Meet our Team: Bonnie (the one piloting this rocketship)
Meet our legendary new General Manager Bonnie Slade. She comes from an award-winning background in marketing and communications – working across broad fields from media to nutraceuticals, most recently heading up sales for iconic New Zealand brand Annies - food you trust, part of the Kono New Zealand family of brands. She's a passionate foodie, part-time mountain biker, and lives in Nelson city with her husband Jason, two kids Willa, 6, and Finn, 4, and her enormous black cat Moe.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I hate talking about myself! I've been working in the world of management, sales and marketing for over 20 years now (this is making me feel old) and have had some pretty good success in growing the businesses I've worked for. I had an amazing childhood in Nelson but wasn't born here, and after spending many years overseas and in other parts of New Zealand, I now feel incredibly privileged to be able to work and raise my family in this part of the world.
Nelson has so much to offer, so many good food and beverage companies started in Nelson: Pic's Peanut Butter, Proper Crisps, Anathoth Jam, Appleby Farms Ice Cream... On top of that, the region is fast becoming a hub for sustainability leadership. There's some pretty big thinking for a little city. The energy of our climate activists, the innovation within small business, and the genuine community feel of working here is unique. Then on top of that, I love being able to bike out my front door and get on to some of our world-class mountain bike trails within minutes.
Why did you choose to work for Chia Sisters?
You can't sell stuff you don't believe in and Chia Sisters make seriously good drinks. Plus the foundations of this business are so strong - two sisters creating some of the best drinks in the world, and running a company that is so clear and defined in its values is really appealing. I could see so much potential and I wanted to be part of helping Chia Sisters as they embark on the next stage of their journey.
How is Chia Sisters different to places you’ve worked before?
Almost everywhere I've worked has had a great team culture but Chia Sisters is next level. You see it as soon as you walk in, everyone (from the factory to founders and even those that surround the business as contractors and friends) are so passionate and positive about working here. It's a crucial part of their success and will continue to be going forward.
What are some of Chia Sisters biggest challenges?
We're right on the cusp of growth, always a challenging time to navigate with small businesses. We are asking ourselves questions like how many resources should we invest? Where do we want to grow? Do we want to aim for fast growth or playing a longer game? How much growth do we actually want (a very real question)? Sometimes, there has to be a lot of faith that things will work!
What would you like to see Chia Sisters do next?
I'd like to see Chia Sisters partner with (more) great companies, both domestically and in export markets, that are committed to ethical business, particularly around climate action. We need collaboration to make environmentally sustainable business practice the norm, we owe it to our future generations.
What do you think everyone should know about Chia Sisters that they probably don’t?
We're a pretty open book, to be honest! One of the cool things I didn't know before starting is that Kevin, our Production Manager, brings a sample of each mornings' production run into the office and everyone gets a taste before he proceeds. Nothing like CHIA or Hemp Smoothie straight off the line!
What’s your favourite Chia Sisters drink?
Chia Sisters Sparkling Ginger and Tumeric all the way!
What's one of your goals outside work this year?
To learn how to do a proper handstand and hold it! I figure if I put it down here I might actually do something about it. Watch this space...