Meet the WiW Mentors

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We’re delighted to be working with wholesale’s most inspiring leaders for our first-ever speed networking and mentoring event. 

Our mentors will be sharing practical advice and career boosting tips. Topics include: career progression, confidence, how to lead and motivate teams and how to better support women in the workplace. Check out the line up below and if you haven’t already registered, do it here.

Coral Rose, Managing Director, Country Range Group 

CORAL ROSE NEW MD AT COUNTRY RANGE GROUP (COMMERCIAL PORTRAITS 22.08.2013)

Insights from climbing the ladder: The Managing Director of the Country Range Group shares the five most important lessons from her 25-year career in foodservice.

Coral started her foodservice wholesaling career in 1993 with Brakes, (Watson & Philip), and, after 10 years with the distributor moved on to RHM with responsibility for the marketing and product launches of their many brands into foodservice.

Following the birth of her third son she set up her own business and spent 5 years as a consultant involved with creating marketing and brand strategies for both brand owners and distributors within foodservice.

She joined the Country Range Group in 2010, a disciplined buying group, to progress group marketing activities and strategic development. She took over as Managing Director for the CRG in November 2013.

Clare Bocking, Commercial Director, Tulip

Clare Bocking

Building Confidence – At the root of all success is confidence. Clare will share ideas and practical steps on how you can build your confidence to be the best you can be and achieve your goals.

Clare has 25 years of commercial leadership experience, starting her career with Mars as a graduate recruit and leaving Mars as UK Sales Director at Mars Drinks. She ran the foodservice and wholesale divisions for Britvic Soft Drinks, the convenience and wholesale division for Kerry Foods and the EMEA region as Commercial Director for McCormick.

In 2015, Clare qualified as an Executive Coach at the University of Warwick and joined the European Mentoring and Coaching Council.

In 2017, Clare set up Immediate Impact Ltd, offering interim commercial leadership, strategic project support and executive coaching. Clare was appointed non-executive Chairman of Hyperama Plc. Clare recently joined Tulip as Commercial Director, heading up their non-retail business.

 Greg Suszczenia, Joint Managing Director, Parfetts 

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Supporting women in the workplace  – Greg will outline what Parfetts has done to support women in the workplace and will be asking for your views on what more employers can do to help women achieve their goals.

Greg has worked for Parfetts for 25 years with a break to set up his own retails stores with his wife who still runs them.

He joined Parfetts after completing a Degree in Business and Finance and started as a buyer progressing his way through the company to General Manager, Trading Director and ultimately joint MD.

Parfetts became an employee owned company in 2009 when he was invited to re-join the business. Since returning, Greg views his main role as guiding the business through a period of high debt to today. Greg is now future proofing the business by shaping its migration from traditional c and c to a delivered symbol store operator using `Go local` as our brand to achieve it.

Parfetts employ 550 staff, t/o £330m and are the UK`s 3rd largest independent cash and carry group. The business operates six depots across the North of England, have 350 fascia stores and 2000 retail club members.

Greg has been married for 20 years and has two boys. He’s tried many things but his lasting hobbies are languages, guitar and distance touring by bicycle.

Laura McKechnie, Associate Director, Field Sales Wholesale, Coca Cola European Partners 

6. Laura McKechnie

Mentoring & career development – Laura will provide some hot tips for career development and will explore the importance of mentoring and how we can encourage more women into FMCG.

Before joining Coca-Cola in 1996, Laura completed a BSC in French and German at Aston University. She joined Coca-Cola straight from University starting as a merchandiser. In last 22 years, she has held roles in field sales, national accounts, sales management, project management, equipment development and Technical services. Laura has been working in her current role as Associate Director for Field Sales Wholesale for 2 years.

Laura has been married to Andrew for 17 years who she met on her first day at Coke. They have 2 children, Will 16 and Anna 12.

Laura is inspired by inclusive leaders like David Wagner, Huddersfield Town Head Coach who has transformed a Championship level team into one with belief, positive attitude, passion and energy by being an inclusive, inspiring people leader who the team and fans hold in the highest regard. His approach led the team to Promotion to the Premier League in 2017

Outside of work, she loves to go sailing with the family and they watch the Tour de France every year wherever it starts. Huddersfield Town is her football passion but loves all things sport related, though as a spectator rather than a participant.

Sharmmila Jeganmogan, Managing Director, Hi Line Cash and Carry

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Secrets of Success – Sharmmila grew her alcohol and soft drinks business five-fold from £4m to £20 million. She will be sharing with you some of the secrets to her business success.

Sharmmi grew her alcohol and soft drinks business five-fold from £4m to £20 million after taking over as Managing Director in 2009.

She comes from Sri-Lanka, from a business-oriented family and came to the UK to study at the University of Aberdeen. Due to the Civil War her father’s business did not perform well and he could not afford to pay the high fees. So she learnt how to earn money from a young age.

She started out buying failing retail shops, turning them around and selling them on for a profit. She wanted to move on to something bigger so in 2009 she bought her first wholesale operation – Hi Line. It had one depot at the time in Deptford, London but she expanded the business into three UK sites, joined Landmark Wholesale, and increased turnover from four to twenty million in just eight years.

She is the second female and first non-while female Board Member in Landmark’s 45-year history.

Caroline Moloney, Head of Learning & Development, Bestway Wholesale 

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Emotional Intelligence (EI)  – Whilst we consider the main elements of EI in terms of self-awareness, confidence, building relationships and self-expression. How do we use EI to best cope when under pressure, decision making, problem solving and when dealing with significant change in business?

Caroline moved into the Wholesale Sector nearly 2 years ago, after spending tenure in automotive, financial services, banking and retail sectors.  Whilst originally working in operational roles, developing operational and sales functions and setting up Contact Centres she ‘fell’ into HR and Organisational Development about 18 years ago.

Caroline has designed and delivered leadership programmes at Executive, Senior and Management levels with the quality recognition from the Institute of Leadership & Management. She has also been integral in delivering Performance Management and Talent & Succession Programmes in different organisations.

Caroline has voluntarily supported High School Education, taking up the roles of Chair of Governors and Foundation Director to the St Albans Catholic Academy Trust.  She is also a member of the Leading Executives Advancing Diversity (LEAD) Network, and is a committed advocate for the Women in Wholesale initiative.

Tom Fender, Managing Director, Bolt

14. Tom Fender

Leading and motivating teams – Tom will explore how to build and retain a motivated, enthused and productive team.

Tom has almost 20 years’ experience in the UK convenience and wholesale sector, in his capacity as former MD and co-owner of him! research and consulting from 1997 to 2014, before selling him! to WRBM. Tom has worked with every major UK convenience and wholesale chain in his time at him!, and all of the top 50 UK FMCG brand owners. He has spoken at over 150 industry events, in the UK and abroad, and is well known for delivering insightful, engaging and challenging/provocative presentations.

Tom has also travelled the world extensively, working with numerous national and international retailers, wholesalers and suppliers, in other convenience/RTM markets. Tom also has a proven track record in growing SME businesses, developing successful teams and mentoring high calibre individuals.

Tom is an initial seed investor in Bolt Learning, one of the UK’s most exciting high-growth e-learning companies. In January 2017, Tom moved from being a NED/investor of Bolt to become a full-time director. In 2017 alone, McColls, Sewells Group, MRH, Lifestyle Express, James Convenience Retail, Parfetts, Brakes and JJ Foodservice all started working with BOLT, as Tom brought retail and wholesale relevance to the Bolt proposition.

Tom commits a lot of time and energy to two key passions – keeping fit and helping charities. Tom has run 11 marathons (and countless half marathons) for a range of charities. He is co-founder and organiser of the annual convenience & wholesale charity bike ride for MAG, a charity which clears landmines after war and conflict, and has raised over £400,000.

Tom has a simple philosophy to life – life is not a dress rehearsal, so pack as much into it as possible. Tom has a simple philosophy to work – enjoy it, work hard, do your absolute best, be willing to make mistakes, employ better people than yourself and create winning teams made up of wonderful people.

Tanya Pepin, Director, The Whole Sale Company (TWC)

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Career Progression – Tanya will explore what inhibits your career progression and, more importantly, what can be done to fix it.

A well-known face within Wholesale, entrepreneur Tanya Pepin has worked within the sector for nearly 20 years – successfully co-founding, growing and selling her first business, JPA – before launching a second, thriving organisation that specialises in data management and insight consultancy across Wholesale and Convenience.”

Now a director of The Whole Sale Company (TWC), Tanya’s inspirational career started when she joined Landmark in 1999 to manage the company’s data insight service. Recognising untapped opportunity in commercialising wholesale sales data to enable stakeholders to market products more effectively, Tanya co-founded JPA in 2001 with Mike McGee, former MD of Landmark Wholesale.

The partnership proved highly successful and was soon managing data services for Bestway, SPAR and Landmark. JPA was acquired by SalesOut in 2011.

Since launching The Whole Sale Company (TWC), Tanya and Mike have forged an enviable reputation as the ‘go-to’ boutique consultancy in delivering knowledge, experience and results in harnessing data to give market opportunity and incremental sales uplift.

Melanie Hannay, Regional Director Wholesale, Royal Bank of Scotland 

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How to achieve what you want from your career – Melanie will host a discussion on the considerations you should make as you build your career and the steps you can take to achieve your goals.

Melanie is the Regional Director Retail, Wholesale and Healthcare Corporate and Commercial in central London.

She has experience in Leisure and Financial Services sectors including 17 years at NatWest/RBS across a variety of businesses leadership roles: Finance, Operations, Risk and Frontline to deliver Products and Services to Corporate and Commercial customers.

Melanie has professional qualifications in Accountancy and Risk.

She is involved in the bank wide Diversity & Inclusion activity and leads the diversity agenda for London & South East Corporate & Commercial business. In addition, she mentors and supports many females and talent both in and outside of banking.

She is Mum to Georgia and Olly 12 and 9 and was an early adopter of flexible working in Finance 11 years ago.

Jason Finch, CEO, 443 AI

Jason Finch

Fostering an Inclusive Culture – Jason will reveal the inclusive leadership advice businesses can use to make all employees feel welcome, integrated and valued, regardless of sexuality and gender identity, helping to improve the workplace for LGBT+ employees, attracting a more diverse range of staff and keeping retention high and recruitment costs low.

Jason has recently launched technology company 443 AI and was co-founder of Port80, the company that designed and built Palmer and Harvey’s original online trading platform in 2008. Latterly he devised the new self-learning Hubtill software that was being rolled out to thousands of P&H customers across the UK.

He also worked with pharmaceuticals wholesaler UniChem back in the mid-1990s, developing the world’s first web-based online ordering platform for business-to-business wholesale in the days when its independent pharmacy customers had to be given dial-up modems to take advantage of the system.

A tech-savvy entrepreneur, Jason also created OUTeverywhere, the first ever blended digital/physical social network designed to bring people with shared interests together; and in doing so found his own partner who also loves the outdoors, but is less keen on Jason’s passion for snowboarding and flying helicopters.

He has recently crowdfunded a project to develop a completely fresh approach to online social networking that will connect a new generation of gay people and their friends. 

 Register for WiW Speed Networking here.

 



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