Richard Lees, Chief Operating Officer of organic retailer Huckleberry, shares his vision for the organic sector and talks about the strengths he brings to the OANZ board.
I'm a newcomer to the organic sector, having come to retailer Huckleberry just over 14 months ago. I'm very keen to see the sector grow and increase its share of the marketplace.
My background's in retail, both here in New Zealand and overseas, including time with UK retail giant, Tesco. I’ve held a wide range of positions in different areas of management, including finance, procurement, operational structure and pricing.
One of the key strengths I bring to the OANZ board is experience in governance. I am particularly interested in the macro view of where industries or industry sectors need to be in order to get some traction. Coming into the organic sector with fresh eyes, it's interesting to see how disparate the sector has been -- small, independent growers or individuals have been trying to get somewhere by themselves. Other industries work as a collective with one direction, one common goal. You can get there a lot faster that way.
So I see part of my role on the board as helping the sector pull together. Once people are focused on a common goal, we can have more conversations at the right level of government and with other influencers. We end up with a collective forcing a direction, rather than an individual.
It’s an exciting time for organics. The consumer is demanding the product and it’s up to everyone involved to make sure that we position ourselves so we can actually meet that demand, for both the local market and international market alike.