RISING STAR – Chaan Clifton

Chaan Clifton was born and raised in Mt Albert, Auckland with a passion for sports. “I grew up spending most of my free time playing football and softball.” As a child Clifton hoped to have a job as an engineer, or working with anything that involved numbers however after having a number of jobs throughout school Clifton found himself on a different and unexpected path which would eventually lead him to Countdown NZ. “I had multiple jobs starting from age 13 that lead me in this direction. The skills I have gained during this time were invaluable and prepared me to succeed throughout my career.”

May 2017 saw him take up the role as Assistant Category Manager in the Biscuits category at Countdown which eventually lead to his current position as Category Manager for Dairy Smallgoods and Serviced Deli Meats. Before picking up his role at Countdown, Clifton worked as a National Field Account Sales Manager for Puma NZ where he enjoyed forging relationships with retail accounts from a sales perspective and using the role to enhance his skills as a buyer.

As a category manager he believes that having the ability to impact customers lives and being challenged is what makes the role rewarding. “I enjoy working with numbers and thrive on problem-solving which I am lucky enough to utilise in my current role on a daily basis.” The impact on people’s lives is a responsibility not taken lightly, and Clifton feels privileged to hold this position. “The difficult discussions and tough decisions are always worth it when I see how our customers will benefit. As a category manager, it is my responsibility to ensure we provide our customers with the best possible range at the lowest possible prices.”

Using his strengths Clifton has been able to succeed in his role as a category manager, harnessing his problem solving and analytical skills. “I’m great with numbers, and I utilise this daily as a category manager. My people skills also come in handy, and I am able to adapt to different situations.”

Embracing Countdown’s team orientated style of working has been another reward for Clifton. “At Countdown, we work as a team, and everyone is always willing to help. I have embraced this way of working, and enjoy watching others succeed and if I can help them along the way it means even more.” Working in Countdowns large team meant that he had the learn to communicate and interact in a number of different ways. These skills have not only benefited Clifton in his role at Countdown but also in his personal life. “Interacting with such as big team has helped mould me into a more well-rounded person. The negotiation skills I have acquired have been beneficial in several aspects of my day to day life, especially with my wife.”

As for the future, Clifton hopes to progress his career further and maybe purchase a farm. “I have recognised the opportunities that this company has to offer. I know it won’t just be handed to me, so I’m willing to work hard to be as successful as possible. Personally, I know my wife would love to live on a farm – although we’re a few years away from that yet.”