Growing up on Waiheke Island, Madison Taylor’s dream as a child was to become a teacher. Although that isn’t the career path she took, it shows that inspiring and developing people is something in which she has always been interested.

After leaving high school in the fifth form with no formal qualifications or special training, a job with Countdown led to the company developing her and offering on-the-job and formal training. “Countdown taught me everything I needed to succeed,” she said. Taylor has now worked in the company for 15 years and while she’s held many different positions within the company, Countdown is the only company she’s ever worked for.

It was the countless opportunities in the FMCG industry which attracted her to the career. “The fast-paced environment brings new and exciting day-to-day opportunities and the large FMCG industry means there are endless opportunities to grow and improve.”

Taylor has only been in her current role as group manager for a month, so there are lots of new tasks for her to get her head around and a new team of people to meet. Luckily, Taylor prides herself on her people skills. “I like to lead collaboratively,” she said. “I encourage input from my team, I encourage challenging the status quo and I encourage working together as a team to achieve goals collectively.”

People development is at the heart of all that Taylor does. Over the next two years, she wants to excel in her role alongside her team. Within five years, she wants to have successfully developed her team into even stronger leaders than they are today.

The best way to predict the future, according to Taylor, is to create it. “What that means to me is staying focused on what you are trying to achieve professionally so that it will help you excel personally. It means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking and giving everything your best shot.”

In all areas of life, Taylor draws inspiration from her sister, Anna, who was born with one leg. “Absolutely nothing has or will ever hold her back. She is a loving mother of two, a successful business owner and she lives a carefree life with her small family despite what doctors had prescribed for her in the beginning.”

In her spare time, Taylor likes to travel. Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, England, Germany, America, Las Vegas and Fiji are just a few places she has spent time in, as well as extensive local travel. Throughout all this, Taylor has remained grounded.

“When you’re career orientated, it’s often too easy to find ourselves pushing and wanting more,” she explained. “Although a great trait to have, it is important to me that I stop and reflect and be grateful for where I am, what I have and for everyday life.”