2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Jacinda Simpson (Q&A)
Category Manager, Natural Grocery
CJR Wholesale Grocers
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
My background in personal training was the launchpad for my keen interest in what ingredients my clients were consuming. This evolved into a personal mission to identify and use products with better ingredients. I started creating my own body butters, natural deodorants and lip balms using high-quality ingredients that were free from harsh chemicals. This passion led to my first role in the CPG industry, working for a natural distributor.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the ability to create a vision and framework for our natural business and see it through by implementing strategic plans with our vendors, retailers and internal stakeholders. Being part of this organization and the natural community is a true privilege, and I look forward to contributing to the bright future of natural grocery.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
To never stop learning, and to be continuously developing your skills. The world moves at a fast pace, industries change, and there is a strong need to be able to pivot and adjust to current trends and new practices in grocery. Seeking knowledge through team mates, networking events, conferences and trade shows can help keep a pulse on the market, and will lead to career success and a passion for what you do.
What do you think is your best quality?
I am passionate about my role, and this comes through in my work with my retailers, vendors and colleagues. I am an advocate for my clients and work hard to create strong relationships based on transparency and integrity.
What has been a career highlight or one of your greatest career achievements so far?
I was awarded Excellence in Sales by the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) in 2018. Standing next to my peers and in front of our industry was a cherished moment that solidified my belief in natural products, and that reminded me how I can make a difference in my community. From creating a catalogue for natural grocery items, to becoming members of the CHFA, my time with CJR Wholesale has been an exciting career highlight for me.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Gardening, planting beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables, is a passion for me. That is my happy place.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am so honoured to be recognized as a Star Woman in grocery. CJR Wholesale is an innovative distributor and I feel immense pride to be part of the team. Collaboration is the key to our success and I’d like to extend a thank you to the wonderful team at CJR Wholesale & Dairy Central, as well as express my deep gratitude to my director, Frank, who allows me the trust and the freedom to create a vision, implement positive changes, and ultimately not only improve the business, but also the health of Canadians.
Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.