2020 Star Women in Grocery winner Andrea Watson (Q&A)
Senior level star
President and CEO
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
My first job at 15 was in foodservice, working at a local movie theatre serving at their café and managing the concession stand. I was always a foodie at heart, cooking with my Nana growing up, then with friends and family hosting parties, and trying new recipes was naturally a passion of mine. I began my formal CPG career with Kraft Foods. Nineteen years later, the love of food and creating new ideas evolved into becoming an entrepreneur, launching Nature Knows to help make a much bigger impact in nourishing the world sustainably.
What are you proudest of in terms of your work?
Taking the risk to leave my corporate job and build Nature Knows from the ground up, with the mission to help everyone live healthier lives, and help save our planet at the same time. I’m also proud when my daughter gets excited to attend events with me or wants to share our story. As I hear in her own style why and how we should eat well and choose plant-based packaging, it truly is the most rewarding feeling to see the legacy I’m helping create for her to inspire women to follow their dreams and help make a much bigger impact for those around you.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Network—join industry associations to meet incredible people while helping to give back.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was giving up the comforts of a great career, and bootstrapping to create a new company as a single mom. Even when you may not have all the answers, steer away from non-believers in your vision, stay the course, and believe in yourself and your goals. Be resourceful, and surround yourself with positive, like-minded supporters.
What is your leadership style/philosophy?
Serving others, community and collaboration. To support the people around you and with you will always make the greater impact. It’s also about tenacity, creativity, and the drive to get into the weeds and make it happen.
What do you like most about your job?
Seeing the excitement of children and families enjoying our fresh, healthy food, along with their surprised enlightenment when we share that our packaging is not plastic, only 100% eco-friendly, and made locally in Ontario.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am truly honoured to be recognized, as I know there are so many deserving women in food making huge impacts in grocery. As we come together within the industry to help offer more fresh convenience sustainably, I welcome the opportunity to collaborate. With a greater purpose we can create a healthier world where we can eat well at home, at work and at play, while creating a better world for generations to come. Eating fresh fruits and veggies, conveniently and sustainably, should be as simple as it is to grab a coffee. And we’re here to help make it happen, one yummy eco-fresh crunch at a time.
Click here for the full list of 2020 Star Women in Grocery award winners.