Marks & Spencer’s Olivia Nicholson & ABP Ireland’s Rebecca Gilligan win One to Watch prize

October 7, 2022 By

Agricultural manager at Marks & Spencer Olivia Nicholson and head of project management at ABP Ireland Rebecca Gilligan have won Meat Business Women’s One to Watch prize, announced on Wednesday 6th October at an award dinner and networking event in Solihull.

The annual prize broke with tradition last night as it saw not one but two winners taking the top prize, with the judges wanting to recognise and celebrate the very different, but equally impressive achievements of both women.

Olivia (28) stood out with her vision to help create an industry fit for the future through collaboration and technology. Her passion for the industry, the desire to continuously improve her skill set and her ability to manage multiple stakeholders through a major product transition impressed the judges.

Olivia told the judging panel: “The meat industry needs to raise its head from the current day to day challenges and look forward to see how much and how fast the world and its population is changing. Dealing with major industry issues such as Brexit, Covid and rising costs are now part of our daily job so the meat industry must stop using these an excuse not to adopt new technology but rather use them as a catalyst.”

Twenty-five-year-old Rebecca impressed the judges with her confidence, well-rounded business knowledge and ambition. The judges commended Rebecca on her leadership skills and ability to think on her feet whilst delivering training and leadership programmes across her business.

Rebecca said “I believe acting is where culture and change is achieved. Where organisations continue to educate and advocate females in various positions seen as “only for men” the industry will open up the eyes of many females and leave women feeling empowered, believing if she can do it, I can do it.”

Laura Ryan, global chair of Meat Business Women, says: “The calibre of applicants was so high this year, with strong representation from across the supply chain which is so encouraging for the future of the industry. Both Olivia and Rebecca showed total dedication and passion, so we’re extremely proud to name them both winners this year and can’t wait to see more from them in the future.”

Winners of the ‘One to Watch’ prize receive a £4,000 investment into their personal development. Both winners plan to use the money for further training and education, with Rebecca planning on undertaking a women in leadership course, whilst Olivia looks to take on a specialist technology degree.

Meat Business Women is grateful to Interfood and 2 Sisters Food Group for sponsoring this year’s prize.