Growing up an hour north of Auckland and next to the beach, Elissa Jose wanted to be a marine biologist. After completing a BA at Auckland University, she got a job as a product support manager at Foodstuffs, while also continuing to study.

Eventually, Jose completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing. Jose attributes most of the training she has had to the great colleagues she has had at Foodstuffs. “Over eight years I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people across the Retail, Merchandise, Own Brands and store teams who have been very generous with their knowledge. I have learned a lot from them and continue to do so.

“The most rewarding part of working at Foodstuffs Own Brands is the pride that comes with seeing our private label products come to life on the shelf. With positive feedback from shoppers and growth in stores, we know the hard work is paying off, and people love the products as much as we do.”

Working in a fast-paced industry comes with its challenges. Jose notes her biggest problem as time. “Many great products could be brought to fruition; the challenge is knowing the right time for New Zealand shoppers—when to raise the bar, and when to wait.”

Jose’s approach to this is interesting; “Instead of trying to find solutions, think of the right questions.” A simplistic look on problem-solving helps her to keep energised and enthused for finding new ideas and concepts.

“At work, I’m genuinely passionate about our industry, and it helps that I work with a lot of people who are too. We are constantly challenging ourselves to bring our internal customers, the Foodstuffs co-operatives, and ultimately their shoppers, innovation, quality, and commercially compelling products.”

Drawing upon inspiration from her father, Jose cites passion and genuine enjoyment of the work she is doing as the primary factor in her continued success. Furthermore, the evident sense of pride in her work means that she can keep an open mind and continue learning about every aspect of her job.

With a team around her, Jose looks to inspire others through her work ethic, her ability to listen, and by creating an environment in which fosters positivity. “With ever-changing food trends, pop culture, the economy and even the weather, our offering needs to develop and grow every day, and so does how we do business.”

Jose enjoys travelling and believes that parallels can be drawn between keeping an open mind in the workplace and being open to exploring new countries and cultures. Challenging herself to experience new adventures in the real world is just like exploring ways in which to grow and expand business ventures.

Looking ahead, Jose wants to keep being curious and learn from everyone that she can. She wants to plan and strive to reach targets but stay open to opportunities.