Orla Moore, Director at Linwoods Health Foods, spoke to Local Women Magazine about her 20 year career with Linwoods and how she is delighted to see more women taking on senior management roles.
What is your role at Linwoods?
Director at Linwoods Health Foods.
What has been your career path so far?
I studied Management at Queens University and then I did a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management at the University of Ulster. I have been with Linwoods for just over 20 years. My primary responsibly as a Director is for Human Resources but I have also responsibilities involving the operation of our health food plant and the development of new health food products. Throughout the years I have gained experience working in other parts of the business such as the procurement of the ingredients for our health food division and health and safety.
Describe a typical working day
Every day in Linwoods is different. I start work at around 8.30 am and we regularly start with meetings with the staff from various different departments. Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation these meetings currently take place by zoom and will involve receiving updates from the Health Food Production team, Sales and Marketing teams and new product development. There is so much variety in each day. I work from our main site on the Monaghan Road outside Armagh which is where our Ingredients plant and our new healthy Crunchy Seed Clusters are produced. I also try and spend some time at our Health Food Plant in Armagh city where we have two factories producing a range of healthy milled seed products and sprouted ingredients. I could be dealing with staff matters or meeting with the production management and quality control team. We have a wonderful team of staff and competent and experienced managers overseeing each division of the organisation and they ensure that each area is running effectively.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
I have been very lucky throughout my working life in that I have been given great opportunities to grow and develop within the business and I have always enjoyed the variety to the work that I do. In terms of career achievements I believe most business achievements are rarely the work of one person and usually involve the hard work and commitment of staff from all levels of the business and this is very much reflected in Linwoods. We have a fantastic team of skilled staff and many of them have long and dedicated service in the company. We went through a restructuring process in recent years which involved significant change and this was quite challenging in many ways. We have now come through that period of change and our focus is to continue to grow the health food and ingredients business both in the UK, Ireland and in the many international markets that we are now selling in. There are now many opportunities for healthy and natural foods and demand for our products continues to grow. Linwoods purchased the Chia Bia brand last year and this range of products are now produced in our plant in Armagh. There is a lot of research and development work going on within the business and we will be launching an exciting new range of products in the coming months.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the great variety. I have travelled to many different countries throughout the years and met lots of interesting people. It is great to work with products that are authentic and can help people improve their health. We have found that there is a significant increase in the amount of consumers searching for natural healthy foods that they can easily incorporate into their diet every day. It is always encouraging to hear the great feedback from regular customers regarding the positive impact that the products have had on their health and wellbeing. We have received many industry awards and have also achieved five star ratings for our products in online reviews and surveys.
How can we encourage more women into top industry roles?
While there are many female role models who we can aspire to and who are currently working in senior industry roles, there is definitely room for more! I believe that great progress has been made in recent years in terms of flexible working arrangements to support women and this removes some of the barriers that may prevent them from progressing in their chosen careers. There is still much work to do, and I believe if we continue to build on that progress there should be no reason why women cannot achieve success in leadership roles in industry if that is what they want to do.
How has lockdown affected your job?
The majority of our office staff are now working from home, though I have continued to work in the office. The use of technology has been vital in ensuring that our business continues as seamlessly as possible and so far it has worked very well for us.
We have implemented all the relevant safety measures regarding coronavirus and we no longer have as many face to face meetings. Pre lockdown, I and many members of the team travelled internationally for business and unfortunately, for now, that that has paused.
How do you unwind in the evenings?
After a busy day I like to spend time with family and friends and I also try to get out walking most evenings and at the weekends. I usually go to one of the lovely forest areas like Slieve Gullion which is close to where I live. I also like to eat out a couple of times a week as there is plenty of good restaurants in our local area to choose from.
How do you achieve a healthy work life balance
This is an area I need to improve however if you enjoy what you are doing it is easy at times to overlap in this area. I actually prefer to work in the office rather than at home as I think this helps to make the break between work and home life. I try and ensure that I get a few holidays and weekends away throughout the year to relax and enjoy life.