Jessica Jones studied at the University of Auckland and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts majoring in Criminology and minoring in Psychology. While this didn’t specifically prepare her for buying, the psychology aspect certainly helps her to understand people – which, in the FMCG industry, comes in handy quite often.

As one of three children growing up on a dry stock farm in rural South Auckland, Jones was taught from a young age that if she wanted anything, she’d have to work for it. “You are the driver of your career,” she told SupermarketNews. “No one else will hand you success, you have to go out and get it. I’m not afraid of hard work and I am a quick learner. I’m never afraid to give anything a go.”

Jones started working for Countdown in 2010 at Countdown Manukau, a job which saw her through to the end of her studies. She started as a checkout assistant and worked her way up to duty manager within two years. Her long-held desire to help people eventually saw her move into a category manager role.

“I have always been a foodie,” she said. “I love anything and everything to do with food. When I realised I could help make peoples’ lives a little better every day by negotiating with suppliers to bring prices down, and ensuring we have the right products on the shelf, I felt like I was giving back to my community.” Seeing the results of hard negotiations and deals positively impacting Kiwi lives is the best part of her job, “and being able to try products before they are released to market is pretty awesome too!” Jones is “obsessed” with price, and aims to have the right range in the right stores to suit each different customer.

Jones is a strong believer that positivity radiates and has an impact on those around her.” If you are happy and strong then, in turn, others around you feel that positivity and strength,” she said. She spends all of her spare time with family and friends. “We enjoy going out for dinners and trying new restaurants. I’m also my fiancé’s number one supporter so most Saturdays you will find me on the side of the rugby field or cricket pitch.”