To Celebrate Women’s Day, we spoke to South African female director, Shaneen Coppin. Shaneen serves as a non-executive director at Fruit and Veg Holdings, the holding company of Food Lover’s Market.
We caught up with her at the Head Office in Brackenfell on a rainy day in August. On my arriving, Shaneen has some team members gathered around her desk in a brainstorm. She is approachable and staff find her charismatic to work with.
Within Food Lover’s, her portfolio oversees the accounting department and she manages and guides staff members from Head office level, right down to store managers.
We asked her a few questions about her personal journey, as a woman in business and Food Lover’s Market.
What would your ideal job be?
I am blessed with the best job ever. Being part of this FVC adventure has been the best dream ever. When we opened our first store I could never have imagined how we would grow. I really enjoyed accountancy at school and I have been able to experience all aspects of business even though I am not a qualified accountant. An added blessing is my involvement in our HR department. This gives me the opportunity to champion issues and policies for the greater good of our staff including the women, it is hugely rewarding.
Did you have a mentor that you looked up to?
Not exactly. I came from a very conservative, stable family but my business partners have always lived life to the fullest and at times, quite fearlessly. I have made a concerted effort to live my life balancing both of these extremes, it has served me very well.
I do have something that inspires me every day and that is working with the new-generation, smart, confident and eager young professionals. It’s mind blowing. Their system skills make me feel like a dinosaur, lucky for me history is still needed in the journey ahead.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement has been raising my children, who are now raising their own children. I am blessed to have a close relationship with them both and they make me enormously proud.
What would you like to say to motivate other South African women?
I have three things to say to the women of SA; Be true to yourself, reach for the stars and my personal mantra; never poison your future with your past.
What do you worry about and why?
I am a bit of a perfectionist so I put pressure on myself, which is probably not the healthiest thing to do. I feel this is a common plight of women in business.
Tell me something I don’t know about Food Lover’s?
It was a tossup between calling our business, Fruit and Veg City and “The Pumpkin Patch”! I think we made the right choice! (Laughs)
What’s your favourite colour?
That’s an easy one, green. Gardens are my soul food.
If you were the CEO for the day, what would you like to do?
I would like one day where a packer or counter hand is assisting to act as a store manager for a day and be allowed to make challenging decisions.
You work with a lot of butternuts right? How many butternuts do you think, could fit into an old volksie?
1 pallet of butternut
Describe Food Lover’s Market to a foreigner who has never visited one?
Our Food Lover’s is the trendiest open market you can find, under a solid roof!