Michelle Briggs is Vice President Sales and Marketing for Kudos Blends, a leading supplier of technically driven raising agents. She is also the new Secretary for the Society Of Bakery Women. Michelle has worked at Kudos for 15 years and is their longest serving member of staff! She currently oversees all of the marketing activity for the company, along with driving sales both nationally and internationally and managing the technical support and R&D functions.
What made you want to begin a career working in the bakery industry?
I had never planned a career in the baking industry; I always knew I would have a career in science, I just didn’t think it would be linked to raising agents.
What challenges did you face starting out in your career?
I’m lucky in that I haven’t really faced any challenges at the start of my career. As I’ve progressed I’m finding that managing a team can be challenging, but rewarding at the same time.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in the bakery industry and how did you overcome them?
I haven’t really faced any issues being a woman in the bakery business; a very small minority of the older generation are quite traditional, and find it hard to appreciate the skills that the younger generation have.
What is your career highlight?
Working with our distributors in Australia to get the first sale into the country.
If you could make one change to the bakery industry, what would that be and why?
I would like for retailers to have less of an impact on the market – particularly with regard to price. They want to improve product quality but aren’t prepared to pay extra for it, which then puts manufacturers under pressure to cut costs elsewhere.
What advice would you give to young people looking to get into the bakery industry?
Put in the hours to get as much ‘hands on’ experience as you can. Listen and appreciate all advice given, it may not be useful at the time but may come in useful at a later date.
What is your favourite bakery event and why?
Iba in Munich – it’s the biggest bakery specific exhibition in Europe, and coincides with Oktoberfest – it’s a very social exhibition!
If you could choose to only eat one bakery product for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Either the classic Victoria Sponge, or Battenburg cake. To be honest, I’m a fan of all cake, as long as it’s not coffee or chocolate.
If you could tell your younger self one thing you have learnt from your career, what would it be?
To trust in your own ability, and not be afraid of making mistakes
How would you define success?
For me, success is knowing that you’ve done something to the best of your ability, and that you get a sense of achievement for doing it.
What would say that your proudest moment has been in your career?
Having the confidence to stand up in front of a roomful of people and give a talk – as a naturally shy person it was something I never thought I would be able to do.
What was your big break, and how did you reach it?
My big break was meeting Dinnie, Kudos’ MD. We met through our mutual interest in horses and working for Kudos started from there.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I love sport, especially rugby and horse riding. Living in the country, I enjoy spending as much time as possible outside, whether is walking, gardening or sitting in a beer garden enjoying a warm beer!
Who is your role model and why?
My Grandad – he had a strong work ethic and firmly believed that you should save up for the things you wanted, rather than rely on credit.
If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would it be and why?
Lance Armstrong – so I could ask how he could do what he did, Nelson Mandela –a true inspiration, Miranda Hart – for comic entertainment
If you could switch places with one other person, who would it be and why?
David Cameron, our Prime Minister – I’d like to see what he does all day, and his thought processes for some of the decisions he makes