Insights From a Female Leader: From Corporate Graduate to Trading Director

Insights From a Female Leader: From Corporate Graduate to Trading Director

Nicki Hodson our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 06/03/2024

In honour of International Women's Day, we're celebrating the remarkable journey of our very own Martie Smit, who has recently secured her second director-level role within M&B as Food and Drinks Trading Director. Her story encapsulates empowerment and progression within our business, shedding light on the opportunities for women in the hospitality industry.

But what's it really like behind the scenes? Let's delve into Martie's journey and the insights she shared...

"M&B was hands down the best cultural fit. People were so welcoming, and it felt like a fun environment to work in".

Imagine entering a workplace where the culture feels like a perfect fit from day one. That's what happened to Martie when she joined us on the corporate graduate scheme back in 2010. Despite having never actually heard of M&B at the time, her background in hospitality made her an ideal fit. Encouraged by a friend to apply, she took the chance and has not looked back.

"What sets M&B apart is its recognition of potential and willingness to learn, valuing behaviours and skill sets over mere experience".

Throughout Martie's 14-year career, she has navigated several roles with great success, from procurement to brand planning and innovation, then into strategy, where she progressed to Director level in 2022. Martie highlighted that each position provided development and growth that has enabled her to build on her strengths and explore opportunities which she found truly engaging. M&B provided the opportunity to work across multiple functions and departments, strengthening her network. The business insight and understanding this provided, alongside the invaluable support and guidance from senior leaders through coaching and mentoring initiatives, has become a true recipe for success.

"The brilliant thing about M&B is that having relevant experience is, in most cases, not a blocker to career progression; ability and transferable skills are what's key."

From stakeholder management in procurement to the analytical process in customer insights, each role allowed Martie to leverage her strengths while learning new skills. She emphasises that within M&B, there are no limitations for women, and even with limited experience, there are plenty of opportunities for those willing to embrace the fast-paced environment and put themselves forward.

"There is nothing women can't do at M&B".

A particularly memorable moment of Martie's career so far was within strategic planning, leading and evolving M&B’s Ignite program. This was a multifaceted role which involved the planning and implementation of over 100 initiatives aimed at transforming the business. A couple of note-worthy achievements include establishing new ways of working across M&B, enabling rapid brand expansions, and launching new technologies. The influence of Ignite is still visible today and have had long-lasting impacts across M&B.

When Martie was asked, 'What would you say to someone considering a career at M&B?' She said, "The callouts for me would be the fantastic culture and people, the great support for flexible working, and the brilliant facilitation of career development for those who want it."

Martie's inspiring journey encapsulates the ethos of International Women's Day — a celebration of women breaking barriers and realising their full potential.

So, whether you're a fresh graduate eager to kickstart your career or a seasoned professional seeking new challenges, joining M&B could be the perfect move for you.

Check out our head office jobs to see if there is the perfect next step for you or sign up to our job alerts to keep an eye out for the future.

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