MONIKA LINTON REFLECTS ON 30 YEARS AT THE HELM OF BRINDISA
We caught up with company founder and author of Brindisa: The True Food of Spain to ask her about the role of women in the food sector ahead of International Women’s Day 2018
How did if feel being a women entrepreneur in the food business back in 1988 when you founded Brindisa?
It felt unusual. I knew a few expert women such as Angela Muir MW, Judith Whittaker, who was setting up Whitaker Wines at the time, and Victoria Fuller who had set up her PR agency ZFL; but mostly it was a man’s world.
Wine and food at that time were a very male dominated with a few lady entrepreneurs such as Sally Clarke the chef, Giana Ferguson the cheesemaker of Gubbeen Cheese, and Anita Le Roy of Monmouth Coffee. These ladies were inspirational to me then and they still are.
Is it any different now that Brindisa has just turned 30?
30 years on things have changed. Over these 3 decades our sector has transformed into a diverse, creative and welcoming arena where there really is opportunity. Women understand better now, the stamina needed and the skills needed to balance work entrepreneurship and family. At certain points in Brindisa’s 30 years I have been naive and would have benefitted from more understanding of HR and work life balance sooner. I am proud however that at Brindisa we do have a culture of opportunity with women of all ages all across the hierarchy.
Culturally are there any significant differences between Spain and the UK in this respect?
I think Spain has a very different business culture where family businesses dominate the landscape so, on the one hand, daughters do run large firms, but I think there are fewer female entrepreneurs. When I set up Brindisa the fact I was a bilingual lady from abroad really helped as we could communicate fast and gain mutual trust in order to do business.
Who are the most inspiring women blazing a trail today?
María José San Román
Violeta Gutiérrez de la Vega
What are your expectations for the future?
Modest really. I would like time more than anything else. Time to be home, time to find mental space for reading, time to help one keeps one’s health on track and freedom to walk hills.