The company you work for has a significant impact on you – your health, safety and wellbeing, your earnings and career opportunities, your ability to have purpose and feel rewarded in what you do for a huge chunk of your time on this planet.

June is a month where the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council is delighted to be able to support two key events for those early on in their careers in our industry.

The first is the Kaleidoscope Future Leaders Forum, which took place recently and is aimed at emerging leaders in the fast moving consumer goods sector.

Kaleidoscope is part of the work programme of NZFGC’s Talent and Diversity Working Group and wouldn’t go ahead each year without the incredible commitment of Janine Baldwin, Shane Webby and Kelly Smith, and delivery by Edge Creative. It offers an unparalleled leadership development experience that is truly exceptional. It has been designed to inspire companies’ top talent with invaluable insights, exclusive access, and meaningful interactions with the most outstanding emerging and established thought leaders and innovative business thinkers in our sector.

Attendees experience all the colours and shapes of FMCG leadership – hence the name Kaleidoscope. Four key themes are covered: building and coaching successful teams, leading transformation, and thriving in times of challenge and adversity.

It was great to attend for the first time and be a table host for two different groups of emerging leaders. The three outstanding guest speakers included Gilbert Enoka, who shared invaluable insights on how leadership begins internally; Ngahihi o te ra Bidois, who used his unique perspective on leading transformation to challenge us all to make the leap of faith and embrace the personal challenges that come with leading transformation; and Dr Lucy Hone, who offered guidance on how to thrive through challenge and uncertainty. What a memorable and inspiring day that demonstrated the potential in our leaders of the future.

The FMCG Futures Summer internship programme for 2023-24 has also been launched.

In a well-attended session, Talent Solutions, BizAdvisor, and NZFGC provided an overview of the programme that has been running for five years. The session covered how FMCG businesses can get involved to attract high-calibre talent to the industry, excite and inspire the next generation of leaders, raise the profile of the industry on campus, deepen participants’ understanding of the world of FMCG, and build a talent pipeline from intern to graduate hire.

These programmes show the benefits of working together to attract and grow the talent in our amazing industry.

I was also reminded of how much more fundamental the effect of a great employer can be on the lives of their employees when I heard a wonderful story of an employee at The Arnott’s Group, who, back in the late 1990s, was supported to learn English as a second language. This commitment and the loyalty it created was borne out when, on Arnott’s re-opening of an impressive manufacturing operation in Avondale in early June, the same employee had returned to re-join the company with much enthusiasm. The Arnott’s Group continues to support their employees with a government-supported numeracy and literacy programme highlighting their social responsibility and commitment to their most important asset – their people.

This is just one example of many such schemes and community projects NZFGC member companies engage in behind the scenes every day that, along with other industry programmes such as Kaleidoscope and graduate programmes, develop our people and contribute to making our industry and people’s lives better.