The Australian Women in Wine Awards is focusing on making sure the conversation about diversity isn’t just with women. “In fact, current stats show that women may not even be sitting around the ‘influence’ table in our wine businesses, so we need to make sure we extend the conversation to both genders, and work hard on improving unconscious bias,” says Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards. “To demonstrate how important this is, we have asked some talented #winechicks to tell us about who has stood behind them, and helped them get to where they are in their career.” In past weeks we have spoken with Melissa Brown from Gemtree Wines, Rose Kentish from Ulithorne and Irina Santiago-Brown from Inkwell Wines. Today Anna Fisher, bean counter and system engineer for Zonte’s Footstep, shares her story…
Main Image: Anna Fisher with Ben Riggs and Brad Rey.
The B’s in my life
Do you remember the apple trick? You would twirl the apple stalk while saying the alphabet and when it snapped off you would land on a letter that would be the start of the name of your love. At age eight I had a crush on a young man whose name started with B – I obviously repeated this test a few too many times, as I now find myself surrounded by B’s and I should be forgiven for occasionally getting their names mixed up.
Love of life and lucky husband
“I will not cook and will not clean, but promise never to be mean.” These were part of my wedding vows to Brett – a self-written Dr Seuss poem. A lot corny, but a fair representation of our life together. Brett is the grounding in my life. After 17 years we have an amazing life with two beautiful children. Brett has supported every one of my career decisions: I walked away from my first business investment at age 24, enabling me to return to work two weeks after our first child. He took on the role as primary carer, household manager and chauffeur and we remortgaged our home to invest in a wine brand – who would do that?
Business partner, previous employer, business mentor and ‘work husband’
When Ben and Dale Wyman interviewed me for the role of general manager at McLaren Vintners in 2007, I was a high-risk option. I had an entrepreneurial, small business background, non-wine industry and I was age 27. I was a qualified accountant with proven experience getting teams to work together. I still can’t thank either of them enough for giving me a chance. Nearly 10 years later and Ben gave me the opportunity to grow, to develop as a leader, as an entrepreneur and as a mentor. Ben has encouraged me to push my boundaries and in 2009 I was offered the opportunity to buy into Zonte’s Footstep. Ben has enabled me to ‘get involved’, to invest in the future of the wine industry, at a time when … well, it couldn’t really get too much worse, giving me the chance to grow and succeed. Today, I am gainfully employed in this small and growing wine business, and Ben continues to drive me forward and push my boundaries.
Business partner and work ‘little’ brother
Brad became my business partner in 2009 when he also invested in Zonte’s Footstep. Having not previously worked with him other than in passing at McLaren Vintners. Brad has become a strong supporter and has helped guide me through much of the world of wine marketing, branding and sales. Working together now in Zonte’s Footstep redesigning the brand position, developing the Peacock’s Tail brand and planning the future of our business.
Dad and Life Coach
There is no way I would talk about the men in my life without at least mentioning my dad. He has been a huge influence in my life, although perhaps less so in the wine industry. Supporting every one of my quirky decisions and allowing me the freedom to take risks, make mistakes and step up for my next challenge.
It is difficult to truly represent to anyone the importance of friends, mentors and coaches when working towards being a business owner and I am so lucky to have had these four gentlemen on my side along with a huge number of others.
Thank you to everyone! Your support never goes unnoticed.
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