Meat our members: Kristin Akehurst
We caught up with Kristin Akehurst, Chief Financial Officer at AFFCO New Zealand
Please tell us more about how your day to day role.
As Chief Financial Officer and part of the senior executive team I contribute to strategic planning, commercial risk management and coordination of the support functions across the business, predominantly Finance and IT. Every day is different and, in addition to my regular financial overview responsibility, I am involved in many business enhancement projects such as; Sponsoring a programme of work to update our overall ERP/Financial systems, working with our Sales, Logistics and Operations teams to successfully implement a conventional shipping programme to export product to USA (in response to refrigerated container shortages globally) as well as being an Executive Mentor for one of the company’s Graduate Development Programme participants.
What the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career so far?
There has been a lot of guidance over the years, I’ve adopted advice that resonates best with me. My top two are:
1. Never be afraid to fail, see it as an opportunity to learn. So many times throughout my career I have had to be brave and challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. It isn’t always smooth sailing, I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes along the way. I have learnt that mistakes are always forgiven if you are authentic, owning the failure and learning from it.
2. Surround yourself with a good diverse network, including mentors. It is critical to be able to bounce ideas off other people, choose people that will challenge your opinion rather than people who will tell you how great you are. Although hard to hear, many times I have benefited from some honesty.
What’s the thing you love most about your job/being in the industry?
It is so dynamic. No day is the same, no season is the same. The people across the industry are passionate about what they do. I was so proud, during our Covid Lockdowns, of how our team worked together to deliver an essential service and feed the world.
What’s the biggest challenge you are facing currently?
The last couple of years have been pretty hard on most people and I am expecting 2022 to be much the same. There is so much going on at the moment, keeping everyone on track is incredibly challenging! Creating a team that is agile and able to adapt is critical, as is developing a supportive culture by understanding individual’s resilience and knowing when to push and when to listen.
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Kristin Akehurst, Chief Financial Officer, AFFCO New Zealand
Connecting incredible women in the meat industry is what we’re all about at Meat Business Women. If you’d like to connect with Kristin on LinkedIn, click here.
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