Meet General Manager Toni Spicer, a passionate, caring and driven business leader.
Toni handles all things food. From supply chain & quality assurance to menu innovation. Her role includes development and sourcing, contract negotiation, food safety and quality.
Toni’s career started in New Zealand’s lamb and beef industry where she oversaw exports all over the world. Toni credits her first manager as a role model who initially empowered her to grow. “They enabled me to spread my wings,” Toni says. “I have been fortunate to experience the support and guidance of some outstanding male and female leaders throughout my career”.
Toni’s first leadership role was heading up a team of quality assurance and laboratory staff at a large processing facility. “I demonstrated accountability, having a solutions-focused attitude and a passion for improvement,” Toni says. Toni believes anyone looking to move into leadership roles must embrace the art of letting go. “The transition from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’ is one of the toughest transitions some will make in their career,” she says. “Having the restraint to not jump in and ‘do’, allowing your team to learn and shine through experience while being there to support them is important.”
Toni later moved to Australia where she pursued a career in quality assurance. Four years later, she joined the Craveable Brands team. “My time at Craveable has been professionally rewarding,” she says. Watching her team grow is the best thing about being a leader for Toni. “My biggest pleasure comes from leading people through challenges and achievements, seeing their confidence build and supporting their growth as future leaders” she says.
Toni’s biggest challenge in her career has been juggling a progressive career with raising her now adult daughter. “Striking a balance between family and facilitating a leadership role can be difficult with conflicting priorities and time constraints,” she says. “I encourage everyone to carve out ‘me time’ every day, it really makes a difference. I start my day at the gym, followed by a short beach walk and a good breakfast. I’ve made this non-negotiable in my life to ensure that I am set up for the day.”
Toni attributes her success to her family. “My mother and daughter are my greatest supporters. They’ve weathered the storm that comes with building a career – late nights, urgent phone calls and dinners hitting the table late are all part of it. But through it all, they’ve always been there cheering me on.” she says.
Toni believes that the qualities of a leader are the same for both men and women. “Leaders must have the ability to stand back to see a bigger strategic picture, have empathy for people’s situations and be solutions focused,” she says. “The ability to empower your team is another important quality”.
To encourage women into leadership, Toni believes the provision of support is key. “We can encourage more women to consider leadership roles through the demonstration that they are supported,” says Toni.