In the latest of our series profiling ‘Women in Sustainability’, we interviewed Leanna Rice, the Brand and Communications Marketing Manager at Organix Brands Ltd.
Leanna is an experienced marketer with 18 years experience working for 3 market leading brands, 7 years in the leisure and tourism industry as the Brand Marketing Manager for P&O Cruises, 10 years in FMCG for Wrigley’s Chewing Gum.
1. As a change maker within your industry, tell us a bit more about your background?
I started my career at Wrigleys chewing gum, part of FMCG. I started in trade marketing and communications before moving into consumer marketing. It was really good fun and it taught me alot through working on lots of different brands with very different budgets.
I then moved to Southampton to be with my partner and there worked for P&O Cruises, who are an amazing brand, with a really loyal consumer base. It was challenging and I learnt so much through being involved in their change process.
We then moved to Bournemouth when I was six months pregnant, but it became a challenge commuting with a young son. I was already thinking about finding something local when I saw the Organix opportunity, which felt like fate. I have now been here for three years and I love it, the ethics and the purpose-driven ways that Organix behave is just brilliant.
2. What are the challenges you’ve had to overcome to get you where you are today and how did you address them?
I have a fear of public speaking so when I first started presenting at Wrigleys I literally shook like a leaf. I had hypnotherapy to get over my fear which helped considerably. I still have experiences today where I get nervous. However I’ve now had to present to large audiences and have had to learn to get over it. I find good preparation really helps.
3. What unique qualities do you have that enable you to make a difference in your work?
My experiences and insights juggling the work-life balance as a parent really adds value to work discussions. As I’m now in a sector which is all about mums and kids, being the mum of a young child is a real benefit.
4. What advice would you give to our community who want to create more impact and influence in the workplace?
Embrace and stand up for what you believe and be confident to share your experiences and insights as a female and as a mum. As everyone’s voice is worth hearing and so be confident sharing it.
Whenever you observe someone else speaking out, even if it gets knocked down or is a bit silly, I find it does inspire you to speak up as well. You do have to try, to just keep practicing, as it does start to become easier.
5. What successes have you witnessed that we should all be celebrating?
Organix is a business of 50 people and very purpose driven. We have done a lot of campaigning around children’s food and have had some amazing successes around that. It is a great example of the difference a small determined team of people can make.
We ran a marketing campaign earlier this year on showing how some baby and toddler foods are made with ingredients that aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be in children’s food, such as added salt. Since then a couple of brands have reformulated their foods to reduce the salt content which is really fantastic. So, by highlighting this issue we are making other brands and retailers reconsider what they are doing and to make positive changes.Putting purpose before profit is part of the spirit of what we do.
6. When it feels like the world is going crazy, what keeps your passion and positivity alive?
I am a positive person but rooted in a reality of where I’ve come from. I’ve come from a modest background and faced some difficult challenges growing up. Now at the end of each day I think of three things I have to be grateful for, this feeling of gratefulness helps keep me positive and sane.
I love living by the sea, so being able to run along the beach first thing in the morning or boxing on the cliff top at night also helps to keep me grounded.
7. Who inspires you and why?
Shirley Bassey inspires me because she has an amazing talent and the that she is still going at her age and with such passion. I saw her at Glastonbury and she is still rocking it!