Vending’s Most Successful Women : International Women’s Day, which we celebrate today, March 8, was established with the goal of drawing attention to the experiences of women in terms of gender equality, bias, stereotypes and discrimination in order to make life more diverse, equitable and inclusive for them, writes Planet Vending Publisher Yvonne Reynolds-Young.
I was contacted recently by our friends at Mondelez, who felt there was a need to highlight women’s achievements in vending. They wondered if PV could assist in spreading the word that there is a world of opportunity out there in our business – and to highlight some of those women who are rising to the challenge and carving out successful careers.
We asked our subscribers to nominate those colleagues, suppliers and friends that deserved to be recognised for their achievements. ‘They may be stellar salespeople; brilliant bean-counters; they may be top-notch operators or social media Queens… They may even be MDs!’ we wrote in our article. Since then, we’ve gathered over 20 nominations. Thanks to Mondelez, each nominee will receive a personalised CDM. (The list can be found at the bottom of this article).
Then we asked three of vending’s most prominent women to give us their views on the role of women in the industry
Vending’s Most Successful Women : Jane MacDonald
As MD of Excel Vending and with a seat on the board of the AVA, Jane is one of the industry’s most familiar faces. ‘The Vending Industry is blessed with so many excellent women that a list of nominees would be extensive’, she said. ‘However, I’d like to nominate my colleagues on the AVA Board with whom I have the pleasure of working. Gillian White, Diane Hunter and Natalie Baker are all worthy of nomination. They work tirelessly to represent all that’s good about the Vending Industry. It is also very satisfying to see that the AVA Board is outperforming the Footsie 100 Boards in terms of female representation. The AVA now has 50% female board members, compared with the latter’s 40%!
‘Out with the Board, the AVA also has Accounts Controller Penny Rowell, who deserves recognition too.
‘I also want to nominate the extremely hardworking team of ladies in the AVS; CEO Louise Cummings and her very able assistants Harriet and Zoe deserve recognition for all their dedication and commitment.’ Speaking of which…
Vending’s Most Successful Women : Louise Cummings CEO, AVS
‘When I first received the invitation to comment on International Women’s Day from the perspective of a woman in vending I thought, ‘Where do I find the time to do this?’’, Louise said. ‘I think that sums up most of our working lives!
‘Running AVS, with the wonderful assistance of Harriet and our recent addition, Zoe, is obviously very demanding on my time. Add that to being a single Mum of a 5-year-old, and ensuring he feels thoroughly loved and supported, and you’ll understand thatI sometimes I feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
‘Then there are the hidden extras, too; such as having to create a costume for World Book Day costume. Every other Friday seems to be a dress-up day at school! It’s no wonder that you sometimes feel as though you’re running on empty. However, the wonderful support from everyone in the vending world means that you constantly feel supported and appreciated. We are so lucky to work with such understanding, family minded folk, gender aside, who overstretch themselves daily to ensure we give the best impression of our industry possible.
‘I offer a big ‘well done!’, to all those women who constantly strive to make a difference, do the right thing or sometimes, just make it through another day as best they can.
Vending’s Most Successful Women : Michelle Hefferon, Business Manager, NIVO Ltd
‘Break The Bias’ is the International Women’s Day 2022 campaign theme – and Michelle believes that vending still has a long way to go to get close to that hashtag. But she says: ‘I’m constantly surprised and encouraged that things are slowly changing. Women are turning the tide and there are increasingly being recognised for their achievements. Just in NIVO alone, 88% of the hours worked are by women. That’s Karen, Robin and me. We are making major decisions and running the business.
‘This is something to be celebrated, because we can break the bias in our workplace. Another fact to acknowledge, as Louise says, is that the work doesn’t stop when we get home. Many of us have families to support and not just income, but also helping to run the household. For many women it’s non-stop and therefore being appreciated is a great pick-me-up. I’m also seeing an increasing number of women in decision making positions, both amongst our NIVO operator members and our supply members. We are really a force to be reckoned with and I nominate the NIVO team for their dedication and support to all the companies we work with.’
I’m sure that for many women in our industry, much of what Jane, Louise and Michelle have shared will ring true. I especially like Michelle’s comment and I can’t think of a better way to end this article than to repeat it: ‘We are really a force to be reckoned with’.
* Here’s the full list of Vending’s Most Successful Women who have been recognised by PV readers for carving out successful careers in vending. Congratulations to all of them and thanks to our friends at Mondelez, there’s a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk winging its way…
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MAIN IMAGE courtesy of International Women’s Day