Director of Retail Marketing and Creative Strategy
SPUD.ca and Blush Lane Organic Market
How did you get into the grocery business?
In 2012, I moved back to Canada Abu Dhabi, UAE, and saw a posting for a marketing role for SPUD.ca. I had used SPUD in the past and as a food lover, I was intrigued about the concept of grocery delivery and thought it would be a fun field to work in.
What are your greatest career achievements?
Some of my greatest career achievements to date have been working with my team to build out sustainability as the top initiative in our company. I work with an incredible team where we put the customer first and then factor in the most sustainable way we can promote, package and deliver food to those customers.
The Stay Home box program is another achievement that I’m really proud of. We launched Stay Home boxes in April during the height of COVID-19. This initiative helped supply food to frontline workers and at-risk community members. It was special to me because the program’s goal was never about making money, but instead about using our grocery delivery technology to help those in need during a crisis. Stay Home boxes partnered with the UBC Foundation and Vancouver General Hospital to supply boxes of groceries to their frontline employees.
What is the biggest challenge faced in your career?
Definitely the biggest challenge I have faced in my career has been COVID-19. We were one of the few industries that became an essential service, which meant over 100% growth in a matter of weeks. The challenges were daily and constantly changing based on the uncertain landscape and customers’ needs. My team and I worked on communication plans to help all our existing and new customers navigate online groceries and in-store shopping, while experiencing the issues that all grocery stores were facing at the height of the pandemic. We needed to pivot away from all of our planned marketing messages and focus on daily communication to our customers on changes and updates we were making to serve as many people as possible.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that sustainability is truly at the heart of our company. Every decision is made around how sustainable the idea or project is, and what we could be doing better for the planet, our customers and the next generation. I’m also really proud of our company’s charitable endeavours. We support No Women Without and expanded the program from Edmonton into Calgary this year. This year, we collected over 75,000 units of menstrual hygiene products for women’s shelters in B.C. and Alberta. We also work to keep food out of the waste stream, making sure it goes to people who need it. In the Blush Lane Organic Markets (our brick-and-mortar locations) and online with SPUD.ca, we work with partner companies to save and redistribute any food that would be thrown away by other stores.
What is your best quality?
My positive and outgoing attitude. Instead of seeing problems, I’m always looking for solutions.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Do less. We are always trying to do too many things. Less is truly more.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe we all have a job to do right now in the grocery industry when it comes to grocery packaging, plastic and waste. I’d like to challenge all grocers to look at how they are tackling sustainability and to find more ways to lessen their food waste by helping those in need as well as taking a stand on plastic. Also, consumers are demanding a change in what they buy and where it comes from. I believe the more we can support local farmers and vendors, the stronger our local economy will be at a time when they need all the support they can get.
Click here for the full list of 2020 Star Women in Grocery award winners.