After one year at Wollongong, I went on exchange to Sophia University in Tokyo to improve my language ability, which was a hugely beneficial experience. I returned to Australia, graduated and then returned to Japan on Working Holiday. Working in Japanese really enabled me to gain a strong grasp of the language, and this experience was invaluable both personally and professionally.
I later returned to Australia as was lucky enough to find the position for Pernod Ricard Winemakers Wine Ambassador in Japan, a role which ultimately combined my love of wine and experiences in Japan.
I essentially represent all Pernod Ricard Wine but Australian, New Zealand and Spanish wine specifically for Japan. Day to day I organise events, conduct tasting and seminars, assist sales in trade visits and presentations, network, manage digital content and network with others in the wine industry. For me the most important thing is to remove the stigma surrounding wine, continue to engage our consumers and customers, and make wine fun and approachable for those new to drinking wine.
For example the Japanese market is huge, so I am constantly evaluating the best way to approach my task and applying learning from being out in the field and meeting different people. For me language is also a key challenge. Working in Japanese means that it can take a long time to prepare for seminars and even making a simple post on Facebook can take a lot of planning to make sure the language is appropriate. Even though this is a challenge I gain a great deal of satisfaction when I can feel myself improving and I gain confidence as I learn more.
I love that every day is different and my role is so varied; it keeps me focused and and is a strong motivating force forwards.
Finally I enjoy that we can create events, atmospheres, campaigns, marketing strategies and see the whole process through from creating an idea to delivering on a product.
I think that this relates to being humble; incredible insight can often come from the strangest of places, and making assumptions without asking questions can be a good way to tread on your own toes.
Being open can at times put you in a vulnerable position and often the strongest people I know are the most open. It takes strength to put yourself in that position to begin with. Also any path, personal or career will involve challenge and conflict as a matter of course. It's important to stay strong and true to yourself when navigating though calm waters or rockier terrain.
I'm confident presenting in English but when I started doing so in Japanese it feels like you go back to basics. My first seminar I ran through the script about 20 times before presenting. You can't improvise or ad lib because you don't yet have the skills to deviate.
Recently I presented a 90min wine seminar (complete with a tasting of 10 wines) at a wine school in Tokyo. The audience were highly knowledgeable and paying customers of the school, so there was pressure to perform and I confess I was nervous. Once I started the nerves dropped away and I had a great time; guests were curious and asked many questions and had smiles on their face leaving the lecture. It was a moment in which I was proud and felt that things were finally clicking into place.
Pernod Ricard is the world’s n°2 in wines and spirits with consolidated Sales of € 8,558 million in 2014/15. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has undergone sustained development, based on both organic growth and acquisitions: Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005) and Vin&Sprit (2008). Pernod Ricard holds one of the most prestigious brand portfolios in the sector: Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Kahlúa and Malibu liqueurs, Mumm and Perrier- Jouët champagnes, as well Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo, Graffigna and Kenwood wines. Pernod Ricard employs a workforce of approximately 18,000 people and operates through a decentralised organisation, with 6 “Brand Companies” and 80 “Market Companies” established in each key market. Pernod Ricard is strongly committed to a sustainable development policy and encourages responsible consumption. Pernod Ricard’s strategy and ambition are based on 3 key values that guide its expansion: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual trust and a strong sense of ethics. Pernod Ricard is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI; ISIN code: FR0000120693) and is part of the CAC 40 index.Visit website