PEOPLE

developing and inspiring our people

People - Illovo sugar

how we safeguard, develop and inspire our people

People - Grad girl in china

Rachel Leach

EU Business Director

Germains Seed Technology

AB Sugar celebrating our women in business
Rachel Leach EU Business Director Germains Seed Technology

Rachel has spent the majority of the past 11 years working for Associated British Foods plc (ABF) companies including Twinings Ovaltine and most recently Germains Seed Technology. During this time she has worked in various supply chain and procurement roles before making the leap to take on the role of EU Business Director at Germains. Talking about her career journey, Rachel says:​

"Give everything 100% – life is so much better if you approach it full throttle."

The importance of a clear career aspiration

“It’s important for you to have an idea about what direction you want to go in – you don’t need to stick to this doggedly as it will almost certainly change (as it has for me) but to have a nominal pathway and aspiration gives both you and your manager something to aim for in terms of potential roles and development that you will thrive in. When I first joined Twinings Ovaltine I found very quickly what area of the business I was happiest in and most driven to deliver successfully. This meant that from the early days I could concentrate on building essential skills such as negotiation and stakeholder engagement which are vital in my work to this day.  

“During the years I spent away from ABF working in the pharmaceutical industry, I was able to build both personal and professional experience by working in a completely different kind of organisation. This also gave me people management experience which at the time was a big learning curve.

“A couple of years later when I re-joined ABF, I sat in a central position at ABF Head Office which gave me a unique window to see and have the chance to affect the diverse challenges and opportunities across each division globally. It was an exciting place to work and I was able to take this global perspective into my role at Twinings Ovaltine as International Procurement Director.”

Taking a leap into the unknown

“My move to Germains Seed Technology to run the European side of the business has afforded me a real shift in perspective. I have taken on responsibility for the whole EU team – across commercial, research and development, marketing, operations and supply chain. My earlier management skills have definitely helped as I settle into a new industry and new role.

“The breadth of ABF’s scope and the opportunity this brings is not to be underestimated, and working for an organisation that is keen and able to move people across divisions and industries has been fantastic. Along the way I have also had access to excellent leaders and mentors, all of who have helped to shape who I am personally as well as professionally. Having guidance and support throughout your career is instrumental and I am enjoying mentoring a number of women in ABF at the moment and really value being given the opportunity to support others in their career journey.”

My advice to those starting out…

“Give everything 100% - life is so much better if you approach it full throttle. Do that extra bit of travel; spend that extra time preparing for that important meeting; make sure you say ‘hi’ to everyone in the room; spend that evening out with colleagues; attend that training course of your own volition – and say yes to opportunities that come your way.

“You never know where life might lead you – and it is so much more exciting and rewarding if you take a chance or two.”

Share this case study:

AB Sugar China Azucarera British Sugar Germains Seed Technology Illovo Sugar Group Vivergo Fuelds