see the appointment of two females on the New Zealand Winegrowers board this year.
I think there can be some traditional stereotyping in play across the global wine industry - such as females tend to work in marketing and men work in winemaking/production. I recognise this might be true for some but it’s certainly not been my experience, especially at Invivo.
I think perception is key in evolving. Seeing the person, personality and skill, not gender, first.
What is your favourite wine variety?
Before moving to New Zealand I was a true Sauvignon Blanc drinker - of course coming from the UK this is no surprise! Since living here, while I have fallen in love with Chardonnay and its versatility, for me, discovering new wine styles and varieties as my tastes evolve make me excited to keep exploring.
What would you say to women considering a career in wine?
Working in wine is fascinating and the wine industry is so complex, but that’s what makes it interesting. You’ll never stop learning!
There are so many careers in wine for young females looking for a long and diverse career from production and operations, to winemaking and viticulture, to consumer and trade marketing.
Choose a company that is renowned for what you want to specialise or grow your skill in, build your network and open your mind! When I first moved to New Zealand from the UK, I never would have thought that five years later I’d be working at Invivo and taking Graham Norton through our new listings over a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!