John Woods, founder of Linwoods Health Foods, took part in The Irish News High Flyers Q&A. Find out more about the brains behind the super seeds loved by many:
What was your first job?
I grew up on a small farm and I was one of a family of 10. I had two jobs before I left school – I was milking cows by hand from about seven years of age and at the age of nine I was asked to work in the family shop some evenings after school.
What qualifications do you have?
I have no formal qualifications. I left school at 14 years of age and worked full time in the family retail business. School never appealed to me, my dyslexia made learning languages very difficult.
What do you attribute your success to?
Self-belief and persistence. If a project does not work well, I see that as a setback not a failure. We only fail when we stop going forward.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Talkative, friendly, easy going with people and I do my best not to create enemies on the way through life.
Who do you look up to in business?
There are many people I admire who have managed to accept the misfortunes that have come their way and still live a full and happy life.
How do you get the best out of the people who work for you?
People work with me not for me. While a vision is vital, it is important that a positive non-threatening workplace allows people to give their best.
If you could change one thing about business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I believe we must export or die. More companies and individuals need to realise that while it is challenging, there is a great market out there for Northern Ireland products.
What website or app could you not live without?
My iPhone exercise app. My walking target is 30 miles a week and the app is great to measure my weekly miles to see if I have exceeded that.
What was the last book you read?
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber.
What car do you drive?
BMW. One fill of diesel has lasted eight weeks during Covid-19.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I am driven by challenges and I am happiest when I have not yet resolved an issue. Some would call that being happy with uncertainty.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Attending various sports, skiing and travel.