Jemma O’Hanlon, Dietitian at Carman’s Fine Foods, recently interviewed Carolyn Creswell, Company Founder and Managing Director of Carman’s Fine Foods, as part of our new leadership and business interview series. There are four videos in the series with Carolyn and we will be sharing one video each week over the next four weeks. This week’s video is about a day in the life of Carolyn at Carman’s and how she juggles a busy work and family life.
How Jemma O’Hanlon first met Carolyn
The first time I met Carolyn Creswell was at a European Women in Business networking event. A couple of days earlier, I had sent off an email to Carman’s Customer Care asking them if they had a dietitian, and if not, did they want one! I told them about my passion for nutrition writing and my blog eat sleep dream love food, and proposed that I could develop something similar for them. I also mentioned that I was excited to hear Carolyn speak at a networking event I was attending later that week. To my surprise I received a response back on the same day, saying that they didn’t have a dietitian and would love to chat further with me. They also said that Carolyn was thrilled to hear I was attending the event and to make sure I came up and introduced myself. Wow, I thought. Both excitement and fear shot through my veins, but I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I had to give it my all. So on that Wednesday night I listened intently to Carolyn speak about how she started her business, the challenges she faced, and how she got to where she was today. It was during her speech that I had a real ‘lightbulb’ moment. This woman was someone truly remarkable. She was powerful, yet genuine. A risk taker, yet controlled. A woman whose values and determination resonated with mine, and it was that moment that I knew this was a woman I wanted to work for. So after all the formalities were over, I nervously trotted up to Carolyn and introduced myself. 3 years later, I couldn’t be happier, and as they say, the rest is history!
Consulting to Carman’s has been one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. People ask me how I manage my time consulting to Carman’s on top of having a full time job, but not once have I ever regretted giving up some time on the weekends to work for Carolyn. In my mind I’m doing what I love, so in fact, I’m never working a day in my life. Carman’s is one of those organisations that just oozes with positivity, and the energy of its people is simply contagious. I am thrilled to share Carolyn’s story with you, she is one talented woman!
Biography of Carolyn Creswell
Carman’s founder Carolyn Creswell is an inspirational leader whose success proves that you can run a multinational business and still have a genuine work-life balance. Carolyn has managed to grow Carman’s to become the number one selling muesli brand on Australian supermarket shelves, while at the same time maintaining a great relationship with her husband and raising four kids ages nine and under!
Over the past two decades, Carolyn has focused on producing quality products using whole foods. From humble beginnings where Carolyn used to park her tiny Daewoo alongside semi-trailers in supermarket loading docks, Carolyn’s determination has seen Carman’s build a strong following in more than 32 countries around the world. As a proud mother, Carolyn understands the importance of producing nourishing foods for herself and her family and applies this to every Carman’s product.
Carolyn’s commitment to a healthy work-life balance is also reflected at the Carman’s office where her employees, many being mums working flexible hours, are encouraged to take time out of the office to attend their kids sports days and special assemblies. Each day, the team comes together to eat lunch around the boardroom table and do the daily quiz from the newspaper. On Fridays, staff who have less than ten emails to action in their inbox can leave mid- afternoon every fortnight. Carman’s warm environment ensures a truly enjoyable place to work with a low staff turnover.
Carolyn’s business acumen has led to a number of accolades including being named the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year and the winner of 2007 Ernst & Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Carolyn is an active board member for Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation, which works to get kids into the garden and the kitchen, so they appreciate the origins of fresh food. She is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Most recently, Carolyn’s business success has seen her move into the public eye, appearing as a mentor on Channel 10’s Recipe to Riches. Carolyn’s passion for healthy food made from real ingredients that don’t need to be hidden in fine print has cemented Carman’s reputation as a food brand that customers around the world can trust to be natural, healthy, and delicious.
Carman’s has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary. “I’m amazed at the achievements the Carman’s team has accomplished over the past 20 years. The growth we’ve experienced is thanks to hard work, a talented team and a range of products that we’re really proud of. I still get a rush when I spot our products in trolleys at the supermarket and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next twenty years!” enthuses Carolyn.