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MEDIA RELEASE

4 March 2017

Here’s a trick question – how can the Chairman of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) become a Queensland finalist in the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2017?

Easy answer – the Chairman is a woman.

Jacqui Wilson-Smith is a Sunshine Coast business achiever whose award nomination is based on her idea of creating an online training platform for food and agribusinesses.

Jacqui is a passionate innovator which will be reflected in the pilot topic for training: “Design Thinking as an Innovation Strategy for Primary Industries”.

According to Jacqui, the learning platform will enable the creation of virtual communities where rural businesses can collaborate, learn how to speed up the pace of innovation, reduce risks and create business growth.

“The online content will be delivered in fun, engaging, digestible and extremely practical ways using multi-media such as short video documentaries, e-books, animations, podcasts, webinars, workshops and quizzes,” says Jacqui.

About Jacqui

Jacqui grew up on properties in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where she learnt to milk a cow, crack a whip and even rode a horse to school!

She was captain of Pomona State School before heading to boarding school in Brisbane.

After uni, she worked for Buderim Ginger before moving to the UK. On return she was determined to centre her career on the Sunshine Coast.

Jacqui has 20 years’ experience in innovation and marketing with agribusinesses.

Jacqui’s leadership in local herb and spice company Gourmet Garden has seen her influence its success through her role as Head of Innovation & Marketing. Following McCormick’s acquisition of Gourmet Garden in early 2016, Jacqui was promoted to Global Innovation Manager for McCormick. She sees her role at FAN as a way of giving back and actively contributing to doubling the region’s food & agribusiness economy by 2030.

Jacqui’s output is impressive and her achievements many:

  • March 2017 FIAL Food Innovation Australia panel judge
  • Dec 2016 Appointed Global Innovation manager, McCormick
  • Oct 2016 Appointed Chairman, FAN
  • Sept 2016 GAICD, Graduate Company Director Course
  • Dec 2015 Launched FAN, co-founding board member, company secretary
  • Aug 2015 Guest Speaker, Disruptive Innovation Industry Forum, Sydney
  • March 2014 Launched Gourmet Garden’s Lightly Dried range
  • Oct 2012 Launched digital platform What2Cook.com, meal planning site
  • Sept 2010 Published first collaborative 4 Ingredients & Gourmet Garden cookbook with local author, Kim McCosker
  • Sept 2009 Appointed Head of Marketing & Innovation at Gourmet Garden

Design Thinking

In her role with FAN, Jacqui observed that due to pressing business matters it’s common for FAN members to focus on the short term, rather than dedicating time to understanding their customers and resetting their vision for innovation.

“Design Thinking is an iterative process that can be learnt,” says Jacqui, “By empathising with customers to gain insights, businesses can rapidly prototype, fail fast and ultimately innovate successfully”.

Jacqui has a track record of successful innovations in agribusiness and is keen to share her Design Thinking skills.

About the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN)

FAN is a membership-based, not-for-profit company, established to support food and agribusinesses across the entire value chain within the Greater Sunshine Coast region. Agribusiness is one of seven high value industries identified in the Sunshine Coast Council’s regional economic development strategy. FAN’s vision is to actively contribute to doubling the region’s food and agribusiness economy by 2030 and for the region to be renowned for its food culture and innovation.

FAN believes in knowledge sharing and creates opportunities for its 140 members to connect, learn, promote and grow their businesses.

Interview opportunities

Jacqui is a charismatic and passionate speaker and is available for interviews this weekend via phone or at her property in Eerwah Vale.

Media contact: Casey Macneil, Macneil & Co. marketing and design 0402 993 688 casey@macneilco.com.au

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