Q&A with Christine Tacon

20 years of MorePeople - Q&A with Christine Tacon

5 months ago by Claire Smith

​MorePeople has been in business for 20 years! As part of our celebrations for hitting this milestone, we’re asking some of our valued clients and candidates from over the years to look back at some of their highlights and challenges and make predictions for the next 20.

Christine Tacon has just completed 8 successful years as Groceries Code Adjudicator. She is also founder of the 'Women in Food & Farming' networking group, which now has over 500 members.

1. What do you see as your biggest accomplishment of the last 20 years?

Success in my role as Groceries Code Adjudicator. Although this was only the last 8 of the 20 years, it was my experience in all parts of the supply chain that informed how I went about the role.

2. What has been your most memorable career moment of the last 20 years?

Opening the letter in 2004 awarding me a CBE. I didn’t actually know what it was and my initial reaction was tinged with disappointment it wasn’t an OBE, but that changed when I looked it up.

3. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in the last 20 years?

Getting NED roles! I decided to go portfolio when I left the Co-op at the end of 2011 and was very clear on the sorts of things I could do and how they fitted together. In the past I was used to either being headhunted or getting the jobs I went for. Rejection was a new experience, and I couldn’t predict which ones I might get and which I would not. In the end I decided it was a numbers game and just applied to lots of things and justified to myself afterwards how neatly they all fitted together. It is hard to be strategic putting together an NED portfolio but I do try, as there are real benefits to me and the businesses of the connections and learnings.

4. If you could go back to the year 2000, what one piece of advice would you give yourself?

To have left the Co-op role earlier! 11 years it too long in the same job, even if you are really enjoying it.

5. What do you predict will be the big trends in the food/fresh produce industry in 20 years’ time?

Large fresh produce businesses getting larger, increasingly international and working ever closer with their customers, once they have understood Brexit implications. And there being a lot more niche businesses with innovative products and new routes to market.

6. What do the next 20 years look like for you?

Doing things I really enjoy and where I can make a difference. I expect I will be in the food industry for a while yet!

And I want to spend more time on Women in Food and Farming, a network of about 500 so far: we have just started monthly virtual events which I hope to continue alongside the three times we have met per year for the last 10 years. MorePeople support me with the admin in doing this, for which I am most grateful.

7. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a 20-year-old candidate just starting their career in the industry?

If you want to get into the industry, with or without experience, MDS, which I chair, is a brilliant place to start. We look for leadership potential, irrespective of degree subject, and then give you 4 different roles in 4 different member businesses whilst training you. At the end of 2 years, you are not only very clear what you want to do but are highly marketable within the industry.

8. How long have you been a client/candidate of MorePeople?

I have found a meeting with MorePeople in my diary in 2008. I don’t know if that was the first time I came across you, but suspect it was around then.

9. Where/how did you meet MorePeople?

I first met MorePeople when I ran the Co-op Farms when Peter Hunt contacted me about some training he had got a grant for.

10. In 20 words or less, how would you describe MorePeople?

Professional and fun !!!!!! (Punctuation included, specially for Guy).

The next Women in Food & Farming virtual event is on Tuesday 1st December at 5:30pm. [Find out more]

Read more Q&A's:

- Steve Maxwell
- Steve Murrells
- Nigel Trood
- Tony Reynolds
- Guy Moreton